University of California - San Diego
Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
"What's your favorite animal?"Typical six-year-olds may pick cats or dogs or even snakes, but me? I loved lobsters. I had read from an animal fact book that they are immortal. So typically, I thought that they were magical animals with the power to live forever. My world changed when we had lobster for dinner. I was devastated. Why had the book deceived me?When I first learned about telomerase in my AP Biology class, I freaked out, jumping out of my seat. The ten-year-old mystery had finally been solved. The book wasn't completely wrong: lobsters are "immortal" from the perspective of aging, but they often die from disease or from capture (and being eaten for dinner, apparently). Lobsters are abundant in the enzyme telomerase, which fixes the repetitive DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome, ceasing the inhibition of cell division, thus extending their lifespan. No other class made me this excited to learn. After each lesson, a new layer of complexity was added, and I realized that what we learned in class was only a small fraction of the endless possibilities of knowledge. I used to be intimidated by the unknown, always associating it with a negative connotation. Don't know the Treaty of Westphalia? You didn't read the...
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