A CRISPR Lesson

“Why did you want to become a scientist?”

It was an innocent question – I had an innocent answer. It feels almost painful to think about it.


A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to visit St. Stephen’s School in Rome to teach 9th grade biology classes about CRISPR.

I don’t know much about CRISPR, or teaching. So I recruited the lab CRISPR guru Angelo, who was also very excited about this. Together we came up with a lesson plan, hoping to introduce the latest, coolest CRISPR applications and pique the interest of 15-year-olds. We decided on case studies to make sure that everyone was engaged; we chose cases that covered a broader spectrum of applications, from cancer immunotherapy to gene drives…


– Impact. I wanted to cure cancer.

Adhering to Asian stereotypes, my parents “asked” if I would apply to medical school. Short-sighted, I thought- doctors can save maybe a hundred lives, but if I find the cure for some deadly disease, I would be saving millions.

Continue reading “A CRISPR Lesson”

Escaping the lab on the Silk Road

This summer I managed to steal away from the lab to fulfill my childhood dream of driving from Europe to India. The idea that a culture so exotic and different than ours is nevertheless part of the same landmass and people like Alexander the Great, Ibn Battuta, and Marco Polo had managed to walk to Asia always held a deep fascination with me. Continue reading “Escaping the lab on the Silk Road”

How to see the world in a new light

Language reflects/affects the way we think and understand the world around us. I want to discuss this in my first ever EMBL Rome blog post- as it is a place unique for being hugely international, and because of a discussion over lunch that now became known (at least to me) as the “cherry discussion”. Continue reading “How to see the world in a new light”