Dealing with Life: 5 Meaningful Quotes

“Strength comes from struggle. When you learn to see your struggles as opportunities to become stronger, better, wiser, then your thinking shifts from ‘I can’t do this’ to ‘I must do this.’”

 –Toni Sorenson

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”

Dr. Seuss

 

“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”

Pope Paul VI

 

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

Joshua J. Marine

 

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

-(Fellowship of the Ring)

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Making Health Information Appealing: The Basics of Graphic Design

Communication4Health

While visiting a doctor’s office recently, I spent some time looking at the brochures and signs posted on the wall and started thinking about which signs catch my eyes and which ones do not. What sort of visual presentation draws me in and keeps me reading?  As a public health student, I have become much more aware of the different health messages that are posted on the backs of bathroom doors, in medical office brochures and posters, and throughout various websites. I am often curious about how effective these messages really are. For example, how often does the hand washing sign really prompt someone to wash their hands? And even more so, how often does someone who is not acutely aware of these messages even notice these signs or brochures?

I have become particularly interested in these kinds of questions as a member of a research group that is undergoing…

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Wiping out a cell’s identity shifts cellular reprogramming into high gear

The Stem Cellar

Blog CAF-1 chromatin The packaging of DNA into chromatin (image credit: Felsenfeld and Groudine, Nature 2013

If stretched out end to end, the DNA in just one cell of your body would reach a whopping six feet in length. A complex cellular structure called chromatin – made up of coils upon coils of DNA and protein – makes it possible to fit all that DNA into a single cell nucleus that’s only 0.0002 inches in diameter.

Chromatin: more than meets the eye
Once thought to merely play a structural role, mounds of data have shown that chromatin is also a critical regulator of gene activity. In fact, it’s a key component to maintaining a cell’s identity. So, for example, in the nucleus of a skin cell, genes related to skin function tend to lie within stretches of DNA having a loosely coiled chromatin structure. This placement makes the skin-related genes physically more accessible…

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Laboratory Adventures- Problems with the PEEK Material

This week’s short story is nothing too extraordinary—just a quick snippet about a new member in Ava’s stem cell lab. In real life, Rene is actually an international post-grad in the Hilton Lab. He already has his PhD and most of his work focuses on a downstream pathway of NOTCH-signaling. In the most basic terms, NOTCH signaling allows a stem cell to remain a stem cell and not differentiate; alternating the activation and inactivation of NOTCH signaling across bone stem cells would possibly give a great outcome of regenerating bones since this might maintain enough stem cells to become the new bone.

Hope you all enjoy the story!

10/19/15

Ava banged the door shut. “Darn those Woodpeltian scoundrels!” She had just stomped back in her lab room after a meeting with other stem cell researchers from clan of Woodpelt squirrels. “They refuse to sell us any type-1 skins. How are we gonna grow our bone marrow stromal cells now?” She was only talking to herself, though her Magnecow, Mabel, was also present. She was standing in her stall, slowly shaking her head.

“Ya’ll shouldn’t be surprised,” she let out deep moos, though Ava was able to translate her guttural sounds into sentences. “You’re a Magnecowish—ya’ll raise Magnecows like me. Humans raisin’ different genopet species don’t get along with one another, just as we genopet species can’t stand the sight ‘n smell of one another.” She gave a snort and swished her long tail.

Ava sighed. She turned to gaze at her genopet cow. Mabel was a genopet species known as a Magnecow. Such cows had magnetic organs. The milk they produced was known as “Magnemilk,” a special type of milk that contained bone marrow stromal cells—or BMSCs—which were stem cells that became bone. If one consumed the milk, one would consume the stem cells needed for proper bone growth, which meant rapid bone-healing or bone-growth once the stem cells in the milk were consumed. Such a quality was what made the Magnecows special: in the milk of many other genopet species of cows, the stem cells are missing because they mix with all the other ingredients in the milk, and they become dead and ineffective in the body. But since the Magnecows have magnetic organs, all the unwanted ingredients stick to the organs and the stem cells are still alive by the time Magnecow farmers like Ava’s husband obtain their milk.

Unfortunately, however, Ava’s 10-year-old son, Tommy, had refused to drink a single cup of her milk whenever she served it to him. He had been dumping it down the sink behind her back. To make matters worse, the other children of the Magnecow Clan had also been throwing away the Magnemilk cartons whenever they were served it in school. The Magnecows in their clan had refused to eat the electroplants that kept their organs magnetized, and as a result, they were unable to produce milk that contained the stem cells needed for bone regrowth.

