Triumphant hearts, triumphant people

One of my true heroes in life is a man named Jason Becker. In my opinion, he is the greatest guitarist to have yet lived. He has lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for over two decades now, being unable to speak or move on his own. Yet, through sheer will, ingenuity, and the undying spirit of true humanity, Jason Becker has continued to compose music. His latest album, Triumphant Hearts, was recently released and it is beautiful. To give you but a sample, I share below the official video of “Hold On To Love”, the second track on the album in which a portion of the lyrics sung address Becker’s biomedical condition:

You ask me this question
Due to my unfortunate fate:
How can you carry on
Without feeling hate?
Love brings light to the darkness inside.
Love’s the voice that sings: Hold on!



Students, Fall 2018

101 Students Taught!

110. G. V. You continue again your quiet domination of my classes and their material. I can only hope that you confidence grows even further and that you come to feel that you really get this stuff.

111. J. Y.. Last in lab on the last lab period, there’s something special about those that stay behind to the bitterest of ends. Thank you for seeing our class through.

112. L. E. You are generally in early, generally chipper while in, generally cognizant of your surroundings, generally able to do what is asked of you, and generally able to do much more than that. You are generally the sort that I think of when I think of a good engineer and I am hopeful to see what good you can engineer.

113. A. T. I have written on the subject of Alice Tracey as part of a letter recommending her for something. In said letter I said that Alice “is smart, engaging, multi-faceted, talented in a number of areas, creative in a number more. The long and short of it is […] I think you should give her application serious consideration as she will no doubt benefit from your program and make proud all of those around her.” I continue to stand by those words.

114. K. Y. You have the distinction, such as it is, to be my first “3peat” student as you will be taking BIOMEDE 458 next semester. Moreover, you have the even more distinct distinction of being the first “3-and-a-half-peat” since you helped with ENGR 100 my very first semester. In fact, as it stands, you have seen the inside of my classrooms more than anyone but myself. And I hope you get what I’m after up here. And benefit thereby.

115. M. K. Going back to the very first day of a class I had you in (nearly a year ago now), you introduced yourself by saying your spirit animal was a fox. Over time, I’ve found that fitting as you are as quiet, clever, and cunning as such a spirit animal. May you use that cunning upon encountering any troubles in life.

116. R. A. What’s unfortunate is that with your having taken my circuits class, this laboratory class, and our upcoming instrumentation class is that you will have the makings of a damn fine biomedical engineer. And then you have to go an become some sort of medical doctor. I wish you very best in this and every endeavor.

117. E. B. If ever I were looking for a man to commiserate over the latest Lions game, hand cut sheet metal with a hacksaw, and conduct scientific experiments competently, I’d be looking for you. On behalf of the class allow me to say, we’re glad we found you.

119. K. C. I hope you and T., number 120, enjoyed the impromptu fieldtrip to the metal-shears in one of the half dozen machine shops we have sprinkled across campus. One should always get a little extra out of a lab class than a regular class, and if it was but that, I hope it was enough. And more!

120. T. E. I’ve seen you work hard, work through, work on and on and on. I’ve seen you shear metal and break bone. I’ve seen you on time, late, and early. All this to say, I’ve seen you in a number of ways, and in each of them I’ve been happy to see you. May this not be the last of it.

121. K. G. I’ve never seen someone’s eyes grow so large when talking about fixing things around their house as I did when your team was on the subject. The unabashed excitement elicited from you when thinking about fixing something is just the sort of thing we want out of engineers. May you stay excited.

122. T. H. I always wonder what you’re listening to before and after class, but as a man who listens to some rather odd stuff, I can respect your privacy on the matter. I hope it has helped put you in the mood to learn from this class and that you have learned well. Bump the jams a little louder today, for today we celebrate the end.

123. R. H. As a gymnast, perhaps you came in here with an intuition as to how the how body works, operates, moves. In this class where you have built circuitry to measure muscle activity, subjected biological and non-biological material to various stress and strain conditions, and conducted experiments investigating both and more. May your education continue to augment your intuition so that your judgement is keen.

