‘A timeout from your regular life’

first_imgAs a molecular genetics professor, Benny Shilo has spent much of the past three decades in a lab. He heads his own research group at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and has had findings published in Nature, Science, Cell, and other scientific journals. He has been Weizmann’s dean of biochemistry and chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics.Despite those scientific credentials, Shilo traded his lab coat for a camera bag this year, which he is spending at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.Instead of peering through a microscope or reading the results of a genetic screen for the last year, Shilo has been peering through a camera lens, working on a project that uses scientific images and photographs of everyday people to explain concepts in developmental biology to the public.Shilo is pairing the images in a public outreach effort that seeks to better explain what he does. One set of images, for example, shows a protein gradient within the fruit fly embryo, which gives rise to expression of specific genes in distinct domains of the embryo, visualized as different color zones. That image is paired with a photo of people in a museum, gathered around a guide. The scientific image represents a gradually declining concentration of a key signaling molecule. In the museum image, people farther from the guide strain to hear her words, just as the concentration of the chemical is weaker farther from its source.Sheep guided by a Bedouin shepherd. Like the migrating cells, the sheep follow a directional cue in Rehovot, Israel. Rehovot is known as the “City of Science and Culture.” Photo by Benny ShiloThe concentration gradient explains an important concept in developmental biology: how cells get different development signals from the same molecule, causing them to develop into discrete body parts at varying distances from the molecule’s source.Shilo’s work, which includes dozens of images, has already been the subject of a show at Radcliffe and is being considered by some academic publishers as the subject of a book. Shilo is talking with Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology about using his work in science education and outreach. He said it is likely to be shown again when he returns to the Weizmann. He’s also exploring creating a Web page on the project and isconsidering other applications, such as having high school students engage in a similar project as a way to learn key concepts.Shilo first considered coming to Radcliffe two years ago, but said he didn’t want to spend the time writing a major review paper or doing some similar scientific activity. He understood that the fellowship’s gift of time is a rare commodity, so he took a year to think about a project that would use the time creatively and allow him to try new things.“I wanted something different that I could do on my own,” Shilo said. “I wanted to somehow evoke the same response from an audience with scientific pictures as with nonscientific pictures.”The paired images, Shilo said, are intended to make a viewer understand what it’s like to be a cell, by starting with key scientific concepts and then finding analogous circumstances in human life.“Because of my background, I’m coming at it from the scientific side, defining paradigms and thinking of metaphors, and then going out and photographing,” Shilo said.The process can be useful not just to the public, Shilo said, but to scientists as well. Working on the project forced him to narrow his focus to the concepts that are most important.“You have to crystallize a concept to its barest essentials, just the most important facts, in order to find analogies,” Shilo said.On a recent Sunday, Shilo grabbed a camera and headed to the Hi-Rise Bread Co. in Cambridge. He explained what he wanted to the baker and then shot images of the yeast, the starter dough, and the baked bread to help explain how stem cells provide a continuous source of differentiated cells in the body.The year at Radcliffe has been rejuvenating, and in a way has brought him full circle in life, Shilo said. It has returned him to a part of the world important in his own development as a scientist. After getting his doctorate from Hebrew University, he came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a postdoctoral fellowship, during which he undertook early genetic work on cancer genes that serendipitously directed him toward developmental biology.“It’s a timeout from your regular life,” Shilo said of the Radcliffe Fellowship. “I got a chance to express my creativity in a different way.”last_img read more


Update on the latest sports