Now, Ava’s lab had found another method of obtaining the bone stem cells without having to produce Magnecow milk. By using “normal,” stem-cell-deficient milk from their Magnecows, and then mixing that milk with the milk of Flamecows and Goaticillin, they could create a cell culture media that could make bone stem cells multiply as many times as they needed. The only drawback now, was that the bone stem cells would need to stick to a specific media in order to turn into bone.

Ava crossed her arms and looked out her window. She gazed into the room where she had just had her meeting. The humans of the Woodpelt Clan were leaving with their wood-skinned brown squirrels on their shoulders. Unlike the humans of Magnecow Clan, the Woodpeltians had chestnut-colored hair that matched the wooden skin of their squirrels. The Magnecowish humans had silver hair that matched the silver splotches on their cows.

“Darn them all,” Ava muttered. “The wooden skin they sent us last week was a type-3 PEEK material. None of our stem cells stuck to them!”

Mabel chortled. “Waste of money, eh?”

Ava huffed. “It was a total waste of money!” She narrowed her eyes at her cow. “And I don’t get why you aren’t as angry as I am. You and I fought against those Woodpelt squirrels in the Genopet League, and our clan as a whole beat them! We deserve to choose what types of wooden skin to obtain.”

The door opened behind her. Ava looked over her shoulder to see a tall, chestnut-haired man walking in with a Magnecow by his side. Ava’s cheeks reddened. This man had chestnut hair, just like the Woodpeltians. Yet, here he was with a Magnecow pet!

“Um, excuse me but what’s a foreigner like you doin’ in my lab with my clan’s genopet?” Ava walked up to the man.

The man gazed at her with a confused look, and then spoke. “I am here to work with you,” he spoke in a steady voice, which emphasized the succinctness in his accent. “Didn’t Dr. Hilton tell you he was hiring a new researcher?”

Ava gasped. “You’re the newbie?”

He nodded. “I am Reni.”

Mabel gave a loud moo and stomped her left hoof twice. “Aha! So now we have a clan immigrant in the workplace!” She gazed at the cow by his side. “Gertrude, how does it feel to have a non-clan member bossin’ ya around?”

The Magnecow by his side gave a snort. “Stinky,” she grunted. Every genopet species despised the scent of genopet species other than their own, including the humans that trained them.

Ava narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. So now her new lab partner was a clan immigrant. “So,” she spoke testily. “You were been born with the humans that raised Woodpelt squirrels. Now you’re here, carin’ for another genopet species. What made ya decide to come and work with Magnecows?”

Mabel snickered. “Probly got fed up with those chittery squirrel varmints.”

Reni nodded. “That is one reason,” he remarked. “But also because my wife is here, receiving treatment for her broken hip. She has been here for two years now, and you Magnecowish still haven’t regrown all her bones.”

Ava sighed. “Well, progress has been slow since our Magnecows decided to stop producing Magnecow milk. But we’ve found a new method to obtain bone stem cells to regrow more bones! Haven’t you heard of the HEM-alpha cell culture media we prepared from mixing the milk from Magnecows, Flamecows, and Goaticillins? We can make as many bone stem cells as we want!”

Reni nodded again. “But you don’t have the right media for those bone stem cells to become bone cells. And that’s why I’m here to help you. I can try and make compromises with my own clan so that they can help you help me—a former member of their clan.”

Ava gasped. “Ah! Perhaps you can try and convince your former clan-mates to sell us type-1 wood-skin?”

Reni spoke in his steady, somewhat-heavy accent. “You don’t understand. In the meeting, my clan was trying to explain to you that it’s not the type of wood-skin you need to change, but the type of cell culture media you introduce to the wood-skin. Different bone stem cells require different culture media to become specialized cells. Just like you need a specific media to make the bone stem cells multiply, you need another type of media if you want those cells to become bone cells on a certain material.”

Ava raised an eyebrow. “And you’ll teach us how to make this specific cell culture media, so that we won’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to buy an even more expensive type of wood-skin?”

Rene nodded. “Since I grew up raising Woodpelt squirrels, I know a lot about the development of their wood-skin and what makes certain wood-skin types different from one another. I can show this lab how to prepare the right wood-skin media for those bone stem cells and for the wood-skin media you have right now.”

Ava exchanged glances with Mabel and Gertrude, who was holding her breath with a twisted frown on her face. Then Ava smiled.

