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Saint Louis

Back in high school, about a year before I had this huge revelation that I was meant to major in biology instead of in English and communications in college, I had an awesome biology teacher who gave us various fun assignments that were meant to help us figure out major concepts. One such assignment was a brochure in which we had to relate cellular organelles to some sort of organization. Being the, shall we say “eccentric,” person that I am, I decided to relate the cell to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Oompa Loompas were the lysosomes that clean up the factory floors and keep the factory in tip-top shape. The chocolate waterfall was the mitochondria, constantly churning and producing energy. Willy Wonka himself was the nucleus; he knew all of the recipes that made all of the delicious sweet delicacies and all of the information about how to make the factory run. As you can see, I had a little bit of fun with this project.

Since the Cardinals’ win over the LA Dodgers last night in the National League Championship Series, I keep thinking about how Saint Louis resembles a cell as well. As Dr. Sheldon Cooper says in one episode of “The Big Bang Theory” to which I can easily relate since I don’t like football at all, “Football is ubiquitous in Texas.” I’d definitely say that baseball is ubiquitous here in Saint Louis. Busch Stadium is always packed with people for games, tours, and photo opportunities. Even after a loss, you can still hear people in the stands shouting, “Let’s Go, Cardinals!”

So how, do you ask, does this relate to the cellular model? Well, for starters, since I realized that baseball is “ubiquitous” in Saint Louis, I related the word “ubiquitous” with the protein “ubiquitin,” which, by its very name, indicates that it’s present nearly everywhere in the cell. I also thought about ubiquitin’s role in immunology; in immuno class, we recently talked about how ubiquitin protein tags certain cellular proteins for destruction during the process of macrophage activation. Going back to the overall cellular model, then, we could say that the Arch grounds are like the nucleus because, being located right along the Mississippi River, they sort of form the blueprint for what Saint Louis is, was, and will become. Busch Stadium (especially during Red October) would serve as the mitochondria, producing energy that powers the city and all of its inhabitants (figuratively speaking, of course!). Forest Park, the crowned jewel of Saint Louis, would be like the cytoskeleton that binds Saint Louis together by bringing together all Saint Louisans for nice weather, picnics, and trips to The Muny, Zoo, and Science Center.

So here’s to a World Series that will act as a mitochondrial energy source for this great city until the 2014 baseball season begins.


Click here to read about my personal experiences at Game 7 of the 2011 World Series!!

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