Tuesday, December 9, 2014

We finally made it!

Here’s a dirty little secret: at the end of freshman year, when MIT demands that you make up your mind and pick a major, I declared 2A with 7. I know what you're thinking, lame. It wasn’t until a mid-summer revelation that I realized course 20 is the coolest thing ever. But it felt like I came a bit late to the party. You all probably have had that same experience, when friends are like “What even is bioengineering? What’s the difference between that and biology?” I used to have no idea. I’d mumble something about prosthetics and drug designing then change the subject. I never had a solid, semi-accurate answer until 20.109 came around.

In Mod 1 we learned how to genetically change things: bioengineering! I’m still awed that we actually managed to reconstitute EGFP. The transformation of theory into practical application always blows my mind. In Mod 2 we created and isolated proteins with a higher capacity to activate a signaling pathway we learned all about: synthetic biology, more bioengineering!

This stuff was all super cool. But in all honesty, my favorite module was the last one. It was so different from the other two. It was a refreshing balance of biology and materials science and everything else awesome that has to do with viruses and solar cells. Now, when people ask me what bioengineering is, this experiment is my favorite go-to answer. The scope of what you can do with biology to solve problems and change the world is awe-inspiring to me. It’s also so much larger than I ever knew before this semester. It’s been a good one. Red cherries, out.


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