Monday, January 28, 2013

A labor of love inspired by the bile acid work of our latest PhD

And another one is out the door in the very near future.  Our PhD mill is churning out new docs at a furious pace.  Even though this one was in an affiliated lab, she was still part of our cake hour culture.  Today was the day she defended her thesis giving her usual public presentation which is followed by a grilling by the PhD committee somewhere behind closed doors. Our friend passed with flying colors and can be called doctor though turning in the final copy and the march at graduation are still before her.
Thesis Defense
It's all about cholestasis - can you say that!
To celebrate her ascension and pending search for a postdoctoral fellowship somewhere one of our colleagues baked her a cake.  In addition, as part of the celebration, she bought or received a cake for those attending the presentation.  If you look at the two cakes, see if you can guess which of the two was baked and which was bought.

Today's congratulatory cakes!
I wonder which is homemade!
This is the labor of love!
If you guessed the brown cake was bought you are very wrong.  It was the labor of love of a colleague to honor the accomplishments of a friend.  There is something unique about it, however. It is in the shape of a hexagon.  Why you may ask? Why we also asked?  We had no real answer so concluded that since our newly minted PhD did work on cholestasis and dealt with a lot of bile acid molecules with phenolic groups, made of atoms arranged in a hexagonal shape, we decided that our baker took that as the inspiration for the interestingly shaped cake.  It's probably a lot of crap but who cares.
That is indeed a hexagon!

Inspired by the molecular structure of bile?
Our bile acid inspired cake was yellow - the color of bile - with a chocolate frosting - the color of, never mind - all made from scratch, wink, wink!  The decoration was plain but it was quite good and we all appreciated the effort.  Fortunately it was not that large because in addition there was a rather good size commercial cake with congratulations and the logo for Brown University inscribed on the top. It was a bit more elaborate shall we say.  Likewise it was a yellow cake with a white commercial frosting probably made from vegetable shortening and powdered sugar.  You know the kind that is somewhat difficult to eat.  Since this cake was at room temperature the frosting was not quite so congealed so all in all it was pretty good.  We were the second stop for this cake and we barely made a dent in it,  however.

A bit more to say than our bile cake!
Regardless, congratulations to the world's newest Doctor of Philosophy!

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