This Is Why: Joan Mansfield
- August 18, 2021
I spent my summers on Mt. Desert Island as a child, and I loved (and still do!) hiking the island trails and combing the beaches.
At the end of high school, I worked at MDIBL for five weeks in the summer of 1969. We worked to extract a nerve substance from starfish legs and used it to get echinoderms to release clouds of sperm with which we fertilized sand dollar eggs. Under the microscope, I watched the eggs divide from one cell to two then into a ball of cells which would become an embryo.
It is remarkable that 50 years later, I still remember the excitement of watching the first division of the cell. That five weeks in the MDIBL lab kindled a lifelong interest in how organisms grow – I became a Pediatric Endocrinologist and worked with a research team to understand how the timing of the hormones of puberty altered growth in children.
My husband I have found being a Lab Partner is an easy way to feel good about our participation in supporting MDIBL throughout the year. In my lifetime, I have watched the lab grow from basic buildings equipped with only running water, saltwater tanks, and a good microscope, to a beautiful institution staffed by faculty scientists year-round. The lab creates a vibrant intellectual community on the island where passionate young people have their
first exposure to working in a science lab (as I did) and more advanced students can launch their careers.
Now as I watch my grandchildren investigate the tide pools, I hope that they will grow up to share my love for exploring and understanding the wonders of the living planet — perhaps one day they too will experience MDIBL’s uniqueness.
More From The Blog
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in many residential wells in Maine. At elevated levels, it poses a potentially significant health threat, causing cancer, heart disease, immune dysfunction, and developmental delays in children. MDI Biological Laboratory’s Jane Disney, Ph.D. has been engaging researchers, teachers, and students in Maine and New Hampshire in well water monitoring...Continue Reading
Walking through the MDI Biological Laboratory courtyard on a sultry August afternoon, you couldn’t help but be inspired by the depth and breadth of research from our 2021 student fellows. 45 undergraduate and high school students from institutions across the country, working with mentors at MDIBL and other INBRE institutions around Maine, spent 10 weeks...Continue Reading