124. R. K. You have gotten to experience a more unique laboratory/research environment than most as you’ve gotten to do two in parallel: one academic with Dr. J. A. M. and one “truly academic” here with us. Having seen at least two different ways of doing it should help to expose you to the near endless variety ways research is conducted in this world. And I hope it helped.

128. E. E. Whether you all know it or not as students, you each play a crucial role in this and each class. In this case, you are one of my bellwethers: keeping up with the content in class well and furrowing that brow noticeably when I’ve said something demonstrably confusing. This can be invaluable at times. At other times, Elaina, you are merely valuable.

129. D. H. I’ve seen an order of magnitude increase in the number of people who where fanny packs since you first entered my life and I don’t chalk that up to coincidence. May you, through your effort and perhaps mere presence, continue to make the world shine brighter. And pack more efficiently.

131. B. R. Rare are the individuals who can arrive each day to a room chipper. I do not mean to suggest that you yourself were always happy to be here (though I hope you were), but rather to say that the room shined a little brighter from your corner of it do in part your continued positive attitude on the subject and towards the people. May you continue on.

132. C. Y. Though mild, I’ve never thought you meek. You have demonstrated competence and confidence of your knowledge in multitude of laboratory environments. And you have demonstrated something in particular in never having to have yelled across the lab for something. May that continue to be true of each lab you enter onward.

136. E. S. As one of the few who knew what exactly was coming at you in the form of today’s speech I can only respect you further for having shown up. You and others will find this to continually be true in life: the world is to them who show up. Glad to have you a part of it.

211. S. P. There’s something every instructor appreciates about the first person who signs up for a course. It’s the first time it’s really “real” and it’s the first time there’s a “class” of which to speak. And from your performance in this course, I feel comfortable ranking as a kind of “first”. April 11, 2018, two-forty-three days ago, you started this class. I hope you learned something in the interim.

212. A. R. Much of the way I teach – a way I think can be pretty gosh darn effective – relies on at least one person popping up a hand and adding something to what I’ve just said. You have on more than one occasion served such a role. You have done more in this class, but you have also done that. And for that, I thank you.

213. J. F. K.. There’s an unspoken appreciation of “front row students” and their instructors. You have, for most of the semester at least, always chosen to sit somewhere near the front. In most thing in life, front row seats are what you want. I contend the same is true of a good class. I hope you have gotten something worthwhile out of this class’s front row.

214. P. B. S. You’ve provided great answers in concise ways and seem like a pretty upstanding fellow. Keep doing what’s working for you in life.

215. A. J. W. Your recent delineation modern healthcare systems was likely among the best “unscripted” explanations of such a topic as I’ve ever heard. Keep learning to teach the rest of us something.

216. E. L. C. When posed with a problem consider, “what does a just and equitable distribution of health look like?” you responded with concisely by twisting the twin threads of the Fourteenth Amendment (due process, equal protection) into one tidy statement: “No matter your socioeconomic class, you get the healthcare that you need.” If we find something within ourselves resonating with such a statement, it is because you have likely tapped into something real.

217. W. P. Not too long ago you went on something of a tear in regards to our discussion on parental chosen puberty suppression for pre-adolescent gender dysphoria, demonstrating the misused stats of our colleagues, making us recall all the times we disagreed with our parents, and looking sensibly at some of the necessary realities of the procedure. It demonstrated competent synthesis and analysis, pretty much the highest form of the stuff we aspire to (well, along with design). And if you’re already near such heights this early, I look forward to how much more you can do.

218. H. H. K. I am glad that you were able to get your purple folder back after having left it behind. I hope that we can say that it is still with us. May you and your purple folder be with for many days, years, eons to come.

219. L. A. L.. Often a better measure of “learning” is not comparison against some objective standard, but how well one improves upon one’s self. As I consider your section from your group’s as one of the most noticeably improved (in subtle, but substantive ways), I am led to believe that this class has honed some subset of your skills. May you continue honing on your own(ing).

