I loved listening to Sam talk about his research. I got to ask him more specific questions on the walk over to the medical building and learned more specific information about what he’s studying. He said that dendrites form different shapes depending on what genes are specifically expressed in each neuron and their function in the brain and his research focuses on figuring out what factors account for certain shape changes.
TODAY IN DESMA 160: BIO/NANO TECH&DESIGN.
We had a first hand experienced CRISPR user and researcher.
Guest: SAM - Genetic Engineering PhD in MIT - POST DOC in UCLA.
This week in class, we had the honor of learning more about bio and non-tech from two amazing guest lecturers, Sam and Paul. It was interesting to learn about both their research. What particularly stood out to me was Sam’s research about fruit flies. I thought the research involving the fruit flies stuck upside down with a paper of sort on their legs was very fascinating. This led them to believe they are on the ground.
This week we had two speakers coming to speak, what intrigued me the most is how scientists now uses augmented reality and virtual reality for animal research. In fact, the idea of putting an headsets on animals exists since “Second Livestock”. “Second Livestock” is a VR program which puts a chicken-only headsets on chickens, so they can virtually see that they are in a free-range ground.
Week six of class we went to experience the ArtSci installation, The Noise Aquarium at the Nanosystems Institute here at UCLA. The Noise Aquarium was an interactive installation where the user is suppose to step on a platform in order to bring out a random plankton into the screen. The user then must balance on the platform to keep the organism calm or end up destroying the ecosystem.
In the past week, we looked at building blocks: DNA, the building blocks of life, and atoms, the building blocks of nature. When thinking science, a reductionist view always seems to dominate, looking at the roots of any phenomenon through the lenses of its most fundamental components. We find our explanations there before slowly building up knowledge and ascending into complexity. This core of understanding was where we found ourselves at in the midst of week six.
This week in class, we got to experience the ArtSci installation and interactive experience in which a pad served as a stage for users to walk up on and balance in order to experience the effects and implications of noise pollution and microplastics in the ocean. What I found most interesting about this art installation was the use of sound design and its interactions with the visual of trying to keep the plankton still and calm.
One of the conversations that we had this week in class that I thought about a lot afterwards was on the topic of CRISPR, how important it is, but also how it could negatively impact the future. There’s so many things to think about when it comes to CRISPR. One of the most obvious uses would be to get rid of diseases and negative hereditary conditions — but how will that impact future generations?
Week 6 is full of discovery and unveiling to CRISPR technology. It is intriguing how powerful CRISPR is and what are preventing a lot of the countries from doing experimentation on it due to the governmental and local regulation. It is interesting that China, as a developing country, is making more interesting moves than most of the Western developed countries. BGI is China’s premier genome-sequencing institute.
After talking about the CRISPR technology in class, I was intrigued about how genome engineering is becoming not only advanced but accessible to the public. I encountered the CRISPR technology for the first time last week, and I was interested in the concept of designing humans and what the boundary is for scientific breakthroughs. What is the limit yet allowing the possibilities for scientific breakthroughs?
In class on Wednesday, we talked about buckyballs and the fact that hexagons are found throughout nature. I found this was interesting because I understand how circles would not be the ideal shape, since stacking circles together creates a lot of gaps between them, but I would have assumed that the best shape would therefore be a square.
This week in our Special Topics classroom was one of my favorites yet because one of the topics we covered through discussion, videos, and lecture was the revolutionary CRISPR technology. CRISPR is a has the power to edit genomes of all living things, whether it be a human embryo or a farm animal.
This week in class, we covered a lot of interesting material. We delved deeper into CRISPR/genetic engineering and learned about different peculiar artists that merge themselves with animals. We also started learning about nano-bio through the lens of the Professor’s history. We also got to visit the Noise Aquarium which I was excited about as in the previous blog I mentioned that I want to experience the installation in person.
During the lectures during Week 3, we discussed the roles of mushrooms and plastics. Our mushroom day consisted of cooking mushrooms and discussing their roles within various ecosystems. Before this class, the most I’ve ever eaten mushrooms before was strictly on pizza. I’m really happy that I got to try so many new types of mushrooms and will definitely be incorporating them into my diet more often here on out. The mushroom species that stood out to me the most, however, was mycelium.
During Week 5, we listened to our classmates’ midterm presentations for both Monday and Wednesday classes. It was really interesting to see the diverse range of projects within the biotech design realm presented. It truly shows how explorative the department of Design Media Arts can be, and I’m very excited to see everyone’s final projects.