Sheena’s Vasquez is a current PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at MIT. Her current projects revolve around structurally characterizing proteins involved in the cytosolic iron-sulfur cluster assembly pathway – critical to understanding central biosynthesis processes of life – using X-ray crystallography, cryogenic-electron microscopy, and additional advanced biophysical techniques.
Vanessa Leroy, Portrait of Sheena Vasquez, 2021. Digital Photograph. ©Poetry of Science. All rights reserved.
What is important for people to know?
That I’m human.
That I’m becoming more transparent.
Makes clear what resides in the body.
It is a question
That opens an answer. It is an order
Beneath a microscope, among
The most beautiful things
You can see: Yellow protein crystal.
How it spikes and turns,
Spirals like a curly girl’s hair.
I work in pursuit
Of evidence suggesting X.
The music of data.
The feeling of it. Being
Is 90% Failure. Is Trial.
Is Error. Is
The remarkable 10%.
My life has been
A mirror. A confrontation
With the Unknown.
A growing proof
Of what is Known.
- Danielle Legros Georges
This poem was written after two interviews with Sheena Vasquez, scientist and biology doctoral candidate, MIT.