Big Ideas Night
The inaugural Cohen Lab Big Ideas Night! Barak loves to tell the story of the discovery of transfer RNA. Our scientific forefathers kicked around ideas over tea, scones, and maybe some beers too. Through this sort of brainstorming, the idea that there must be some molecule shuttling around amino acids was borne. Once our forefathers convinced themselves of the specifics of the idea, and how the experiment would work, actually conducting it became trivial. And thus tRNA was discovered. If such great biological discovery can be made over scones and ales, then lets indulge!
Settled into our lab’s old haunts, The Scottish Arms, we bounced around big ideas focused on master regulators. With new graduate students patrolling the benches, the lab has taken up new vocabulary as well: pioneer factors. Discussion flitted between definition, mechanism, and proof of these special transcription factors; perhaps we leave this discussion for our graduate students’ future presentations.
And so big idea #1 was not as much an idea but an open question: what would result from treating cells with two different master regulator cocktails? What type of cell would the transcriptome resemble? Would we see a random assortment of cell A and cell B, or would we see a monster, with the head of cell A and the body of cell B? With Halloween on the horizon, we’ll incubate this spooky idea until a rainy day comes along, ripe with time for a big idea experiment.