Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tomes for skeletal development and regeneration wizards

I loved Role Playing Games while I was an undergrad. I always chose to be a mage or a wizard (just love being the geek even when I am in a fantasy world, role playing a fantasy character). We had a great party of evil dark-elves; once everybody ended up killing each other because we were fighting over some artifact and had no code of ethics whatsoever (the fight was over when finally one of us decided to explode all of us). The DM (dungeon master) had to find a way to resurrect us, because we were all sooo depressed about losing our beloved characters.

(picture from here)

I do not play RPGs anymore but I am no less of a (proud) geek than before: I still feel like I found a Tome of Magic, a rare book with secret powers, you get the idea, when I find a book on the subject I am working on or researching. I would like to list a couple of such books for those who might end up in the regeneration, skeletal development, or just in general developmental biology field.


1) This book was so much help from the beginning of my work in Ken's lab, till the end while writing my thesis:  Brian K. Hall's tome of Bones and Cartilage. This is a must-read book for anyone who is in a field that is related with bones and cartilages somehow. For me, this book was particularly great to read because Brian Hall gives the evolutionary perspective here and there or sometimes dedicates a whole chapter to evolution of a certain tissue/organ etc... I find it quite hard to stumble upon books that focus on evolution specifically, though nowadays it seems like the number is increasing.

2) Principles of Regenerative Biology: Bruce M. Carlson's tome of regeneration. What a neat book encompassing almost everything you need to get started with regeneration research. You grad students out there, seriously, you have to read this book immediately if you are working on regeneration. Do not skim through, read the whole thing. My favorite is Chapter 15: What Have We Learned and Where Are We Going? In this final chapter, Carlson generously lets us pick his brain and shares his view on regeneration field in a less formal manner than most scientific text (which is a relief!). He says ''Looking back to the level of optimism that prevailed when I was a beginning graduate student, I was seriously concerned that the problem of stimulating human limb regeneration would be solved before I finished my graduate studies!'' Maybe we are still not that close to growing human limbs, but it sure is amazing to work on regeneration, and Carlson's book does leave you with enthusiasm!

3) I know this is an odd one. But I promise it is a really useful book! Until I started my post-doc in Alexa Bely's lab last January, all my life, I had refrained from even skimming through these ''Dummies'' books. I guess, one feels subconsciously not so attracted to the idea of getting a book for ''Dummies''. Even for somebody as humble as myself (ehm), it is hard to acknowledge I am a dummy. But I surely was a bioinformatics dummy, who was eager to learn. I saw this book on the bookshelf at the lab and started reading it. Now, I own several dummies books on different subjects. This one is highly recommended for any biologist doing research! Bioinformatics is what most of us are and will be using very commonly. So, get yourself updated :)

May you have limitless mana pools and lots of luck finding magical tomes!