Hurray for Science [Repost]

New Prompt: Hope — with a poem

Epitome database

This illustration of Epitome, a database of “structurally inferred antigenic epitopes in proteins, i.e., known antigenic residues and the antibodies that interact with them, including a detailed description of residues involved in the interaction and their sequence/structure environments”, is for me the epitome of specialized science: opaque, brilliant, obscure, necessary, esoteric, and curious. Scientists from all over the world contributed (and still do?) to this epitome.

This is not a criticism or a joke. How I would love to have a Masters in Bioinformatics with Systems Biology, for example, instead of being a good speller and able to do some crosswords in pen, can draw a little, and studied geophysics once, among other random topics that interested me at the time, logic be damned. My life is a failure, as far as specialized science goes.

I know enough to know that I hardly know anything at all. And I know that because I don’t understand this science, or parts of it might be unpleasant or scary, doesn’t mean I can dismiss it. I believe in believing the experts. (Hear that, climate-change deniers?)



Schematic representation of two antibodies interacting with linear and conformational epitopes.

Converted to a poem by me:


Linear epitopes
are short and continuous
like dachshunds.
After denaturation
the linear epitopes may still
be able to
the antibody.
I have hope.


Conformational epitopes
are domains
of proteins
composed of specific regions of
protein chains.
Never alone.
After denaturation
the discontinuous epitope
can no longer
the antibody.
Love conquers all.