21 Questions With…Emma Yates


20110126__YatesE_0130Name: Emma Yates
Age: 22
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Coconut Creek, Florida
Eating club/residential college/affiliation: Charter/Forbes

What was your initial reaction when you found out you won the scholarship?
Immediately, it was realizing that I’d won the Churchill based on the fact that the director of the Churchill Foundation had just asked me to withdraw from the Gates. After that, it was, SCORE!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Obtain some sort of caffeinated beverage.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten at Princeton?
I actually eat the same special order soy, whole wheat pizza at Charter every day for dinner. My friends laugh, but honestly, it’s delicious! Thanks Tom and Ramon! :)

When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter and why?
Honestly, I’ve never been able to figure out how people actually do that. I can’t function as a productive person if I don’t sleep at all, but with finals, papers, and fellowship interviews all clustered within a few day stretch, I averaged around 3 hours a night for a week or two. Before that it was graduate school applications: I had 5 due on the same day.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
So _________, “I mean…”

What magazines do you read?
Allure and Lucky.

Continue reading…

Aging like worms

[caption id="attachment_7493" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="http://accidentalmind.org/"]http://accidentalmind.org/[/caption]

A hotbed of research exists around aging in the world of molecular biology. Researchers focusing on cancer, fertility and general mortality look at everything from individual cells to sea urchins, trying to understand how aging works. Princeton MOL professor Colleen Murphy is no exception.

In an article published yesterday in Cell, Murphy and colleagues found aging and fertility connections between the worm C. elegans and humans. That’s right: women age like worms.

Well, to be more specific, reproductive aging occurs far before other aging in both female humans and C. elegans. And in both species, this decrease in fertility is due to a decrease in the quality, not quantity, of their eggs.

Murphy found that the protein TGF-beta (transforming growth factor beta), which is also found in humans, causes eggs to degrade in C. elegans.

For those female students planning to have both a career and families, this may be good news. Murphy foresees further research on C. elegans leading to fertility treatments:

“The dream would be that you could give a woman in her early 30s a supplement or a drug to keep her oocytes healthy as long as possible,” she said. “We have treatments now that extend life span, but nothing extends our reproductive span,” she told the New York Times.

However, don’t get too excited yet. Murphy also looked at mutant worms with low TGF-beta levels. Reproduction in these worms did continue into old age, but there was an unforeseen consequence — death. Worms were still reproducing at 13 days — which is old for an organism that lives 2-3 weeks — but their bodies were no longer healthy enough to lay the fertilized eggs.

“It’s like an 80-year-old woman trying to have a baby,” Murphy said in a press release.

IN PRINT: ‘Cool Genes’ Program Draws HS Science Teachers to PU

If you’ve found yourself losing sleep this summer, spending long, agonizing hours wondering what your beloved Princeton is doing with itself in your absence, read on.

[caption id="attachment_6845" align="alignright" width="515" caption="Sherry Davis (left) and lab partner Gail Turner-Graham swab their cheek cells for analysis in Princeton's Schultz Lab."]Sherry Davis (left) and lab partner Gail Turner-Graham swab their cheek cells for analysis.[/caption]

Contrary to popular belief, Princeton doesn’t exist in a September-to-May time warp. Princeton lives on! In a big way. And no, I’m not just talking about the hordes of high school athletes that descend on campus. Or the tech camp attendees who get, ahem, air-conditioned housing.

In fact, for anyone who went to sleep-away camp and wondered why the lobsters and sushi and chocolate fondue fountains only got rolled out on visiting day, this will make sense: summertime is Princeton’s visiting day. (Minus the A/C for non-tech-camp individuals and the constant fire alarms triggered by “careless cooking”). Construction, summer theater, festivals and fairs in town, weddings…campus is definitely alive and well.

And the learning continues! Click here to read about a 2-week, hands-on molecular biology outreach program for secondary school science teachers from all over the world.