Attend a Guest Lecture:
As I get more involved in the community of researchers at Notre Dame, I have attended lectures and other presentations. Getting the chance to hear about other research projects at the University keeps everything in perspective for me; everyone has their own goals as undergrads and even after, but we are all worker for a higher purpose. In the case of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, the higher cause is a cure for NPC-1 and other diseases that are not suffiecently researched or funded.
Lectures included Notre Dame Chemistry Professor Olaf Wiest and other NPC experts from around the country.
The friday symposium of Notre Dame's Science Week introduced me to several teaching professors research involving NPC-1. This disease is especially focused upon in the Notre Dame community because of funding from legendary football coach Ara Parseghian; three of his four grandchildren had and died from this incredibly rare disease. At these small talks I saw several different biologists present how they were targeting the disease. Although most of speakers focused upon the chemical aspect of building target drugs, the biology built a strong foundation for their research. This slide describes how a lysosome discharges excess cholesterol on the left and shows the NPC-1 protein on the right:
When I saw how important the biological foundation was to these professors' research, I realized that being a biologist means more than memorizing unobservable pathways. The understandings that biologists theorize and write about make drug designing and clinical diagnoses possible. Now I can appreciate everything biologists do and how so many different people can build off their work.