220. M. D. A many of many words here and elsewhere, you contribute substantial to every conversation of which you are a part. May your discussions be ever more interesting.

221. R. K. You’re a bellwether of sorts for me in this class. You sit up front, you pay attention, you keep up with the class, and I know that I’ve truly made a rather confusing blunder when I get you to furrow your brow. Thankfully, I can report that such furrowings were few and far between. Still, I thank you for your consistent (and nonverbal( participation in this class.

222. S. G. C. D.. Though you did not say much aloud in class, in your homework assignments your thoughts really came across. I share one here with the class, slightly shortened for brevity: “People are characterized by their thoughts, actions, and impact on people. […] These may not be the factors that can pick an individual out of a crowd, but they are the factors that can unambiguously distinguish one random person from someone you know.” Having heard your thoughts, seen your actions, and felt your impact, I feel I have gotten some sense of distinguishing you from one random person. And that’s a pretty good view of character.

223. M. E. L. Though this may seem small, your group was among a shockingly small subset of those in this class to correctly perform a cost-benefit analysis. Though this may seem small, knowing how to properly count up your costs and your benefits can be very useful. Though this may seem small, you know it. And for that, I am glad.

224. S. C. I think yours was among the first names I learned in this class. Though I am sad to say I cannot recall when/how I first learned it – the true pinpointing of details are lost to history – I am glad to count it among those I have learned. You, the man, make the name worth knowing.

225. E. D. If one is best gotten known sitting on the floors in the halls of HH DOW on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, then I can say I’ve gotten to know you pretty well. As I suspect there are better ways of doing that, I unfortunately haven’t gotten to know you well enough. My loss whose only rectification can be found in your continued education in this fine institution. Hope to see you in the future.

226. E. S. One of the things we as instructors look for when assessing how well you all are learning (i.e., how well we are doing our jobs) is to look for references to in-class learning. Thus, you can understand, why in your third homework my heart might be warmed in reading “In class, one comment in particular stuck out.” I imagine such a phrase is true of many here and I am glad you have given voice to it. May you give voice to many more truths.

227. S. A. B. Perhaps it’s just my bias, but your explanations of adenocarcinoma for your first and second oral presentations are essentially my go to reference on the matter now. You clearly and concisely can compact complicated physiology into a neat and tidy summary of well narrated images. As this is essentially my profession up here, I appreciate those capable in the craft. May you learn and explain much more.

228. M. M. B. On the subject of EpiPens you noted that the current price is quote “just ridiculous.” Indeed, that might be all that it is. It is not fair or just or based in market forces or any other sensible reason. Sometimes the problems that face us are just ridiculous. I am glad to see you are able to identify them as such. Now, please get good at solving them. We could really use your help.

229. A. L. H. You have contributed substantially to our in-class discussions, often playing the backfield with Anish. This class would be nothing without people talking about what they know. I thank you for sharing all you have.

230. C. N. K. I’ve got you initially as saying “I believe that modifying an organisms immune system is []morally wrong and could lead to major issues in the future.” Presumably this is before you learned of CRISPR/Cas9 in the detail to which we looked at the topic here. Whether your opinion has changed or stayed the same, I hope at the very least it has been improved by your time as part of this class.

231. V. O. When invoking that most cherished of American phrases “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to explain your support for a “right to healthcare” you pithily put the situation thus: “Your health is kind of necessary to all of those things.” Truer words never spoken.

232. G. R. D. A. Alphabetically first among your peers, intellectually capable of laying claim to much the same. You were the among the first to correct the record on follicle stimulating hormones in men and had the last say in your team’s presentation. Know that if you find yourself at the front of any line, whether it’s through chance or effort, you probably got there for a reason. May you continue to cultivate yours.

233. B. M. C. Upon consideration of one of my “four problems to consider” “Are people owed a right to healthcare?” you said something of accidentally poetic: “We said yes to some degree. We said yes to life and death.” Indeed, those two things will be affirmed by every member of this class at some point in time. Somewhere in the between let us, as you say, “say yes to some degree.”

