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I just finished reading the wonderful new book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  It is about the supersized contributions of a little known woman to science, it is about a family, it’s about a journalist.

Skloot’s years and years spent researching this book, from her tireless attempts to sway the Lacks family to talk with her, to her endless patience in gaining their trust, has given her a uniquely personal perspective on this story.  While she first heard of Henrietta Lacks, the woman who is HeLa cells, in a college course, she has over the years integrated herself into the story of the Lacks family.  When it came to finally writing this story she decided to do so from a first person perspective, interweaving information about the Lacks family, Henrietta, and the science made possible by HeLa cells, with her own narrative of researching this book. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wine Wine Wine, creative commons Ingorrr

A study published Monday in the journal, The Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that women who drink moderately gain less weight they are middle-aged.  I first stumbled across mention of this yesterday on the BBC news website in this article, Women Who Drink Wine ‘Likely to Gain Less Weight’.  Then I ran into it again today on the front page of the LA Times website in this article, Women Who Drink Moderately Tend to Gain Less Weight in Midlife.  Being a moderately drinking woman myself, I’ve decided to delve further into this supposed new, exciting, scientific discovery! Read the rest of this entry »

Recently a crew from BBC Horizon came to the lab I toil in as a graduate student to film this clip for a program they titled, “What Makes a Genius”.  They wanted to film a knockout mouse a postdoc in the lab created, and that I happen to be doing my thesis work on.  This mouse is missing a gene that is important for proper growth of neurons.  Some of my work, and others, has shown that it has trouble forming connections in its brain during development.  This is why we think it is not a great learner.  However, the way this clip explains the research, I’d want to give my boss, Elly, a Nobel Prize for finding THE intelligence gene.  So let’s go through this clip’s weak and strong points. Read the rest of this entry »

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jen.h.leslie at gmail.com

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