That’s one of the most conservative estimates for the number of people that could have their life changed with the help of stem cells, in the US alone. Just for context, that’s more than the population of Estonia!
This is because stem cells are incredibly helpful in studying human development, modelling diseases, developing drugs, transplanting cells (such as for cancer patients), regeneration of cells and organs, and even mental disease diagnosis. I could write another whole article about this but for now just know that stem cells are super duper important for the future of medicine!
Ever since September, I’ve been a part of The Knowledge Society (or TKS for short), a human accelerator that helps students who love STEM explore different topics deeply.
Over these past ten months, I’ve grown a lot both because of the amazing support I got from TKS and our directors as well as a lot of my own hard work. While my time at TKS is over, I wanted to reflect on how I’ve grown.
But to make things interesting, I decided to do adopt an interview style reflection (shoutout to Michael Raspuzzi for the suggestion).
I thought it’d be…
For this article, I crowdsourced a bunch of questions around stem cells and then attempted to answer them as simply as possible. No jargon, no fluff, just explaining topics as simply as possible.
I got quite a few questions so without further ado, let’s get into it!
My favourite and simplest way to describe stem cells is by introducing the two criteria they need to fulfill.
❏ They must be able to self-renew/make copies of themselves indefinitely.
❏ They must be able to differentiate.
Being able to differentiate means that stem cells initially don’t have an “identity” and can become…
Over the past 6 or 7 months at The Knowledge Society, I’ve had the chance to be the project manager or PM on three different projects, ranging from one focusing on recognizing stem cell exhaustion to another on increasing women’s digital employment in Senegal through e-commerce.
It’s fair to say that along the way I’ve learned a thing or two and I’m going to share them with you today.
When working on a hard, real-world problem for weeks on end, morale’s bound to take a hit. It’s your job to hype the team up. An unmotivated team produces crappy content…
And by that I mean we can make regular adult stem cells into cells that can turn into any cell type in the entire body. That’s great and all but we’ve only been able to do this in vitro, in a lab. Now, what if I told you that a process like this already exists in the body?
🤯 ← That’s you when you heard that.
Let’s first imagine a crazy scenario. We’re usually taught that mitosis or cell division is when a mother or parent cell divides into two identical daughter cells, right?
But [then how come] instead of being a hundred or so pounds of cells in a bucket, we’re functioning human beings?
– Dr. Yukiko Yamashita, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan
It’s because that’s only a part of the story! What I just described–one cell dividing into two identical ones–is called symmetric cell division. But there’s another mechanism called asymmetric cell division or ACD where both cells don’t have the same…
A bit of an intense subtitle but don’t worry I’ll explain!
The fact that humans are never truly satisfied is not a new idea at all. Just take a look at Abd Al-Rahman III, a caliph of Córdoba in Spain in the 10th century who viewed his life like this:
I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies.
I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14
But what exactly is it…
Imagine this. One of your loved ones has a serious genetic disease, cystic fibrosis. If this was still 2020, they would only have a 50% chance of living beyond their 40s.
But it’s actually 2040. Like a flip of a switch, scientists are able to replace the gene causing cystic fibrosis, granting your loved one a normal life expectancy. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing, it’s a true feat of science!
But we’re getting carried away. …
Ok, maybe not everything you know is a lie! But when we think about physics, it’s usually classical physics, which is able describe everything around us fairly well. But when we get into quantum physics, which studies things even smaller than atoms, things become super interesting, and I think more of us should learn about this!
But before we start, I want to show you a quote:
I think I can safely say that nobody really understands quantum mechanics. –Richard Feynman, famous physicist and Nobel laureate
It’s a bit of a discouraging quote, especially coming from someone who’s dedicated their…
Close your eyes. Imagine you’re moving to Boston to pursue a path of innovation. But when you get there, reality hits you like a brick wall and you realize just how expensive living spaces are. You rent a tiny, shoebox studio and get to work, changing the world.
Now open your eyes. And get excited because you may not have to live like that anymore!
Great question! It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s furniture that can move and conform to your needs.