234. J. C. H. It can be a tricky business balancing the amount of detail you need to explain something to any given audience. It can be especially tricky when trying to explain a technique you may have just learned to people who may be semi-experiments. In your description of ELISA and your intended biomarkers for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, you struck this balance well. May you continue to explain even the trickiest of businesses.

235. R. L. Though by hobby and semi-by-profession I love to tease out each of the threads involved in complex bioethical situations. However, I appreciate when someone like you comes along and approaches dilemmas in a more “Alexander the Great” style. When shown a Gordion knot of genetic editing, you draw your sword of swift reason and say this passes muster, this doesn’t, where’s the argument. Clear demarcations make for great discussions. Thank you for making ours ever greater.

236. T. P. I have appreciated your contributions to this class, the bioethics discussions, and my own IT needs. My fan is still making noise and will unfortunately will have to be repaired over the winter break. If only I had heeded your counsel earlier. May we all learn from that.

237. Z. M. By my observation and by your intimation you seem to have gotten something out of the human side of this whole class, coming alive more to human machinations than to cellular mechanics. May you keep your humanity about you as you continue on in your academic career.

238. M. A. R. In your first oral presentation you gave an overview of your team’s proposed diagnostic method and placed special emphasis on the economic considerations as you were targeting use in the third world. Your presentation was clear and your thought logical. May you keep keepings things clear and logical.

239. R. L. S. You have at times shown us the lassez-faire, let’s-try-and-see-if-it-works approach so crucial to much of the most important work that ever gets done. May you temper that with reason and judgment.

240. S. C. Your recent presentation on measuring arterial blood oxygen concentration via a Clark electrode was among the best presentations of emergency medicine clinical instrumentation I’ve ever sat through. And I’ve sat through more than my fair share. May you continue to impress every audience you’re before.

241. C. E. K. Not to make a big deal of it, but you sat approximately front and approximately center for most of this class and people don’t generally do that if they’re not interested in what’s in front and center of them. It’s an unspoken compliment to those in my profession. But allow me here a spoken bit of gratitude for it: thanks for showing up and paying attention to what I was trying to do up here.

242. C. A. M. I have you on record as saying, “It is clear that with the absence of many laws now restricting the use of [biological] information, doctors would misuse and mistreat patients”. Indeed, it is clear. What is not is what the future brings. I hope you are able to main such clearheadedness whatever comes your way.

243. J. S. I can’t say as though I know enough about you to speak of you to any great degree. And that’s a shame. I know that everyone who walks through these doors after walking around those halls is someone worth getting to know. Happenstance brought us together, circumstance kept us apart. May we know more of each other.

244. W. W. C. As J., R., and/or R. can likely attest, living up to the “family name” can be tough and having earned mad respect for your brother in the early morning research clinics, you had, in a sense, a lot to live up to. But of just about every assessment of you I have, you have done well. Good on you.

245. P. F. You introduced precise, yet highly nuanced opinions to the roundtable ethics discussion we had earlier in the year. It was the first time I got to hear your excellent opinions. May it not be the last.

246. L. P. You might be surprised how far a solid understanding of sepsis can get you in this world. As it is among the leading things causing emergent medicine and as emergency medicine accounts for about 300 billion dollars in the United States these days, knowing something about its fundamental operation opens a few important doors (especially in the healthcare industry). From your final oral report, you’ve got such an understanding down to about a two-minute pitch. That’s something valuable as is. May you contain to grow its worth.

247. D. N. W. The only one to come to our day-before-Thanksgiving class session. If but for that you will have left an indelible impression on me and the other co-instructors. But may you treat that session as a further lesson: sometimes it pays to show up.

248. J. A. N. Sometimes someone clearly delineates something so sensible you wonder why you never heard it that way before. I quote: “there should be limits on how [biological] material can be obtained and [] who can obtain it. After all, you want to be sure that this biological information isn’t only obtained ethically, but is being used for ethical research and not abused [or] lead[] to [] regression or harm to society.” Preach, brother, preach.