“Well then,” she said. “Looks like this won’t be so bad after all.”

Gertrude gave another snort and swiveled her head away so that she was not facing Reni. “Hopefully this will be worth puttin’ up with the stench.”

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Laboratory Adventures- Making Cell Culture Media

This week, we have been focusing on growing cells with the ST2 cell lineage. This cell lineage is one of the skeletal lineages, which means that these particular cells will eventually develop into a skeletal cell. What we want to do is get these cells to multiply, without having them differentiate into the specialized cells yet. Why? Because we want to have enough stem cells that can become the specific cells we want. Think of it like planting flowers. If you want to have a specific number of flowers in your garden, say 15, you need 15 seeds that will grow into those flowers. The same concept applies here with the skeletal stem cells: we need the right amount of stem cells that will become the right amount of bone.

So my next short story entails the cell-culture preparation of the specific cell culture media needed for the ST2 cells type to multiply:

Culture Dilemma

“Oh, come on, Mabel!” Walter wailed. “Please eat your electroplants! They are essential for keeping your organs magnetized!”

A white cow with magnetic silver splotches gave a loud bellow. She swiveled her head from the batch of sizzling, sparking white flowers at her left. They were eight feet tall, sprouting from a patch of orange soil encapsulated by a two-foot plastic fence.

“Ya’ll think I wanna be digestin’ that electrifying garbage?” The cow spoke through a series of deep moos and grunts (Walter was able to translate her guttural sounds into sentences). “Ya’ll don’t appreciate mah milk, so why should I go sufferin’ through the consumption of those junky products ya’ll call flowers?”

Mabel was a genopet species of a cow, known as a Magnecow. Such cows had magnetic organs. The milk they produced was known as “Magnemilk,” a special type of milk that contained bone marrow stromal cells—or BMSCs—which were stem cells that became bone. If one consumed the milk, one would consume the stem cells needed for proper bone growth, which meant rapid bone-healing or bone-growth once the stem cells in the milk were consumed. Such a quality was what made the Magnecows special: in the milk of many other genopet species of cows, the stem cells are missing because they mix with all the other ingredients in the milk, and they become dead and ineffective in the body. But since the Magnecows have magnetic organs, all the unwanted ingredients stick to the organs and the stem cells are still alive by the time Magnecow farmers like Walter obtain their milk.

Unfortunately, however, Walter’s 10-year-old son, Tommy, had refused to drink a single cup of her milk whenever his mother served it to him. He had been dumping it down the sink behind her back. To make matters worse, the other children of the Magnecow Clan had also been throwing away the Magnemilk cartons whenever they were served it in school.

Walter shook his head. “Kids will be kids. You can’t refuse to produce Magnemilk just because the children aren’t appreciating it. There are many other humans in this clan who love your milk! Look at all the muscular farmers! They depend on your Magnemilk!”

He put on his plastic gloves and grabbed the sparky, sizzling flowers at her left and shoved the flowers toward her jaws. The sparks surrounding the flower petals flickered, zapping the cow’s face. Mabel let out a loud bellow and whirled around, kicking her back leg toward Walter’s ribcage. Walter let out a quick grunt before everything went black.

“Walter, darlin’!” Ava found her husband lying on a white bed in a hospital, right next to their son, Tommy. She rushed up to his side and grabbed her cheeks with her hands. “Ain’t this a let-down. Can’t believe Mabel would do this to ya!”

He wrinkled his nose. “Hmph. Here I am with a broken ribcage. Now I need that genopet’s Magnemilk more than ever.”

Ava looked around the hospital, frowning. Everywhere she looked, there were doctors pushing stretchers in every direction, and Magnecows passing by with the doctors by their sides. “It’s pretty darn crowded here.”

“Well, our clan raises the cows that heal broken bones!” Snapped Walter. “Now that our Magnecows won’t eat any electroplants, their organs aren’t magnetized anymore, so they can’t produce any Magnemilk. Their milk will be just as lame and unhandy as any regular cow milk!”

Tommy groaned in the bed next to him. “Ohhhh, come on! Can’t you just make Magnemilk yourselves, without having to obtain it directly from Magnecows?”

Ava crossed her arms. Her eyes shifted from her son to her husband. Then she looked around at all the other patients in the hospital. Each patient either had deformed limbs or bones jutting out of place. She shuddered. She wasn’t a doctor in this hospital, but she was a postdoctoral researcher here.

