Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Once upon a time there was a cell" (premi El·lipse)

As you may remember in a previous post I copied the text that won the "El·lipse award", organised by the PRBB last year for the first time. Here you can find one of the runner-ups, "Once upon a time there was a cell"

David Mateos, 2nd honourable mention from El·lipse Prize of
Scientific Dissemination, in the category of written work

Once upon a time there was a cell

Once upon a time there was a cell that was torn between two conflicting destinations. Unlike most of the cells who had but just one marked destiny (to turn into a liver cell, a red blood cell or even into one of those cells inside the nose, the ones having a hair growing from them), this cell had many possibilities. It lived in the spinal cord and, depending on how it would decide to divide itself it could turn into a red blood cell, into a platelet or into a cell of the immune system. And even if it didn't want to turn into any specific cellular type, it could continue dividing itself eternally, maintaining its undifferentiated state. This capacity to give raise to so many different cells made it earn the nickname of ‘stem cell’.

But the pluri-potency didn't make our cell happy. It was tired of dividing itself constantly without knowing what cellular type to rise to, but on the other hand, it didn't quite understand the differences amongst the different type of blood cells that potentially existed in it. “The platelets have a great importance in the blood clotting", it recited in memory from something it had read on wikicell when the body it now lived in was just an embryo and all the cells received the necessary training for their future.

But how to choose that destiny in a permanent way, giving up all the other open doors, without ever having been a platelet and without really understanding what that new life meant in its day to day? It often tried to ask some of the platelets nearby, but these were very shy and didn't dare talk to stem cells for which they felt great respect. It also got no answer from the red blood cells, who felt certain envy towards its capacities.

One day, exhausted due to so much indecision, our stem cell decided to donate her body to science, believing that this way her fate would be sealed forever. What was her surprise when seeing that, once outside the body and already in its new home, a very comfortable Petri dish, its possible destinies were even bigger, infinite in fact!

In hands of the researchers, the cell learned that it couldn't just differentiate into all cellular types it could have given raise in the body, but that with the adequate nutrients the scientists provided it with, it could also turn into cell types it would have never even dreamed of… “I could become an eye cell and see incredible landscapes", the cell imagined. "Although being a sperm would also be funny", it smiled to itself. It didn't matter anymore what it would become, it wasn't only pluri-potent now, but all-potent, it could be anything. It would seem that this wide range of options should scare our tiny cell even more but, ironically, its new situation freed it. It knew that, whatever its future was it would be the scientist's decision and that its life had a meaning that went far beyond itself, that it could give life, cure patients. It thought that its name, ‘stem cell’, would never again just only be a nickname that it disliked and made it feel different to the others, but a name pronounced with affection by humans it would help, a name that made it feel special, privileged.

The cell closed its pores and breathed happily.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Mercadillo per Haití en el PRBB (II) en Flickr: ¡Intercambio de fotos!

You can check some more photos of the flea market in the PRBB group of Flickr:

Mercadillo per Haití en el PRBB (II) en Flickr: ¡Intercambio de fotos!

With love from the PRBB...2500€ for Haiti !!

The campaign to collect money for Haiti has been a success. 51 volunteers participated in the campaign, from cake confectioners and breakfast and flea market sellers.

The three-day breakfasts on the terrace, on February 8, 9 and 10, exhibited a large collection of excellent homemade cakes made by residents at the PRBB. The cakes were delicious and many people asked for the recipes - we might paste some here later on!!

The activities on Thursday 11 worked very well, despite the cold. Due to the intense wind the Flea Market was finally set inside the big local on the inner square (instead of at the square, around the trees, which would have been nice... but impossible on that day!). You could buy a great number and diversity of articles for symbolic prices (from 1€ or less you could get great clothes, a washing machine (well, that was for more, but about 15 or 20 at the most, I think - probably the most expensive item in the whole market!), a DVD player, small furniture, lamps, books, jewellery, kitchen utensils , etc.

The free hot chocolate that Soteras (the company that runs the restaurant) provided, together with the croissants and ‘melindros’ (cookies), helped soothe the cold of both sellers and buyers.

A total of € 2520 was collected, which will be donated entirely to the Emergency Fund of Doctors Without Borders.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Solidarity at PRBB: Haiti II

And so the third day of "Solidarity breakfasts" has gone, and we have collected more than 1600 euros!! It has been a great success, with many volunteers bringing cakes and even more people eating them :)

Thanks to everyone who participated, and don't forget we have the 'flea market' tomorrow, which is open to everyone - again, the PRBB residents have been very generous and there are hundreds of objects waiting for a good home.... don't miss it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Receptes pastissos solidaris/Solidarity cakes recipes

Al PRBB sembla que tenim molts afeccionats a la pastisseria. Els esmorzars solidaris han tret a la llum veritables mestres pastissers i tothom demana les receptes.

En aquest blog podreu compartir les vostres receptes. Si a més pots afegir una foto, millor encara.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Solidarity at PRBB: Haiti

A group of PRBB residents is organising a campaign in aid of the earthquake victims in Haiti. A popular breakfast at the terrace, a "flea market" and a popular hot chocolate session are some of the actions that will take place on February 8 and 11. All money collected will be given to Médicins Sans Frontières. I'll send an update and some pics next week!