What do baking and science have in common?

Meet the team
To neuroscientist Subha Nasir Ahmad, the similarities have always been clear.

In the Clinical Research Group under Professor David Celermajer, Subha enjoys the methodological approach of science – conducting a study, asking questions and then working to discover the answer. “Baking can be like that as well. It requires a bit of methodology and experimentation to get your bread or cake to rise perfectly, or find the perfect flavour balance.”

Subha’s most unique cake is inspired by the results of the Brainbow neuroimaging technique, which uses fluorescent proteins to illuminate individual neurons in the brain. This image from her early days as a neuroscience student has always stayed with Subha.

Left: Close-up of Subha's cake. Right: Results of Brainbow by maiabee, licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Science is so much more than just test tubes and Bunsen burners. It can be beautiful too.”

At the HRI, Subha is investigating the link between blood vessel width in the retinas of people with congenital narrowing of the aorta, and the prevalence of high blood pressure. Inspired, she is currently designing another science-themed cake, this time based on the layers of the retina.

In the meantime, she is willing to share one of her secrets for a perfect product each time. “A scale is your best friend! Numbers and ratios are incredibly important when baking – to get those right, you need a scale.”

Cake images supplied by Subha Nasir Ahmad.

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