This pandemic is a historic use case for nucleic acid vaccines

Quarantine has become so normal in most of our day-to-day lives now that my friends nostalgically remember early 2020 like it was decades ago. In a year defined by repetitive Zoom meetings, isolating remote work, and high demand for barbers, we’ve also seen huge changes to the future of how we are doing biomedical research.

A year where decades happened in Biomedical Research

We saw companies working on repurposing drugs for treating the virus present libraries of potential drug compounds to test against COVID-19, including notable failures like Remdesivir (1) and Hydroxychloroquine (2). We’ve seen multi-millionaire investors and CEOs outside of the life sciences set up emergency grant…

(PC: IStock)

Life science degrees are like CS degrees in the '70s

One of the most common existential crises of incoming life sciences students can be summed up in one big question:

Is this degree useless if I don’t get into medical school?

Now if you have a genuine passion for working with patients and practicing medicine- go for it! COVID-19 has shown that the people we glorify in our time won’t just be our war heroes, but also should be the heroes who work in our medical front lines. Your GPA and application need to be competitive: keep yourself healthy, crush it.

If you want to pursue your curiosity for research…

I entered university like someone who just held hands with their crush for the first time- naively thrilled and extremely nervous. I knew I had a chance to explore new hobbies and dive deeper into my interest in biotech while venturing outside of my social comfort zone set from high school.

Before I continue I want to get a couple of things clear:

  • Here I define ambition as wanting to graduate having accomplished the goal.
  • The goal = Being ahead of the game at whatever you are passionate about OR AT LEAST having a better idea of what you are…

Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash

Being fragile as a person is a bad thing, and pure resiliency is overrated

I’ve been thinking about this question that I keep getting asked during interviews for jobs and opportunities:

What do you believe in that almost everyone else disagrees with?

Up until last year, I didn’t have a confidently contrarian belief to answer this question, yet I should have. My answer was something I lived through for the last 5 years. It all comes from how we look at the idea of fragile.


Let your future self act as the scaffold for your self-improvement

There are about 10⁸² atoms in the deep blackness of our universe. But even that pales in comparison to the number of times I along with every other kid in school has been asked:

“When you grow up what do you want to do?”

Even though I’ve been asked this question exactly 10⁸³ times in the last 18 years I’ve been alive, I still don’t really understand it. …

PC: Mitchell Ng Liang an

Buddhism on how suffering stems from our own desires

Let’s imagine for a full 24 hours that you had to keep track of every single thing you wanted for a whole day. From the moment you clumsily smack your phone’s morning alarm to when you’re brushing your teeth before bed.

Throughout the day you’ll probably find yourself wanting little things. You might be hoping that your train to work won’t be delayed in the morning rush-hour and make you consider buying a car, you might be craving salmon sushi rolls for lunch, or be thinking about a future job promotion.

By the end of the day you would lose…

“Blu” Mural in Berlin (PC: Pascal Poggi)

Lessons from Epicurus on our pleasures, friends, and wants

Nobody wakes up thinking “Wow today sucks and I want it to suck more! I can’t wait to have a huge fight with my girlfriend, get laid off from my job, and lose all my money in a housing crash today.”

Almost all of us live our lives with the goal of living a good life. What “good” means in terms of the best way to live your life will differ between who you ask, but most of us have a vague idea of the fact that we should define our own happiness.

Lessons from Plato on thought processes and reasoning

Name me a smart person who did something revolutionary in the last 10–20 years.

To this question a few people may come to your head: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the list goes on. These people serve as an all-star example of what can happen when solid reasoning and rational thought is combined with the ability to be decisive.

We labeled these people as “smart” and assumed that we have a solid definition for the word. However, we label people as smart for all kinds of different reasons and contexts. …

Lessons from Socratic Questioning, and how to apply it to your day-to-day

If any point in history is like a kid who doesn’t stop asking their dad questions to the point their dad either gets angry or tells the kid to ask their mom, it’d be the story of Socrates and the people of ancient Athens.

In the bustling Agra public zone, Socrates would be finding passers-by and bombarding them with his questions, utilizing them as instruments to probe people’s thought processes. He asked all kinds of people these probing questions: everyone from your average merchants to the most famous Athenian statesmen!

I want to cover Socrates and his questioning because it…

PC: Karl Bauer

An introduction to Amor Fati, with a hint of Apatheia

It’s probably easy for you to look back and remember a time where you got angry at something that seemed objectively crappy, something just plain crappy. Think for just a minute and you can probably remember that thing:

You got laid off from your dream job, you got rejected from your dream school, the girl you liked and thought you vibed with turned you down when you asked her out, the list goes on…

At first, it makes sense to look at these things as just agonizing things that bring pain. Would you ever want to live in a world…

Michael Trịnh

Undergraduate builder & researcher @UofT in the crossroads of computer science, immunology, and genetic engineering.

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