249. A. B. You may not recall, but you were the first person, aside from we instructors, to introduce yourself to the class, describing yourself as “from Pittsburgh” and having recently gone skydiving. You’ve come far and fell just that bit faster to get to our class. Front row. And that speaks to a certain kind of character I like to see in a person. May the world see more of it.

250. S. S. 702 represent. I’m glad to have a fellow Nevadan in the room and your sheer domination of most assignments I’ve given you shows that the leaders and best are to be found just about anywhere, even the Clark County School District.

251. M. N. P. Your team’s approach to sequencing the epigenome of sepsis is both inspired and in line with current thinking in the field. As you were the one who presented how your team’s test would work in both presentations, I assume you probably had something to do with it. May you continue to be inspired by and in line with your preferred field of interest.

252. M. A. B. I’ve seen you with a tiny skateboard, heard you explain how to separate chromosome seven from the others, asked your opinion on more than one topic in this class. You’ve proven multifaceted and that’s one of those attributes that makes diamonds shine. Keep shining, opining, explaining, and shredding on your tiny skateboard.

253. M. E. D. B. While you had a last minute question on the subject, your explanation of CAPP seq was as competent as I’ve ever seen. I hope you take some solace in knowing that you know it now better than most people than have ever lived. A minor expert, but still an achievement.

254. B. M. K. You have often demonstrated clear and exact thinking in this class, something I feel is valuable to our profession. To reference but one, I think your team’s flowchart on the administration of your hybrid procalcitonin and brain natriuretic peptide test to determine heart and respiratory failure in dyspneic patients, was just the bee’s knees. Real cat’s pajama’s stuff. It was how these things ought to be done. And since you presented it I figured you had something to do with it. If you did, congrats on the great work. If you didn’t, congrats on getting associated with great work.

255. B. B. A. S. You are one of those unfortunate first-year engineers caught in a class whose primary focus is not your intended concentration. Sorry about that. Them’s, we’re told, the breaks. Still, I hope you have gotten something out of this class, I know we have gotten something from you having been part of it. And that’s something.

256. Z. S. True North’s introductions to its novel combined-method liquid biopsy diagnostic test for prostate cancer were clear and generally to the point. As the presenter of said introductions, I suspect you had something to do with it. May you not stop at introductions in the future.

257. D. H. I’ve never heard you say a statement that didn’t sound as if you had reasoned through it in your head prior to its saying. That is, you seem like a man of chosen words, a distinction between those of many and of few. What I have heard from you, I suspect you wanted me to. That’s a discipline I respect. May you continue to choose your words wisely.

258. V. R. V. I am sorry to hear of the misfortunes which have befell you. It was Nietzsche who first gave rise to the (now cliched) notion that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Of course, he died an invalid under his sister’s care after breaking down at the sight of a horse beating, still he’s had a wise word or two on the subject. I hope that whatever it is you faced this semester – this class included – that having gone through it, you are the stronger, the better, for it.

259. P. S. R. Not that I have much to compare it to, but your explanation of colormetric measuring of HBA1C concentration via fructosyl peptide oxidase and antibody binding was among the clearest that I have heard. Being able to distill complexity is a skill worth having, regardless of the field. If biomedical engineering is to retain your services, we’d be the luckier for it.

260. F. L. M. C. Coming all the way from the other side of the country, I hope I speak for the class when I say we have genuinely enjoyed your input on a great deal of topics. I hope I have added to your Supreme Court case repertoire and helped humanize some parts of some subjects for you.

261. Y. L. We started this semester with you hardly able to say the word “adrenoleukodystrophy” and we ended with you giving a competent introduction on the subject and your team’s proposed design in relation there to. I mark that as progress of a sort. I hope you do too.

262. M. O. A. A late great addition to our class, adding generally well asked questions on a cornucopia of topics. The only thing better than a fount of knowledge is a fount of curiosity. May that curiosity continue to flow from you.

