Category Archives: Cool Science

New Beginnings.

Source: Kim Yoeung Seng

Source: Kim Yoeung Seng

Greetings Friends!

I hope this is finding everyone enjoying their holiday cookies and bowl games. What a crazy couple of months it has been! Sorry for the MIA-ness. I have been quite the busy bee this past summer/semester, finishing up my undergraduate degree in May (Yay!) and hitting the ground running to start my Masters this Fall. All in all it has been an adventure and I am finally sitting down to do a long awaited re-vamp on DJ’s Locker. As you may have noticed…some things have changed. I figured every New Year needs a new look (at least that’s what I learned on Fashion Police last night). Thus, I have given the site a much needed facelift and am ready to start the year off fresh. I am not one for resolutions, but I will give it a good faith effort. This next season I will also be doing things a little bit differently. As some of you may or may not know, I had the privilege of participating in the #SciFund Challenge in Nov/Dec. (What is the #SciFund Challenge? ->Click Here) Through this platform I was able to raise $1,765 for my research (See “The Science”) from the generosity of people just like you! (Mad shout out to my #SciFund Crew). Overall, Round 3 SciFunders were able to crowdfund over a quarter of a million dollars! An amazing feat and a testament to what happens when scientists and the public join forces. With our powers combined and all that.

Anyways, after everything was said and done, I decided I wanted to take my blog down a bit of a different route. Do not be alarmed, I will still have the occasional rad post about what I feel is funky fresh in today’s science world. However, I want to transform this site into more of an online lab notebook. This will allow a couple of things to happen:

1. As is ALWAYS the main goal >>Bring science to a broader public audience in a way that is easily understood, accessible, and (hopefully) interesting.

2. Allow those who have supported me in the #SciFund Challenge and anyone else who is interested to keep tabs on what I am up to in the lab/field.

3. Give me a chance to keep a running dialogue of my research with pictures and interesting tidbits…when I go to write this all up for my thesis/manuscript, I know I will be thanking myself later.

4.  Make it easier for me to update this site semi-regularly (I am hoping that with this new format, I will at least be able to maintain monthly/bi-monthly postings)

So that is the skinny. Have a look around as I have added some pages that I thought would be a fun edition. As always, I am open to suggestions on content and format (M. Goldstein…I promise I will left justify from now on ;)). Just hit me up in the comments section or on which ever social media outlet you frequent (Facebook, Twitter, Email, Smoke Signals, etc.) the lines are always open. Hope you enjoy the new look and thank-you for tuning in.

Happy Holidays from The Locker!

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Bio Arrays

"Carbon ring earrings. The white beads represent a Carbon, the green one is an Oxygen, this is the basic backbone for hexose sugars (such as glucose, galactose, aldose etc)"

 Now I will be the first person to tell you that Biochemistry is not my strong suit. Learning about the processes that make

the world go round is fascinating and all, but it’s not a subject that really gets me excited to go to lab at 8  in the morning. However, that is neither here nor there.  My participation in this class has, nevertheless,  given me a broadening appreciation of …well…the smaller things in life. Which is why when my lab partner walked into lab bright and early yesterday morning with these fancy new earrings and matching necklace set…I knew I had to get on the band wagon. To the untrained eye they may just look like simple hexagons, but they are so much more. These my friends, are the latest in high fashion… none other than carbon rings with a little extra swag. In utter amazement, I asked my dear labmate where she had acquired such awesome pieces of art, to which she replied that they were her own

"FAD backbone pendant. FAD is a proton transporter, it helps create the proton gradient during glycolysis which then come back in and help ATPase create ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate."

personal creations. Being the nerd that I am, of course I had to have some of this fabulous science swag and lucky for me (and for you) she sells them through her small business lovingly referred to as “Bio Arrays.” Furthermore, she uses this endeavor to teach people about science and the stories and purpose behind each of the molecular formations. A mission that we fully support here at the Locker. So check out her website on Facebook, learn a little something, and then make one of these your own so you too can teach others who ask you about your new bling. If you would like to make one of these yours today, check out Karla’s website or leave a note in the comments section and the message will get to her. I do believe she takes custom orders, so the cells the limit. Go crazy.