first_img Associated Press May 15, 2020 MLB-OBIT-BOB WATSONFormer MLB All-Star and executive Bob Watson diesUNDATED (AP) — Two-time All-Star first baseman Bob Watson has died at 74, 24 years after becoming the first black general manager to win a World Series.Watson was an All-Star selection in 1973 and ’75 while with the Astros. He hit over .300 four times, collected at least 100 RBIs twice and has the distinction of scoring the millionth run in major league history.Watson was GM of the Yankees when they knocked off the Braves in the 1996 World Series. He also served in the commissioner’s office. — The CEO of next year’s Tokyo Olympics says the postponed games might not look like what fans are accustomed to. Toshiro Muto says cuts are likely in many areas with the cost of the postponement estimated in Japan at between $2 billion and $6 billion. Muto says one target for saving money was the torch relay. He says “we are looking into every possible area” for cuts.— Bowling Green has dropped baseball as part of a move to ease financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The school says it’s reducing its athletic budget by $2 million. Athletic director Bob Moosbrugger says the school will honor scholarship agreements through graduation and will assist student-athletes who want to transfer. Bowling Green’s move came one day after Akron, another member of the Mid-American Conference, dropped three sports because of fiscal hardship caused by the virus outbreak.COLLEGE FOOTBALL-MARYLAND-TAGOVAILOATerps get Tua’s brotherCOLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Taulia Tagovailoa (tuhng-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) is leaving Alabama and transferring to Maryland. NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it.Commissioner Roger Goodell has issued a memo to all 32 teams stressing that they must be in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction and have implemented the protocols that were developed by league medical officer Dr. Allen Sills and distributed to all clubs on May 6. The memo obtained by The Associated Press added that clubs unable to meet these criteria by Tuesday may reopen their facilities on the earliest date thereafter on which they are able to comply.Facilities have been closed since late March due to the pandemic.Each team was required to submit a plan to the league for reopening its training/practice facility this week.In other NFL news: UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers are confident they will be at full strength if the NBA season ever resumes.76ers coach Brett Brown says stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) are recovering nicely from their injuries. Simmons had missed his eighth straight game and was receiving daily treatment for his nerve issues in his lower back when the season stopped. Embiid was recovering from surgery on his left hand and had just returned after missing five games with a sprained left shoulder at the time of the shutdown.Brown says he’s considered his fate as Sixers coach after a season of expectations to contend for an NBA championship faded to sixth in the Eastern Conference when it stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic.In other NBA news:— Pistons guard Bruce Brown says he had thumb surgery last month and is ready to play if the NBA season resumes. Brown said during a video conference Friday that a ligament was placed back onto his thumb bone. He said he had been dealing with pain in the thumb this season, but it didn’t limit him much. Brown has scored 8.9 points per game this season, more than double his average as a rookie in 2018-19. — The Colts now have seven of their nine 2020 draft picks under contract after signing Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Washington quarterback Jacob Eason and Michigan linebacker Jordan Glasgow to four-year deals. Taylor became the first junior in FBS history to rush for more than 6,000 career yards. Receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and cornerback Julian Blackmon remain unsigned.— The Browns have hired former 49ers executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new vice president of football operations, making him the top assistant to first-year general manager Andrew Berry. Adofo-Mensah will join a new staff in Cleveland after Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam overhauled the front office following a 6-10 season.— Former NFL linebacker James Harrison says Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not offer a bounty for an illegal hit on a member of the Browns. Harrison told former teammate Willie Colon on a podcast that Tomlin handed him an envelope shortly after Harrison was fined in 2010 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massqoui. Harrison declined to specify what was in the envelope but posted on Instagram that Tomlin never offered a bounty on opposing players. Steelers President Art Rooney II said he’s “certain” the exchange between Harrison and Tomlin never happened.NBA-NEWSPistons’ Bruce Brown says he had thumb surgery last month Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNFL-NEWSNFL has plan to reopen training facilities as early as next weekUNDATED (AP) — The NFL continues to take steps toward a return to normalcy since the coronavirus pandemic.center_img NASCAR resumes its schedule Sunday and Wednesday at Darlington, South Carolina, before the circuit holds back-to-back races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR then heads to Bristol, Tennessee, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Martinsville, Virginia, before events at Homestead-Miami and Talladega. Pocono is the first race scheduled north of Virginia and would be followed by the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:— A coalition of players is urging Congress to pass a coronavirus relief bill that would provide critical funding for elementary and secondary education. Among the signers of the letter from the Players Coalition are NFL players Devin McCourty, Kelvin Beachum and Sebastian Joseph-Day. The letter asks the House and the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which would secure internet access for millions of economically disadvantaged students during the pandemic.— WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert tells The Associated Press she is focusing on about a half dozen scenarios for the league to begin play this summer. the league is looking at playing at one site, a few possibly at most instead of at every home arena. She added that there is still no date to start the season.— The Michigan tournament where the LPGA Tour hoped to resume has been canceled. The LPGA says the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will not be played July 15-18. The tour did not offer any other specifics except for Commissioner Mike Whan emphasizing the long-term health of the tour is paramount. This is the only team event on the LPGA schedule. Whan says Dow has extended its title sponsor contract and the LPGA will return to the Great Lakes Bay region next year and beyond. The cancellation means the LPGA now hopes to return July 23-26 with the Marathon LPGA Classic in Ohio. The 5-foot-11 quarterback will need a waiver to be eligible this season. He played five games last season as a freshman, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.Maryland’s Mike Locksley coached Tagovailoa’s brother, Tua, as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.NBA-LAKERS-HOWARDHoward says mother of his 6-year-old son has diedLOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard says the mother of his 6-year-old son died nearly six weeks ago due to an epileptic seizure. Watson’s son, Keith, said his father died from kidney disease.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSNASCAR’s Pocono race up in the airUNDATED (AP) — NASCAR is resuming its schedule with racing at southern tracks, but it remains uncertain when the circuit can venture north.Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he’s told NASCAR officials that his state isn’t ready to make a decision on the reopening of Pocono Raceway, which is scheduled to host races June 27 and 28. The raceway sits in an area that is deemed a red zone by Wolf as the state deals with the coronavirus pandemic. — The professional tennis tours are extending their suspensions caused by the coronavirus pandemic through at least the end of July. The total number of tournaments scrapped by the ATP and WTA since March now tops 40. Both tours say they will make further scheduling announcements in June. The top tours already had been on hold at least until July 13. That was announced on April 1 on the same day that the All England Club said it would be canceling Wimbledon for the first time in 75 years because of the outbreak.— The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s 2020 induction ceremony for Goran Ivanisevic (ee-vah-NEE’-she-vihch) and Conchita Martinez has been canceled. So has the annual men’s grass-court Hall of Fame Open tournament. The induction was scheduled at the Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, for July 18. That is the same day the tournament was supposed to finish. But the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the suspension of all sanctioned tennis competition since March and at least until the end of July. Ivanisevic and Martinez now will be honored alongside any Class of 2021 inductees in July 2021.— The IndyCar race in downtown Toronto has been postponed. The race was scheduled to be held July 12 on a street course at Exhibition Place. IndyCar has yet to begin its season. It is scheduled to race June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway for its opening event.— The Belgian Grand Prix can go ahead on its original August date, but with no fans. Friday’s announcement by local Belgian authorities came two days after the Belgian government allowed outdoor training at sporting facilities to resume under a coach’s supervision starting next week. The Formula One race scheduled for Aug. 28-30 was under threat after Belgium banned all mass events in the country until Aug. 31 because of the pandemic. The track will reopen for professional practice on May 18.— The Russian soccer league will restart on June 21 after a break of more than three months because of the pandemic. The league intends to pack eight rounds of games into just over one month to finish on July 22. All games will be held in empty stadiums. The Russian Cup will also continue with the final on July 25. That means some clubs face up to 11 games to finish the season. Update on the latest sports Although Howard has spent the NBA’s hiatus dealing with the difficult task of explaining Melissa Rios’ death to their son, he is also grateful for the chance to heal from the loss without the daily grind of the NBA schedule.Howard spoke Friday about Rios’ death on a video call from his offseason home in Georgia, where he is staying with his children during the coronavirus pandemic.Howard said he was literally texting Rios to invite her to stay with him in Georgia when he learned she had died.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more