The university year has passed with greater speed and transience than had any year of childhood. With exams looming and having experienced the continued though less monitored routine of schooling, it becomes difficult to see life outside of studying and marks. One can lose sight of the true beauty of learning… the applications it has to life, and how everything is connected universally. It is with this in mind that I being to ponder where life sciences can lead us…
When we look at human life from a biological or even historical perspective, it seems that suffering and decay are ubiquitous, almost extra-moral realities of nature. Despite the complexity and moral qualities of the human mind, at a base level, life is characterized by the struggle to survive. The acceleration of scientific discovery and technological feats in the past few centuries have diminished the effect of many life-threatening diseases and lifestyles, and in modern societies, it has become easy to ignore mortality until it affects our own lives. However, when considering the world at large, the extent of suffering in both the developed and developing worlds, I believe that the eternal, but worthwhile technological battle against death is our highest priority.
Technology and awareness can help combat the major causes of death, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers. They can also help slow down the process of senescence, leading to not only longer, but more continuously productive lives. Would it not be amazing to see life expectancies and the maximum life span reach new bounds within our lifetime? While there are many factors that influence length and quality life, notably psychological health in the developed world and poverty in the developing world, an equally important and feasible first step can be made in effecting technological advancements in medicine, food production, and health research. Increasing health-purposed awareness among communities and guidelines for institutions can help decrease the effects of senescence and foster a culture of caring.
The never-ending research in life sciences has and will continue to do wonders in counteracting death and suffering by preventable disease and lifestyles. This is why scientific fields such as biochemistry, physiology, and immunology are among the most empowering subjects of education, as they build and inspire the future minds that will effect a direct and tangible change to human life. The elementary concepts of genetics and organic chemistry, and the basic laboratory techniques that I've covered this year are building blocks toward eventually being able to bring about innovation.
So, while it is still early, it can be reassuring, and certainly stimulating, to stop and consider why we care about learn about carrier proteins, about enolate formation, about differential equations– and more importantly, how we can experiment with them.
(pictured) My group and T.A. in the Organic Chemistry laboratory