When I was in college, happily trekking down my pre-med program, I happened to attend a talk by a guest speaker from Albert Einstein College of Medicine graduate school program. Two things from her talk have stuck with me through the years.
First, and likely the more important, is the fact that her talk served as the tipping point for me to seriously consider a career in research rather than medicine. Despite working in biological research labs since high school, I have never considered thinking of it as my ultimate career until this eye-opening seminar. Well, I am so glad that I did. From that point on, my mantra has become “I’d rather be dealing with test tubes than with patients”. Fast forward about ten years, and here I am, still dealing with test tubes, but working on a drug that is currently being tested in clinical trials to actually help patients.
The second, more whimsical detail from her talk stuck with me as a quote. While describing how going into a research career had impacted the rest of her life, she said “I met my husband next to the flow cytometer”. Well, guess what? A couple of years after attending this talk, I met my husband at the graduate school picnic during orientation week! Yes, we are both science nerds, and we speak the same language that transcends into other areas of our life as well.
When we got married and moved into our first apartment, we had a bit of a dilemma. There was a huge empty wall in our living room, and we could not come up with a way to decorate it. Well, scientists are problem solvers, right? Guess what we came up with? We decided to showcase our nerdiness and hang six large picture frames with blown up microscopy images of the cells we worked on.
I guess we have never intentionally taken pictures of this wall art, but here are a few shots I was able to find, starting with first months of my older daughter’s life.
My dad and my older daughter in our very first apartment.
The funny thing was that in the beginning, even our friends with medical degrees couldn’t quite put their finger on what was depicted in these pictures. They just perceived them as abstract art.
Since then, these pictures have followed us through two more apartments, and witnessed the early stages of our family life. It was particularly funny when a nanny we just hired asked us if these were pictures of cells.
My older daughter when she was a baby. Check out the background!
My daughter and husband chilling under the cells.
Now that we have finally bought a place and need to think about decorating it for the long-term, we had a brief conversation about where to hang these pictures. When I gently suggested updating them based on our more recent research, my husband immediately objected. The whole beauty of these cells comes down not only to the bright colors and intriguing cellular structures, but to the fact that these images came from our early days in science. When the passion began.
And speaking of passion, my next piece of wall art, a 3 dimensional neuron with spines, is almost ready for prime time. Stay tuned to get the first sneak peek of it at my Etsy shop NeuroBead! And follow me on Instagram to see the work in progress!