263. N. D. A. I have to say, I don’t know if I could pick you out of this crowd. And that’s sad way to go out on the class, but sometimes students and professors don’t get to know one another (especially if one’s on-boarding is during that semi-chaotic time at the beginning of the semester). All the same, I hope you feel that in this class there was at least one, I count them, two, three, four instructors that truly and genuinely want to see you succeed in every way in which you are capable and that is true even if we can’t “pick you out of a crowd.” In this crowd, it’s okay not to stand out. This is the University of Michigan, we do things well as a team here. And you were part of that team. And that is something.

264. T. P. At times the smile I’ve seen crack across your countenance while splattered in chicken parts has been downright childlike. If you can keep that curiosity and energy about you, you can conduct some really great science and that can regress you still further, having you drool like a baby over the latest results.

265. A. A. There are many types of modern day eurekas, but a few of yours have been among my favorite to witness this semester. The “huhs” of your “huh, so that’s how that work” were especially deep and guttural. It’s the thwack of evidence meeting the inertia of your thought. I hope you have gotten as much out of such moments as I have.

266. N. B. In this class you have not ruffled many feathers, called any large amount of attention your direction, or insisted everything be done your way. In a sense, one need not be recognized to be recognized. Being a good team member and doing what is expected of you can often go unnoticed. But at least for this moment, we note.

267. A. W. L. Much like your colleague N., you are one of those steady workhorse students/lab members from whom you here no grumbling and to whom you can confidently assign tasks. These are key to success within most biomedical engineering laboratories. May you find success “out there” as you have here.

268. Z. S. Front and center to every class I can recall. That’s a commitment that is existential to a person. It reflects something “of their character”. Discipline, regularity, attention. May you continue to hone what you hone.

269. E. Z. My primary E. (though I suppose I could just as easily tell the same thing to the E. in my next class), you have shown up, done what you’ve been asked, and I never heard you grumble about a thing. For at least these reasons and likely for more, you shall continue to be my primary E.

270. J. C. Along with T., you formed the piano counterpoint to the forte point of J. and B. in your group. As I believe a dynamic range is important for the getting done of a great many things, I believe such a quiet/reserved contribution is significant even if it is not boisterous.

271. L. E. Along with Jack, the last in the lab, the last in the room, the last man standing. And doing those curls long enough to get yours arms around the swole wide world. Determination and patience gets a person far in this world. I suspect you already know this, even if you never said the words aloud.

272. A. S. J. We began this class with Don affirming your ping pong skills. It ends here with me here affirming your laboratory skills. A man of many talents and few boasts, I have seen every team you’ve been on improve. May that continue to be true.

273. T. A. L. In certain folks you can see a certain interest in certain subjects. If you don’t mind my opining, you appear to have really taken to much of what this class is about. For that I’m glad and hope you are too.

274. A. J. M. I’m glad the windy city blew you our direction. From what I’ve heard you’ve been an excellent to every team you’ve joined. May you continue to be excellent.

275. D. M. R. Inside and outside of the classroom you have proven reasonable and personable, qualities we all hope to find in a lab partner. Here’s hoping that in between pizza house networking and animal experiments you find time to be even more reasonable and personable. If possible, try.

276. J. H. S. I hope to have helped you conceptualize your out-of-class research project in terms both comprehensible and comprehensive. From what I’ve heard through the grape vine your PI is happy with your work on this front and I can’t help but to indulge vicariously in the glory. And you’ve much to indirectly be glorious about.

277. J. A. S. You have provided great sideline insight throughout the semester and explained your team’s rationale for your experiment well. May you continue to offer such insight and rationalize so well.

278. J. M. S. You’ve added to our in-class discussions, made sure this class ran administratively half as well as it did by regularly assessing it before class began, and asked me more than one tough question (often in the form of a “this or that” dilemma). May you continue to do much and continue to do more.