“I’m gonna have a talk with my colleagues in my lab,” she spoke with a dry tone to her voice. “We’re gonna make sure we do just that,” she nodded to Tommy. “We’ll find a way to make Magnemilk without having to obtain it from Magnecows.”

Apparently, there was already a lab meeting to discuss a similar topic. Ava found herself in a room full of other researchers, each of them with silver hair just like her. They were all humans of the Magnecowish race, each of them responsible for raising Magnecows. Each was accompanied by their own Magnecows, just as Ava herself was accompanied by a cranky Mabel to her right.

However, there were other humans in the room as well. To their left was a group of humans with red hair, each accompanied by a cow with orange fur and flaming-red horns. They were the Flamecow Clan, and their cows were raised to provide hot milk tea that could cure cancer by burning off all cancerous cells. To their right was a group of humans with green hair, each accompanied by green-pelted goats with tan underbellies. They were the Goaticillin Clan, and their goats provided milk that was a mixture of penicillin and streptomycin, and their milk could cure pneumonia and a list of other respiratory diseases.

Mabel was shaking her head as she watched all the humans conversing amongst one another, shaking hands and exchanging small talk. Meanwhile, the three genopet species were all staying on their side of the room, snorting and glaring at one other.

“This is absurd,” mooed Mabel. “Can’t believe ya’ll are doin’ this.”

“Hey,” Ava shrugged. “You Magnecows didn’t want to eat any more electroplants, so we can’t obtain the milk to grow bones. Magnemilk was our only source of bone stem cells, but since you cows ain’t producing the milk anymore, we have to find another way to obtain enough bone stem cells that can turn into enough bone for all our injured patients.”

“Do you have to involve other clans in your pursuit?!” Mabel stomped her hoof. “You know we genopets abhor the scent of genopet species that are not our own!”

Ava sighed. “Hun, until we do any further research, this is the only way. By mixing Goaticillin milk, Flamecow milk, and regular, stem cell-derived Magnecow milk, we can create a cell culture media that will allow bone stem cells to grow and multiply. This is so that we have enough bone stem cells that can turn into bone once they are placed onto the right material.”

She smiled as a green-haired lady came up to her and handed her a bottle of dilute, tan liquid. Goaticillin milk, labeled as “Goaticillin Penstrep.” “Thank you,” she said.

The green-haired lady just wrinkled her nose and walked away.

An orange-haired man came up to her and tossed a bottle of thicker orange liquid. Flamecow milk, labeled as “Flamecow MEM-alpha.”

“Whoa!” Ava caught the bottle, though it almost slipped out of her hands. “Sheesh, careful there!”

Mabel snorted at the man. “Pah! No one seems to be happy to work with ya’ll.”

“Well, we paid ‘em a ton of money to obtain this stuff,” she nodded at both bottles of milk in her hands. “This better work.”

She let Mabel into her lab room. She milked Mabel into a small bottle, labeled “Magnecow FBS.” It was short for “Magnecow Fetal-Bone-Serum.”

She poured each of the three milk bottles into a 50-mL beaker and then turned to three petri dishes. Each was plated with bone stem cells. She pipetted the solution from the beaker into three petri dishes. Then she placed them in the incubator.

She didn’t return until three days later. When she opened the incubator to check the cells under the microscope, she saw numerous clusters of tiny dots, crowded together.

She clapped her hands. “They’ve grown! The bone stem cells have grown!”

Mabel awoke from her stall in the back of the lab. “Ay…what’s all the yellin’?”

“Mabel, it’s a miracle! Using regular milk from you Magnecows and mixing it with Flamecows and Goaticillins made the right media to make these bone stem cells multiply. Just pouring it over three petri dishes has made enough bone stem cells to grow an entire femur for my son!”

Mabel chortled. “Heh. So now you’re just gonna use that milk-mixin’ method? Good luck with your future debt to the Flamecow and Goaticillin Clans.”

——–

Notice the title of this short story was not “Cultural” Dilemma, but “Culture” Dilemma. Culture referred to both the cell culture we were trying to prepare, as well as the different clan cultures that were needed to provide the resources for it!

But the main correlation to my experiment was the way the cell culture media had to be prepared. To prepare cell culture media for the ST2 cells, I had to mix MEM-alpha, which is base media, along with fetal bovine serum (FBS), and a solution of penicillin and streptomycin, which is known as “penstrep” for short. Mixing those three ingredients would create the complete cell culture media for the ST2 cell lines, so that these cells can continue to multiply until enough is needed for the next step.

