All posts by jhandra

About jhandra

The universe is a combination of art and science, randomness and precision beautifully intertwined. My curiosity and creativeness have always drawn me to these subjects. When I'm not doodling or admiring plants, I'm either playing volleyball, debating, snapping pictures with film cameras or listening to outdated vinyls. I am very passionate when it comes to social justice and environmentalism, but ultimately neurology has stolen my heart. I find the human brain to be infinitely intriguing and hope to pursue it's study to unlock the secrets of our minds. Well that's about it. "It feels like water. It feels like electricity. It sounds like a humming fridge"

Maybe Global Warming Isn’t That Bad?

I consider myself an environmentalist, I’ve always been deeply concerned with the protection of our planet. By starting a garden, signing all of Green Peace’s petitions, and co-leading an environmental club at school, I’ve come to be mistaken for a green-thumbed-hippy. Infact, so much of my life has revolved around ways to build a sustainable future in which we live cohesively with the nature around us. But just recently, as I was listening to my science teacher explain the carbon cycle, I had a traumatizing epiphany; the only true way of protecting the earth is by actually deliberately aggravating global warming. At this point, you’re probably questioning my sanity, but hear me out.

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Gertrude B. Elion

For every Nobel Prize there is a story. Gertrude B. Elion has made enormous contributions to the medical and pharmaceutical world, but in order to understand her achievements we must first take a look at her past.

Gertrude Elion CC BY
Gertrude Elion

Born in New York in 1918 Gertrude spent a lot of her childhood in Manhattan, later moving to the Bronx.  Even through her earlier years of education, she was a very bright student that was driven by an”insatiable thirst for knowledge“. However, when Dr. Elion was only 15, she witnessed a familial tragedy; the death of her dear grandfather whose life had been taken by cancer. This event pushed Gertrude even further towards a path in science so that she could eradicate the tragic health issues that affect so many innocent people, including her own family. By the age of 19, Gertrude impressively graduated summa cum laude in chemistry, her motivation no dimmer than it had been before. While continuing her education, she also worked as a part-time lab assistant and substitute teacher. Alongside of a honorary Ph.D. from the Polytechnic University of New York, Dr. Elion also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University.

With an excellent educational background Gertrude started working for Burroughs-Welcome in 1944, with Dr. George H. Hitchings. Unlike many scientists at that time, she used a unique approach, studying diseased cells to create medicine. To block viral infections they designed drugs by examening the biochemical difference between cells. This new perspective provided much success, allowing Dr. Elion to create drugs treat issues such as leukemia, AIDS, herpes and transplant rejection. Throughout her carreer she created 45 medical patents and gained so much respect and praise in the scientific community.  Dr. Elion’s contributions got her 23 honorary awards, a Nobel Prize in Medicine and she was even recognized as an adviser for the World Health Organization.  Gertrude Elion’s perseverance and pharmaceutical journey has provided us access to drugs such as Nelarabine (cancer treatement), Azathioprine (first immuno-suppressive), Trimethoprim (meningitis) and many more. Her hard work payed of by saving and improving so many lives over the past few decades and Dr. Elion will surely be remembered for innovation in biochemistry and pharmacology.




A Future In Science

“Field trip!”, two words that get just about anyone excited, including myself.  Just a few moments ago, I got back from the StemCell Technologies lab and I was feeling really inspired. After getting a tour of the location where stems cells are proliferated to be shipped all over the world, I’ve been feeling more excited about a future in science. Since an early age, I’ve been aware that I wanted to grow up to become a scientist, but this recent field trip has got me wondering about different possibilities in the realm of science. So what are the most open employments for modern scientist?

The future is in our hands. "World1" by Shevateganeshd - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
The future is in our hands.
“World1” by Shevateganeshd – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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Pushing The Limits of Our Brains

Imagine being able to predetermine someone’s talents and abilities, giving them artistic capabilities or an aptitude for math before they’re even born! In the past few months I’ve been trying to come up with ways to increase human potential, and really push the limits of our human brain. It all started after watching “Lucy”, a movie about a woman that was given some drugs that transformed her into a being without limits. Although reading minds and telekinesis are incredibly cool powers, I was hoping to simply find a way to boost more typical abilities such as coordination, memory intake or rehabilitation. After some reading, I came across a method involving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

TMS Public Domain
Public Domain

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Summary of January 6th


Day to day, we experience the world around us and as humans (and Future Science Leaders!) we question and try to understand the phenomena that we witness. Sometimes however, we get so caught up in the astonishing aspects that are “out there”, that we forget about those within ourselves. On January 6th, the Future Science Leaders started on the topic of neuroscience, in an effort to comprehend the complex human brain. As we were told, this intriguing unit will be lead by Dr. Moon, a really friendly neuroscientist that has kindly offered to share her knowledge.

