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Jacque's inner ramblings
(as if the outer ones weren't enough...)
mmmm.... slime mold.... 
10th-Mar-2008 02:27 pm
Here's a cake I made for a fellow grad student for passing his qualifying exam (The qual is your "official" entrance into the PhD program where you propose your research ideas for the next 3-4 years of your life to your committee of three profs. Good for organizing everything but a bit stressful and always calls for celebration afterwards!)

Well its the Dictyostelium life cycle of course! (Dicty is a single celled amoeba that grows in the soil and can form multicellular structures.) Our lab studies cell-cell adhesion but he's the ONLY person in the lab working with this particular organism (we work a little higher up on the evolutionary scale with mammalian cells) so I figured it would be fun to put them on the cake.

Here's a few more pics:

Whole cake


For comparison, EM pics of Dicty in various stages of its life cycle (apparently the pic EVERYONE in the field uses)

And the best compliment: he said from now on while giving talks he was going to use a pic of MY cake as his Dicty life cycle image instead of the one everyone else shows. Sweet! Perhaps I've found a new niche in the science community, cake decorator of various biological processes...
10th-Mar-2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hehe, that's awesome. My fiance and I are getting married at the Maryland Science Center and we plan to give out cookies that are decorated like a cell and we want to have our cake encircled by alpha helices (and god help that cake decorator if there are more or less than ten base pairs per turn!).
11th-Mar-2008 12:04 am (UTC)
OMG thats awesome (and congrats)! Can you PLEASE post pics here after the special day?!? I'd love to see those cookies and alpha-helices. Make sure to give the decorators some nice ribbon-model pics so they can get it all perfect. :) Don't you hate diagrams/structures that are never perfect/ I actually saw a girl on livejournal who made a DNA quilt with exactly 3.5 turns per helix- I was blown away!

11th-Mar-2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Is that the one where if all the food in an area is gone they send out a signal and all meet up to form some weird structure so they can latch onto something else, I think a snail or something, I can quite remember. And they leave some behind to die cause it's all about survival of some of the dna and not the species as a whole?

12th-Mar-2008 03:18 am (UTC)
hahah- kinda... I think what happens is during times of stress they form these multicellular structures where the top (sorus) is basically a shit ton of spore cells (which i think can survive more harsh situations). That means all the other cells in the structure (the stalk for instance) can't propagate so they do sacrifice themselves for the survival of the species. these slime molds aren't studied as often these days but their behavior is so fascinating!

BTW- I think i might go to barefoot on thursday and bring along a friend. will you be gone?
12th-Mar-2008 06:51 am (UTC)
Ah, cool.

Im gonna try and make it there since it will be the last time I can go for a few weeks and Im jonesin for some coffee, company and music.

3rd-Apr-2008 09:42 pm (UTC)

That reminded me of you for some reason


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