Then later on in the week, we plated these ST2 cells onto the wooden PEEK material. Unfortunately, the cells didn’t stick as well as we wanted them to. So for this upcoming week, we will focus on obtaining different skeletal lineages. The plan is to isolate the cells from bone marrow, and then put the entire cell population into a flask. After about a day, there may be cells that stick to the flask. These are the cells that possibly are of skeletal lineage. We will take the cells that stuck to the flask and use flow cytometry to decipher the specific types of cells and see if we have obtained the cells we want. Stay tuned for my next short story, which will entail more details on how this experiment will go!

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Stem Cell Adventures- Flash Fiction

Alright, here is my first flash fiction story based on my experience in the stem cell lab so far. This story is based on the experiment we have been focusing on in the past few days. It is set in my fictional world of Genotopia, so yes, there will be some wacky-sounding, genetically modified animal names in the story, but I’ll explain how this super-short piece of fiction relates to the research in my lab at the end of this post.

The Wood Magicians

The doors burst open. A flood of stretchers rolled into the emergency room.

“Make way! Make way!” Shouted the nurses as they pushed the stretchers inside.

I was standing by the sink, washing my hands. It only took me a few seconds to realize the uniformity of the patients rolling into the room. Each stretcher carried a brown-skinned man with curly copper hair. I swallowed. They were Groberons, humans from the Grobear Clan. But they looked more like flattened sheets of muddy blankets. As a stretcher rolled up to the station behind me, I turned to peer closer at the body. The man was groaning, his chest was heaving like a deflating balloon. It appeared they had contracted the new disease known as DeGray’s Bone Atrophy. Such a disease was caused by the sap known as DeGray Sap, which was a type of sap our Emperor DeGray engineered into the wooden skin of our squirrels. The sap had pathogens that burned the bones. Once infused into the blood, the bones would wither away completely. These once-brawny men who trained the heaviest genopet bears in the forest were now nothing but

A high-pitched squeak sounded beside my shoulder and I turned to see the scrunched face of Chestnut, my wood-skinned squirrel genopet.

“Puh, don’t tell me we have to treat those heavy loons again,” he chittered.

I sighed. This was the second time the Groberons had suffered a loss after a Genopet League Battle against our Woodpelt Clan. “Well,” I put on my gloves. “This is what we get for beating them. You Woodpelts really destroyed them with your DeGray Sap in that last battle.”

We made our way into the healing room. Dozens of Woodpelt squirrels were racing across the ceiling tree branches that led to the incubators at the top corners of the room. Gray weasels with long snouts and blue-diamond noses were creeping around the tubes, their eyes narrowed and their faces scrunched into smirks. They were the Nosdrills. As soon as the Woodpelts entered the incubator tubes, they fell unconscious and the Nosdrill weasels slinked inside. Their blue-diamond noses spun like drills, and they carved small pieces of wood from the wooden skins of the Woodpelt squirrels.

“Gah!” Scoffed Chestnut. “I hate healing processes that involve working with other clan species!”

“Well, this technique has proven to be very useful,” I said. “Your skin will make a great surface for stromal stem cells to attach to and develop. Once we cut the wood out of your skin, we will coat them with stem cells that will develop into the bones that all the Groberons need.”

I watched as one of the lab technicians took a handful of small 3mm by3mm pieces of wood and threw them in a small, round cell culture plate labeled “mesenchymal stem cells.” The technician handed it to me, and I turned to deliver it into the room across the hallway. I dumped the wood pieces into the open skin of an unconscious flat Groberon patient’s spine, and watched as the wood pieces began to form into bones. A smile crept across my face. I loved to see those stem cells at work. They were doing their job, forming into the bone cells on at the wooden pieces they had stuck to. I watched as the bones grew into the flattened body, extending through the vertebral column and branching out into the shoulders, thighs, legs. His ribcage formed, and pretty soon, the body no longer looked like a flat standee.

I made my way back into the healing room and stood by Chestnut, who was still snarling at the upper branches, where the weasels were coming to and fro from the tubes of sleeping Woodpelts. A weasel slinked across a branch beside my shoulder. He eyed Chestnut and snickered. “Can’t wait to dig my nose into your wooden flesh, Chestie. Hehe.”

Chestnut snapped his teeth at the weasel before he slinked away.

