Monday, 12 May 2008

The benefits of imagery

The bulk and most significant part of my PhD examines signalling pathways within the cell. Alot of these pathways are complex and intertwined, and the molecules involved often have more than one name, can be a part of more than one pathway and often have more than one purpose. The reason for this post is to reinforce the benefits of imagery to simplify and retain ideas, theories, notions, concepts, whatever, and in my case, signalling pathways. During my readings today, I used Microsoft PowerPoint to construct one complex pathway which I had struggled with for sometime. In the past when I had read about this pathway, I had just read the relationship of the molecules involved, envisioned an image in my head and then put the paper aside. By the following week, I had forgotten what I had read. The PowerPoint image I created today simplified a concept which I had struggled to retain, and put it into an understandable and recallable format. It has been etched into my mind and I believe I would be able to later recall the relationship of these molecules and their appropriate positions in the pathway. The concept of using images or diagrams to remember detail is not new but often overlooked or forgotten. Try it yourself.

PS. The above image is not the signalling pathway i created today but it does resemble the complexities of cellular signalling i have to deal with on a daily basis.


J A G U A R I T O said...

Greetings from Manila, my dear Scientress :-) Thank you for this! All of a sudden, your research has become so much clearer to me! And for the first time, I can see a clear parallel between what you are studying and what I'm studying! - Whereas you are studying signalling pathways and networks between molecules within cellular systems, I am studying signalling pathways and networks between people within social systems... Networks of ideas and of people... only instead of "signalling", I would say "communication". Don't you think there's a parallel? Cool bananas, huh? Anyway, I miss you so much and think of you often! Take care xoxox M.

The Afro Scientress said...

Hi Jaguarito, great analogy! Yes, i agree, there is a parallel. In fact, when scientists say signalling, they actually mean communication. We are studying the way cells communicate with each other and all the complex relationships that have formed or have the potential to form.
I am glad to hear that our work overlaps :)
On the topic of imagery, the idea for this post kind of originated from that diagram you constructed in my lab. Do you remember the diagram you drew by hand to explain networks? I think i was sub-conciously inspired at that point. So, a belated thank you to you :)
Jaguarito, I miss you too and our daily conversations, and i also think of you often :) I hope you are well.