15 y/o innovator at TKS trying to uncover the secrets of stem cells everyday 🧬

Have you ever wondered about the future of medicine? We’ve advanced so far but there are still diseases like Alzheimer’s that are without a cure! The answer to these problems may be stem cells.

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Credit: Lukiyanova Natalia/frenta/Shutterstock

1, 440,000

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!

Even though more and…

You’ve probably heard of mitosis and meiosis but what if I told you that a specific type of cell division has been hidden from you all this time? Cells DON’T always divide into two identical cells and it’s the reason why we’re still alive.

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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…

You will never be satisfied. You have never been satisfied. And if you think I’m exaggerating, you’re wrong.

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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…

The word gene editing scares many. Combine that with stem cells (especially embryonic ones) and you’ve got yourself a very controversial conversation. But before we can talk about ethics, we need to educate ourselves about what’s possible. So join me on this journey as we become informed on the intersection of both topics!

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Background Image Courtesy of Hacker Noon. Designed By Me :)

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. …

Imagine this. You’re sitting under a tree when all of a sudden an apple hits you on the head. Then something strikes you; why is it that apples fall from trees. It’s gravity! You’re brilliant, and you’ve just figured *all* there is to physics. Hmmm, not quite.

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Completely accurate depiction of how Newton discovered gravity. Also, I need to clarify that obviously gravity does exist! All I’m trying to say is that there’s just so much more to it than what we often think!

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…

What if I told you that phrase could actually entirely change up the layout and furniture of your room. Welcome to the future of robotic furniture!

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!

From oriliving.com

What Is Robotic Furniture?

Great question! It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s furniture that can move and conform to your needs.

Let me give you an example. One of the front-runners in this space, Ori, has…

Did you know that the problem itself can be just as important as the solution in a hackathon, if not more so? Or that as the team leader, “why” questions can do more harm than good?

Well, neither did I until I participated in my 2 first-ever hackathons (one in AI by TKS and soon after another one called the Digital Inclusion Challenge). So prepare yourself because I’m about to drop some knowledge 🎤

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Communication is 🔑

During one of the hackathons, my team and I didn’t have great communication at the beginning. We had about a week and a half to solve a problem and we landed on human longevity, or more specifically stem cell exhaustion which is one factor that causes ageing 🧓

We vaguely split up some roles and “got to work”. All was well except for the fact that none of us had any clue what we were doing and we all relied on the fact that someone else on the team knew what was going on. Spoiler alert: no one did. …

I got the opportunity to go to MIT’s Tough Tech Summit a few weeks ago and one of my favourite sessions was a fireside chat with Matt Rogers– Co-Founder of Nest & Founder of Incite.org– and Ilan Gur–CEO of Activate 🔥 I want to share with you some of my most insightful takeaways!

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Background image from The Engine; Photo of Matt from Twitter; Edited by Yours Truly :)

Quick note before we get going: some of my insights came from a podcast episode with Matt on The Climate Journey. It’s a great listen so check it out here!

1. Helping Young Entrepreneurs → A Compulsion

One of the first things discussed during the chat that I found super interesting was how Matt saw everything he was doing– like helping smaller startups and non-profits– a part of his obligations rather than a favour he was doing. He then reiterated this later on…

I’ve been the product of a lot of privilege, and it’s not my honour but actually it’s my requirement to do some of the…

When I was first about to meet Ahmed Elsamadisi, the founder and CEO of Narrator, I decided to actually learn about data warehousing, star and snowflake schema, and all that fun stuff. But then I realized, there weren’t any quick guides for beginners like me! So I decided to make one, with the help of Ahmed!

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Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Before we go any further, I need to share something critical that I learned while talking to Ahmed about the entire data world. Definitions won’t get you anywhere. You need to understand the problems that are present in the data warehousing space and address them and knowing just knowing what a star schema is won’t help you do that.

So just wanna learn some definitions and basic ideas? Read Part 1. For a more in-depth look at the issues currently with the data warehousing field and how to shift your mindset to become better at analysis, go to Part 2…

What happens when computing and biology combine? We enter a new world of possibilities, no longer bound by the limitations of silicon chips or the mysteries of DNA.

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

So… what’s biocomputing?

Glad you asked! Biocomputing, short for biological computing, is an intersectional field where scientists try to essentially turn DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid) into a mini computer, capable of storing data, carrying out commands and more. If you think about it, it’s the natural next step. We’ve spent so long perfecting technology and computing that we’ve forgotten the DNA and cells in our bodies are amazing computing machines that have been around for thousands of years. You might be thinking that cells and DNA aren’t really able to do much outside the body and that’s where you’re wrong! …

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