Cell Studies Continue at Lillie Library | MBLWHOI Library

Image source: Sedgwick, William T. and E.B Wilson. General Biology. New York, H. Holt and Co., 1886 p.53.

By Jen Walton

Since the physical Library at MBL is closed, the Library staff has been working hard to get Woods Hole scientists the materials that they need to support their research. In addition, there are two graduate students form Arizona State University working in Woods Hole and making use of Library resources in different ways.

Some scientists are interested in making a cyborg cell, hybrid cells with living and artificial parts. Before you can make a cyborg cell, you need to be confident in your definition of a regular cell. Think of some familiar cells: a neuron is a cell that conducts electrical signals in your brain; Escherichia coli is a cell that can make you sick when it’s on your lettuce; a cancer cell is a cell that grows and divides abnormally. If all those different things are cells, what really counts as a cell? Is E. coli more of a cell than a neuron? What are the most important features of a cell if cells look and act so differently from one another? Saying exactly what a cell is is made more difficult by the fact that ideas about the cell and its features have changed throughout history. Those past ideas shape, often invisibly, what scientists think about cells today. In order to get a better idea of what a cell is, we need to look at what cells have been and why.  Read More…

Cell Studies Continue at Lillie Library | MBLWHOI Library