Oscillator

Latest / page 2

Losing Control

Valerie Weiss is not just a film director with a fun new movie coming out, she’s also a scientist. After getting her PhD from Harvard (from the same lab as me!) she created PhD Productions, and her newest film is a quirky romantic comedy look at the life of a neurotic graduate student. “Losing Control”…

Perhaps you have noticed that I haven’t been blogging very much lately. Probably not, which is why I don’t ever do these “sorry for not posting” posts, but I’m making an exception this time because it is a very special occasion. So, apologies for my recent lack of posts, but I got married last weekend!…

Making Cellular Memories

Cells permanently change their behavior in response to temporary changes to the environment, a kind of biological memory that controls processes as important and complex as how stem cells differentiate into specific tissues or how the immune system “remembers” dangerous pathogens. At its simplest, cellular memory is achieved with a positive feedback loop–once activated by…

Lab Poetry

I recently learned that one of my advisors and mentors is not only a great scientist, but also a poet. This poem was written a few years ago for his biotech company’s clean-up day poetry contest and won him a $5 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts. I think it’s actually quite good and deserves more…

Less Bad vs. Good

Changing our energy infrastructure from one that contributes to climate change to one that is renewable and sustainable poses enormous challenges technically, politically, socially, and economically. There isn’t going to be a single solution, but a combination of technological changes, policy changes, efficiency gains, and adaptations to local environments will likely go a long way…

Great Balls of Evolution

One organism’s trash is another organism’s treasure. Our cellular wastes, carbon dioxide and water, nourish plants, which with added energy from sunlight produce the oxygen and sugars that we need to survive. At microscopic scales, these cycles of waste and food can get much more complicated, with many species of microbes working together to survive…

Energy, Armpits, and Octopodes

I had a great conversation with Maggie Koerth-Baker from BoingBoing for bloggingheads.tv Science Saturday. We talked about all sorts of sciency stuff, including her upcoming book on the challenges of renewable energy, synthetic biology, the similarities between cheese and the human body, women in science/blogging, and octopus brains. I had a lot of fun chatting…

Designer Bacteria

Synthetic biologists work on designing living cells, but engineered bacteria don’t usually come up when you think of “designer” things. This year however, a synthetic biology design is up for a Brit Insurance Design of the Year award, up against the Lanvin Spring collection, Angry Birds, and Rock Band 3! Designers Daisy Ginsberg and James…

Microbial Landscapes

The Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative Graduate Consortium hosted a fun workshop during the January term where students learned about microscopy by taking some amazing pictures of food microbes. The images taken with the scanning electron microscope of sauerkraut, kombucha, and some stinky cheeses show beautiful and complex landscapes made by and of microbes. Sauerkraut is…

Lab Fashion

Scientists aren’t known for their fashion sense, but they do have their own unique charm, as you can see in this episode of In The Lab, with Bill Cunningham.