MRI of the brain CC BY-SA
MRI of the brain

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Eyewire – Citizen Science Project

For the past few years the human brain has highly intrigued me, and trying to understand how our minds work and function has become one of my deep interests. The answers to so many questions have been locked in our skulls, but as technology develops, we are starting to glimpse into this mysterious organ. Eyewire, being a program that maps neurons, has opened up the opportunity for anyone, worldwide, to contribute in the advancement of the human brain. By doing so, we can speed up the thousand year process of depicting neural and synaptic content of our brains with the help of the international community.


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Stepping Away From Nuclear Energy

As we advance into the future, nuclear physics is being expanded as fields of research and development, but it is essential to understand the effects of nuclear by-products on not only the human civilization but the planet as well.

A few days ago, I was watching one of my favorite T.V. shows, House, a medical drama like no other, when I decided to browse the internet in search of some additional information about MRIs. Somehow, a few hours later, through the stream of nuclear fission applications I found myself highly intrigued by the disastrous Chernobyl meltdown in 1868. After getting sucked into the vast topic of nuclear energy, I thought it’d be useful to expose the dangers of this source multiple communities depend on.

Nuclear Power Plant Public Domain
Nuclear Power Plant
Public Domain

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Our Lives Depend On Bees!

Bees, you think you hate them, but what if I that we wouldn’t be able to live more than 4 years without these critters?

Tears streamed down my face about six years ago as my hand swelled up, the stinger of a honey bee sticking up from the middle of my palm.  Although I was in utter shock and having a crisis, my father, who had witnessed the whole scenario, completely ignored me and calmly turned to the still striped buzzer instead. I felt isolated in my injured state, but it turns out that the poor bee was much closer to death than I was. Through autotomizing, the bee dies due to the fact that when their stingers get stuck in the flesh of what they have stung, they face a deathly process in which their abdomen also gets torn.

Honey Bee Pollinating CC BY-SA
Honey Bee Pollinating

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The Murder of Lovdeep Citrine

It is incredibly easy to get away with something when you put the blame on someone else. Based on his multiple motives that could have driven to murder his own father, Christopher Citrine would seem like the perfect suspect, however the evidence that would lead us to this conclusion is not present . We are accusing Yoyo Champagne (with the assistance of Austin Khaki) for not only murdering Lovdeep Citrine, but for attempting to frame Christopher Citrine as well.

In this case, we insist that Lovedeep’s death did not occur in the plane bathroom, but in his favorite restaurant FSL instead. Lovdeep always eats there for important events in his life, even though it is a place where he is surrounded by hate. The owner of the restaurant, Austin Khaki, resents Lovgood for killing his wife in a drunk driving accident. Having the perfect access to Lovgood’s food, he allowed Yoyo (a business rival of Lovgood) to poison his meal with arsenic and rat poison. We suspect that these two must have some sort of connection since their businesses are right beside each other. Yoyo then dumped the excess arsenic in her bamboos as a way to diminish  the evidence. When Lovdeep was aware of what was happening, he made a distress call at 1:22 and was murdered shortly after, leaving a huge mess in the restaurant’s bathroom which Yoyo cleaned using drain cleaner. Evidence of her finger prints was found o the scene in gloves, and the floor in the bathroom looked smudged as if someone had been cleaning a mess.  In order  to mask the crime, Lovdeep was taken to his plane, where a violent scene was recreated and Christohper’s blood was left to make him a suspect.

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Marijuana Redefined

“Don’t do drugs kids.” A line we’ve all heard a few hundred times from our parents, teachers, and friends (as they sarcastically imitate our parents and teachers). The funny thing is that we never think of the over-prescribed dangerous pharmaceuticals, but instead, the classic recreational drugs that society frowns upon; cocaine, meth, LSD, and among a few others, the heavily misunderstood green, marijuana. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stoner! In fact I’ve never smoked a joint in my life, but I do believe that because of how our society has incriminated pot, the plant cannot be used to its full potential.

Cannabis Leaf No attribution required
Cannabis Leaf No attribution required

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