279. R. T.  I bestow upon you the Best Dressed Award for consistently coming into lab in your best suits. I like the confidence of a man entering experimental realms gussied. Polish, here as elsewhere, pays.

280. R. V. If I did nothing else in this class but ensure that your pencil was safely returned to you, I can say I have done something worthwhile here. Perhaps not worth the quarter of a million dollars we all collectively paid to make it happen, but still worth a good deal to you and me. I am happy that we got you your pencil back and to have had you in the class in the first place.

281. N. W. As one of the people I know to be primarily responsible for causing me to smell for the first time in my entire life the scent of the bones steeping in blood. It’s among the most metal things I’ve experience all semester. Thank you for that, sorry for the smell. Hope you were able to scrub it off yourself.

282. M. E. W. I’m sorry to say that it took as long as last week for me to finally pin down that you prefer M. to M. I wish I had know that sooner, which is a roundabout way of saying I wish I had gotten to know you sooner, which is a roundabout way of saying we enjoyed having you here in class. May I not be the last to say it.

283. S. D. Sorry we won’t get a chance to extend our research relationship next year. All the same, I hope to have had some positive influence on your character here. May your research be the better for your time here.

284. E. F. You are consistent participant in our laboratory exercises and seem much appreciated by your team mates. May you continue to be consistently appreciated by the teams of which you are a part.

285. A. R. H. Before I knew you, you had broken both of your arms. As I got to know you, you reasoned through your (and many others!) biomedical engineering identity (semi-)crisis. After I’ve known you, after this, you will know how to conduct biomedical engineering experiments with your very own arms. I’m not trying to inflate this class or this subject matter as anything more than it is, but healing the damaged, empowering the knowledgeable, that’s pretty good.

286. G. M. While you weren’t much for the in-class dialogue type, I felt you and I conversed in real and substantive ways in the cracks of this class (a few words by the benchtop, a reasoning through of a situation). And that’s plenty.

287. C. N. There is, of course, a special place in my heart for those people who genuinely enjoy and perhaps overenjoy circuits and their workings. As just such person who has wormed their way to such a special place, I am glad that you and your electrical ilk in this class have helped us all improve our circuits understanding. For at least that, thank you.

288. J. H. Yours is a special case as you are both in this class, in 458 and in a teaching class all at once. That strikes me as a lot of plates to be spinning all at once, but I haven’t seen you drop one. Keep spinning what you have to and making it look easy.

289. C. A. P. I hate to single out your foreign roots as cause for comment, but you have said one of those things that just rings and rings and rings in my head. And that was that “everything in America is awesome” to which I cannot help but feel an assured “you’re goddamned right it is.” Everything in America is awesome and I hope that has included your time in this class and your time in the next. Thank you and stay awesome.

290. R. K. Somewhere in the Memorabilia of Xenophon (~3.12), we hear Socrates insisting that one ought to keep fit the body for the good of the State and for the good of one’s self because: “We regret that we should grow old from neglect before seeing oneself in the fullest bodily state one might attain.” Let us here, as elsewhere, be mind of Socrates and let us not go to our graves without knowing the fullness of our bodies. And that, in your case, now includes, thanks to this class, being able to life 15 whole pounds. Repeatedly.

291. J. S. I suspect I’ll see you in that nook a time or two and hence this is no goodbye. Still, I am happy to have made your acquaintance and look forward to much pleasant small talk as I go to the printer.

292. M. A. You were a late and tenuous addition to this class. Yet, as each of your team members can attest, we were glad to have you. Thank you for joining us.

What you might not otherwise be told today

Of the now 471 confirmed cases of Ebola in the war torn Democratic Republic of Congo, 27 have been children under the age of one. Of those only half a dozen are still alive. Nine were less than one month old. It is thought that children under the age of 14 (fully one-quarter of the infected population) were possibly infected in clinics when being brought in for malaria treatment.

