Updated: Jun 27, 2021
For my last co-op term of university, I worked for a professor doing stem cell research. I was tasked with observing time lapse pictures of a neural stem cell culture with the goal of determining whether the characteristics of individual cells were a predictor of specialized cell type after differentiation. Every day I would pour over pictures of a growing stem cell culture and try to identify observable attributes of the cells. I noticed cells differed in the manner in which they moved within the colony. I likened the movement to humans at a cocktail party. The result: yes, the specialized cell type (i.e. neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes) could be predicted based on the attributes of the stem cell, and it was the cocktail-party analogy that was the predictor. For my efforts I was named second author on a technical paper published journal Cytometry Part A.