Greetings, people of cyberspace!
Let me introduce myself before anything else. As the blog vibe may have suggested, I’m an avid reader of biology, more specifically the parts of biology which are concerned with ridiculously small things- molecular biology, cell biology, and genome science. I have two degrees in Microbiology (a Bachelor and a recently acquired Masters), and I hope to get into a doctorate program on a subject in the neighborhood. As things stand now, I’m eying Systems Biology with an emphasis on cell biology and/or genetics. Let’s see how that turns out.
Long Control Region?
If the blog name threw you off- it’s a throwback to my masters thesis days. I was working with the genome sequence of Human Papillomavirus, and it had a curious bit of DNA with a number of regulatory switches (or as the jargon dubs them, cis-acting elements). The literature calls this DNA stretch the Long Control Region due, unsurprisingly, to its length (it’s a little less than 1000 base pairs depending on the specific HPV type).
My thesis experience was very important to me for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that this was the first time in my life I had the chance to actually step into a lab and do science. Those few months were very difficult, and invaluable for that exact same reason. This may sound cliché, but I feel the experiential aspect of knowledge in general, and scientific knowledge in particular, is something that’s often missing from its public perception. Science, in addition to acquiring information, is also about developing a particular faculty of recognizing patterns, a sort of insight- one you can optimally cultivate if you work in a lab for 12-14 hours a day, stress over the minutiae of your experiments that took you hours to set up, and at the end of the day laugh and cry on (not) getting your desired results. That experience contributes to your scientific life in a way no book knowledge ever could. Science is, at the end of the day, a craft- and no one understands the intricacies of the craft better than a craftsman.
Given all of this, I thought it appropriate to name my science blog after a thesis quirk. Perhaps I’ll write a more in-depth article about my thesis experience if/after my work gets published.
What kinds of articles will be published?
The subject matter of this blog, as I alluded to earlier, has to do with some biological disciplines which try to unearth what goes on inside the cell (biology of small things, one could say). I plan to post articles of two sorts here: book reviews and study notes. Book reviews are about my overall impressions of a book, and the level of detail there would depend on the specific book. On the other hand, study notes would be analytic breakdowns of papers or individual book chapters.
To be frank, the site is meant to benefit me more than anything else. I have a rather extensive reading list, so retaining information often becomes a real challenge. Writing definitely helps out in that regard. If other people find of this information beneficial, then that’s an added bonus- and all the more so if we can form connections based on our shared love of the science.
As for level of activity- I plan to actively write until at least 2018. I’ll have to start applying to universities for the aforementioned doctorate around that time. My plan in the year or so until then is to keep reading books and papers to build my knowledge on topics that interest me, and hopefully share some with all you beautiful people.
So uh…yeah, I think that’s all for now. Be sure to drop by from time to time for your fix of biology!