WHO risk assessment

This outbreak of EVD is affecting north-eastern provinces of the country bordering Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. Potential risk factors for transmission of EVD at the national and regional levels include: travel between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighbouring countries; the internal displacement of populations. The country is concurrently experiencing other epidemics (e.g. cholera, vaccine-derived poliomyelitis, malaria), and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri at times limits the implementation of response activities. WHO’s risk assessment for the outbreak is currently very high at the national and regional levels; the global risk level remains low. WHO continues to advice against any restriction of travel to, and trade with, the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on currently available information.

Birth from death: the first baby from a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor

At 5 pounds 10 ounces, a bundle of joy was delivered to her 33-year-old mother in São Paulo, Brazil on December 15, 2017. As our eyes turn toward celebrating this young lady’s birthday, a slew of authors1 have published something unique about this birth: to the world’s knowledge it is the first recorded instance of a human child born from a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor. As the authors note, “The results establish proof-of-concept for treating uterine infertility by transplantation from a deceased donor, opening a path to healthy pregnancy for all women.” For more, please consider glancing below. For now, please join me in wishing the birthday girl many more.

From The Lancet:

  • In September, 2016, a 32-year-old woman with congenital uterine absence (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser [MRKH] syndrome) underwent uterine transplantation in Hospital das Clínicas, University of São Paulo, Brazil, from a donor who died of subarachnoid haemorrhage. The donor was 45 years old and had three previous vaginal deliveries. The recipient had one in-vitro fertilisation cycle 4 months before transplant, which yielded eight cryopreserved blastocysts.
  • The recipient showed satisfactory postoperative recovery and was discharged after 8 days’ observation in hospital. Immunosuppression was induced with prednisolone and thymoglobulin and continued via tacrolimus and mycophenalate mofetil (MMF), until 5 months post-transplantation, at which time azathioprine replaced MMF.
  • Caesarean delivery occurred on Dec 15, 2017, near gestational week 36. The female baby weighed 2550 g at birth, appropriate for gestational age, with Apgar scores of 9 at 1 min, 10 at 5 min, and 10 at 10 min, and along with the mother remains healthy and developing normally 7 months post partum.
  • The uterus was removed in the same surgical procedure as the livebirth and immunosuppressive therapy was suspended.


  1. Dani Ejzenberg, Wellington Andraus, Luana Regina Baratelli Carelli Mendes, Liliana Ducatti, Alice Song, Ryan Tanigawa, Vinicius Rocha-Santos, Rubens Macedo Arantes, José Maria Soares Jr, Paulo Cesar Serafini, Luciana Bertocco de Paiva Haddad, Rossana Pulcinelli Francisco, Luiz Augusto Carneiro D’Albuquerque, Edmund Chada Baracat.

Would you be impressed?

Tomas Kalnoky has proven a poet whose words are never from my mind. As Here’s to Life1 will no doubt ring through my head through much of the upcoming Bioethics Discussion on Suicide, as I sit down to pen my upcoming class-concluding “philosophies”, I am more than half tempted to begin the speeches with Kalnoky’s question beginning the song “Would You Be Impressed?”:

Would you be upset if I told you we were dying
and every cure they gave us was a lie?
O, They mean it when they say we’re dead and doomed
and every single symptom brings us closer to the tomb.
And who will take the credit for our swift, impending fall?
Because it’s not my fault.

It fits, perhaps biasedly, in with my conception of the work confronting those of us along biomedical lines. In the end, we must be a practical lot. Hand in glove with practice is reality and hence, I am of the belief that we need to look squarely at “where we end up” because the reality of the situation is (as ever) “every cure they gave us” will not remove the fact of our pre-ordained personal and total extinction (i.e., “our swift, impending fall”). It helps to look to the horizon to know how much further you have yet to go. Plays called on first and ten are not those called at fourth and inches.

The interested reader/listener is encouraged to check out more of his lyrical/musical brilliance on display with one of the funner music videos I can recall, below.


  1. For example: “Hemingway never seemed to mind / the banalities of a normal life / and I find / it gets harder every time. / So he aimed a shotgun into the blue / placed his faced in between the two / and sighed, / ‘Here’s to life.’ “