Check them out on Facebook: Bio Arrays

More from the jewelry box:

DNA set...to impress at that next science conference. You know who you are.

"This is a pendant of a t-RNA. IT IS NOT A CROSS. t-RNA is the molecule that brings the amino acids to a growing polypeptide chain."

"Adenine. One of the 4 nitrogenous bases of DNA. Also a component of ATP... fuel for your body."

Personalized DNA bracelets that can encode any names within the 20 amino acids (i.e. all letters except J. O, U, X)

Props: K. Ocampo… for making science that much more cool.

Tales from the Tikina.

A project I have been working on looking at marine conservation from a slightly different perspective. Enjoy.

Life after Death.

Awesome video sent to me by a friend…yes this is the kind of things my friends send me…no I don’t have a problem. Anyways, it’s a great depiction of a whale fall or the life of a whale after death. Full props go to Sharon Shattuck and Flora Lictman for putting this together. Check them out at Sweet Fern Productions.

Now what’s cooler than bein’ cool?

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Icefish (Notothenioid)

 How about -1.86°C?

For those of you that may not know, this is the point at which saltwater freezes, and that my friends is pretty darn cold. These sorts of temperatures make life for a marine fish in Antarctic waters a bit chilly, especially when the thermostat dips well below the freezing point of most of their body fluids. Not to mention, ice crystals that may form in the body are pretty dangerous when it comes to puncturing important organelles  and cell walls. So what’s a fish destined to the hard, cold, watery life gonna do?

Well, a group of roughly 120 species of marine fish known as the notothenioids have resorted to just making their own antifreeze. Produced in the liver, these glycoprotein compounds are used by the notothenioids to bring the tissues in their body below the freezing point of saltwater. The proteins do this by attaching themselves to the minute ice crystals that form within the body and prevent the formation of the seed crystal needed in order for more ice crystals to be created and the whole body to freeze. Other cold water non-Antarctic fish such as Atlantic Cod, Shorthorn Sculpin, and Winter Flounder also contain this physiological mechanism, however, it is somewhat energetically expensive to produce such antifreeze compounds, so they only upregulate the production of these proteins when needed.

So Cool. Literally.

And for all of you out there who don’t know what’s cooler than being cool…OutKast is here to help.

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DeVries and Cheng. 2005. Antifreeze proteins and organismal freezing avoidance in polar fishes. Fish Physiology 25, 155-201.

When I grow up…

Aquarius Reef Base

Aquarius Reef Base

…I want to be an aquanaut.

Yes an aquanaut. Due to the recent end of the U.S. space program…my dreams to become an astronaut have been crushed, so I had to resort to other measures.

Some of you may be wondering…what exactly is an aquanaut and what do they do?  Well for one…it’s only the coolest job…ever. For those of you who need a bit more on the details, an aquanaut is somewhat like an underwater astronaut. Normally, most divers are limited underwater by the amount of air they have in their tanks, as well as, the nitrogen that the human body accrues while under pressure. As you can imagine, these limitations can make marine science and unlocking the knowledge of the deep a bit of a challenge. Hence, the underwater research facility was born.

Located roughly 9 miles off the coast, in the beautiful aquamarine waters of Key Largo, lies Aquarius. Currently, Aquarius is the only underwater research facility in the world and is owned and maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The station allows researchers to remain underwater for about 10 days at a time so that they can work round the clock and not have to worry about certain limiting conditions that come with normal recreational diving.

For those of you who would like to know more, there is currently a mission in progress that a couple of friends of mine are involved in, looking at the restoration of coral reefs by manipulating herbivore density.

Dr. Mark Hay, the prinicple investigator of this mission, explains both the science currently in progress and what it is like living underwater:

And if you are truly a science geek, or just a creeper (don’t worry I do it too), you can stream the live feeds from both the inside and outside of the habitat. It’s like the “Real World: Ecology”

Take me to: Aquarius Reef Base

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