Suddenly, a woman’s cry sounded in the other room. I turned and gasped to see my wife, Clarice, standing in the room across from us. She had her hands on her cheeks as she stared, wide-eyed, at the man on the stretcher in front of her. I dropped my mouth open. That man was no Groberon. He had light skin, olive-green hair, and green eyes. Just like me, Clarice, and the other Woodpelt humans in our clan.

“Jebediah! No!” She cried.

“Great Hox,” I muttered. “It’s my brother.” He was as flat as a pancake. But guess what? I felt no pity. He left our clan to join the Groberons, so this is what he gets. The Woodpelt squirrels will attack him in battle, just like they would do to any nonclan species.

But Chestnut was staring with a distant look in his eyes. “Kendall, we have to help him,” he said. “He was the human master of my beloved Maisy. Before she died from Fireblood, she and him were one of the best partners in our clan.”

“Her death is the reason he left us,” I said, narrowing my eyes at his unconscious flat body. “He could no longer bear to see another Woodpelt. So he joined the Groberons, who live far from the tree-crowded territory of us Woodpelt humans.” In a way, I was glad. I watched as Clarice knelt by his side and stroked his hair, and I remembered why I was so happy that he left us. Clarice had been in love with him. she probably would have married him if he hadn’t left our clan in time.

I turned to see Chestnut leap off my shoulder and run up the branches to the incubator. He was ready to help the man, ready to get pieces of his skin carved off by those weasels so that we can grow the bones back into the body of my traitorous brother. I sighed. At least he was finally willing to do his job. I should be as well. So after the Nosdrills carved Chestnut’s wooden skin and gave me a few pieces, I turned to the tray where they placed his wooden pieces inside.

“These will be for Jebediah,” snickered the Nosdrill weasel.

After one more glance at Clarice and my brother, I took a deep breath. And started coating them with stem cells.

—–

To put it in the most basic terms, we are currently working on getting the bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs, or bone stem cells) to grow on a wooden material called PEEK. The goal is to get the stem cells to proliferate on this material and eventually become bone cells needed for regeneration. This PEEK material would be placed in between a nonunion or any particular fractured site, and the stem cells will grow into the bone cells needed to regenerate that site. Sounds pretty nifty, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s actually not as simple as it sounds. First of all, we need to obtain the correct stem cells, specifically the stem cells that have the potential to become bone cells. The stem cells will come from mice, and the whole process to isolate them is proving to be much more difficult than we thought.

But let’s say we did isolate them. Let’s say we did obtain the cells we want, and we were ready to plate them on the PEEK material so that they can differentiate into the bone cells we need. This quick story is an idea of what could happen if our endeavor was a success: people would experience faster bone regrowth, even in places where bones are not meant to regenerate! I used the diamond-nosed weasels to illustrate how my lab manager had to carve out teeny pieces of wood, no larger than 3mm by 3mm. We are planning to coat this wooden material with a protein called JAGGED-1. This particular protein will activate NOTCH-signaling in the stem cells once they are coated on the plate. And if the cells express NOTCH-signaling, they will differentiate into the bone cells we need them to be!

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. If you are curious to learn more about how these cells work, or if you would like me to be more detailed about these particular concepts, please let me know in your comments! I would love to explain more, but I also want to keep my posts short and sweet and save all the nit-picky details for scientific journals. So if there’s anything you’d like me to elaborate on, mention it in the comments!

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Adventures in a Stem Cell Lab

These past three weeks have been quite eventful! I started working in a stem cell laboratory, and the research focuses on the NOTCH-signaling pathways of bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSCs). This basically means we are studying how certain bone marrow stem cells differentiate into the specific bone cells needed for bone regeneration. We are studying a particular cell-signaling pathway called “NOTCH,” which must be activated in order for these stem cells to proliferate and become bone marrow stem cells.

I won’t ramble on about the scientific mechanisms behind everything, because that will just bore you. There’s just so much to explain about this research, and although I find it all very interesting, I know it wouldn’t sound as exciting as I want it to be if I just started info-dumping this post with a bunch of scientific vocabulary.

So instead of dumping a load of information about everything I’m learning, I decided to post a few flash fiction stories that can give you a better idea of what’s happening in my lab at the moment. If you want to know the specifics behind the experiments we are doing, by all means, post your questions in a comment! Or feel free to email me directly. I would be more than happy to explain the research in more detail, and I’ll especially love to share how the experiments correlate to the flash fiction I will be posting.

So stay tuned for more lab-based blog posts and flash fiction! 🙂

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