L’HISTOIRE ET LA PHILOSOPHIE DE B FRANK
OK, so I don’t really speak much French. It’s more of a nod to the bilingual constituency of my adopted homeland. And perhaps Camus. De hecho, hablo español.
If life is a balance between the practical and esoteric, then an interest in both science and philosophy is predictable to some degree. Ever since studying HIV during my undergrad (Go Heels!), I became fascinated with understanding molecular mechanisms of evolution. In fact, I was accepted into grad school (Go Fighting Nerds!) with the presumption that I would be a molecular virologist. But then I discovered the power of using embryonic development to study evolution.
The skeletal system seemed fruitful to analyze. Ironically, my first job in science was getting stem cells to make bone in a dish, so after those intervening 5 years, I really came full circle. Some serious Zen stuff there, making me think that I’m on the right path. I figured that any genomic understanding of evolutionary changes to skeletal anatomy would require knowledge of the genes that drive cells to make skeletal tissues in the first place.
So here I am. In Saskatoon. The Paris of the Prairies. My second Big Little Town That Could in a row. On the practical side, I love the idea that my science can help people to live more active and healthy lives–my findings can be applied as therapies for bone fractures, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and many other serious contributors to inactivity in humans today. On the esoteric side, I love the idea that my work can serve as a textbook example of the genomics of trait evolution.