Science Santa and a Cellular Christmas

Cellular Xmas wreath created by Donna Stolz from images of mammalian cells. The picture won recognition for the University of Pittsburgh biologist in the 2011 Nikon Small World photography contest.
source: https://www.nature.com/news/365-days-images-of-the-year-1.9620

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the lab

Not a creature was stirring, not even a postgrad.

The pipetmen and tip boxes were arranged with care,

In hopes that science elves soon would be there.

The postdocs were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of job offers danced in their heads.

And the PI, at home, took off her many caps

And rested her brains for a well-deserved nap. 

When from the cell culture room there arose such a clatter

The grad student rushed to see what was the matter? 

Away to the culture hood he flew in a flash

Turned off the UV light and raised up the sash.

The neurospheres bobbed merrily in their own private party

Transiently transfected, they proliferated smartly.

The epithelial cells broke free from their tight junctions 

Downregulating e-cadherin and migrating to the function.

The mycoplasma were raising microscopic mayhem

And the opportunistic fungus could barely be stemmed.

But hush! There came silence and the ruckus stalled

For here is Science Santa with presents for all!

Data for the PhD candidate in her fifth year

The replicates have p values <0.005, never fear!

Acceptance without revision from the journal Nature?

The young post-baccalaureate just advanced in stature.  

A tenure-track position, which was his sole goal

Now the senior postdoc won’t be on the dole.

For the PI, her broken budget can finally be mended 

That R01 in the 5th percentile will surely be funded?!

With a wink of an eye and a twitch of his nose

His bounty unloaded, up and away he rose.

Then Science Santa called, as he flew into the New Year

Happy Experimenting to all, and to all Good Cheer!

CELLULAR CHRISTMAS

Donna Stolz (Univ. Pittsburgh) created this festive wreath by assembling images of mammalian cells from more than 25 experiments. 

Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore who wrote the original (and better) poem in 1822: http://www.carols.org.uk/twas_the_night_before_christmas.htm

Suggestions, additions or edits to the bad rhyme? 🙂

#MerryChristmas   #ScienceEveryday  

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88 Responses to Science Santa and a Cellular Christmas


  1. Happy Christmas Rajini Rao season’s greetings from England 🙂

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Lot’s of holiday cheer your way as well, David Dhannoo 🙂


  3. I wish you and your family and all your readers and their families a Merry Christmas Rajini Rao

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Same to you, Suhail Manzoor . Leaving on a short trip to India soon, by the way.

  5. Syed Scorpio says:


    Merry X’mas 2 all 


  6. Now I know what they meant, when they said the “Holiday Spirit comes from deep within” …


    Happy Holidays Rajini


  7. Good on you Rajini Rao, I hope you will have a crackingly good time out here. I am on trips all around this country all the time now and I am sure it’s only a matter of time before our paths cross.

  8. Paul Harper says:


    Happy Christmas Rajini Rao 🙂


  9. This is totally awesome!

  10. Rajini Rao says:


    Paul Harper happy science-y X-mas to you too! 

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Vinod Krishnamoorthy , thank you and season’s greetings to you too! 🙂

  12. Arnav Kalra says:


    Merry christmas 🙂


    Happy experimenting 😀

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    Happy…studying? Arnav Kalra 🙂

  14. Bill Carter says:


    Wonderful poem Rajini Rao! Have a great holiday. Looking forward to a fun new year filed with science shenanigans and many more groansome puns!

  15. Arnav Kalra says:


    Rajini Rao  Haha, only if it could be as fun as it sounds.


    Happy living 😉

  16. Chad Haney says:


    Happy holidays Rajini Rao. Thanks for the fantastic poem. I hope Science Santa visits even though I’m probably on his naughty list.

  17. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks, and wishing you a wonderful holiday with family, friends and…a visit from Science Santa 🙂 Bill Carter and Chad Haney .

  18. Rajini Rao says:


    Shaker Cherukuri merry Christmas to you, hope you have a fun week! 


  19. Rajini Rao  You’ve surpassed yourself with this wonderful post! Have a great christamas and best wishes for the new year!

  20. Rajini Rao says:


    Hudson Ansley , it certainly elicited many groans from the family along with accusations that I must have too much time on my hands 😉


    Happy holidays and a grand new year to you, too! 

  21. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks and same to you, Angelo Varlotta 🙂


  22. Rajini Rao Thank you 🙂


    (do I detect jealousy from the family 😉

  23. Rajini Rao says:


    Thanks and to you too, Ashish T ! Keep those fun posts coming 🙂


  24. Happy x mass happy new yrs friends

  25. Devyani Sen says:


    awesome write up :))


    amazing creativity with the wreath 🙂 


  26. Happy Holidays! Rajini Rao 

  27. Rajini Rao says:


    Thank you, for your wishes 🙂


    Happy holidays to you too! 


  28. Merry Christmas friends

  29. Jim Donegan says:


    I loved the representation of postgrads as ‘creatures’. What would be a similarly appropriate allusion for undergrads? 🙂

  30. Rajini Rao says:


    Jim Donegan , how about Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen? 🙂 Almost forgot…Rudolph, too. 


    I tend to get undergrads who are on the pre-med track. At the end of every summer, I swear that I won’t let one in my lab again 😛

  31. Deeksha Tare says:


    A M A Z I N G poem Rajini Rao ♥


    Pssst Please send the Christmas Santa my way too! 😉

  32. Rajini Rao says:


    I predict that Science Santa will bring you acceptances to grad school, Deeksha Tare 🙂

  33. Deeksha Tare says:


    Awwww! Thanks Rajini Rao ^.^

  34. Rama Drama says:


    The Christmas “spirit” brings out the poet inside the Scientist! Well done Rajini Rao 🙂

  35. Rajini Rao says:


    Rama Drama the doggerel kept writer’s block at bay when faced with a grant application due in a few weeks 🙂


  36. Loved it! 😀 Seasons greeting Rajini Rao!


    (BTW I stole your post, with due credit, for my facebook peeps! Hope that’s ok.)

  37. Rajini Rao says:


    Saket Agarwal , delighted that you enjoyed it. Yes, Facebook is where all our students and postdocs are to be found 🙂


  38. That was excellent, Rajini Rao! Season’s greetings

  39. Rajini Rao says:


    The best of the season to you too, David Ratnasabapathy ! 

  40. Mary T says:


    Excellent Rajini Rao ~ Merry Christmas!

  41. Rajini Rao says:


    Mara Rose , happy holidays and a grand new year up ahead to you too! 

  42. RJ Matlock says:


    LOVE IT,your a poet and you know it Rajini Rao ,merry christmas and have fun and productive new year 2014

  43. Rajini Rao says:


    RJ Matlock have not heard from you in a while! Delighted that you enjoyed this, thank you and all the best to you in the New Year too. 


  44. Happy seasons greetings to you and family Rajini Rao!


    Have a great and safe trip to India.

  45. Rajini Rao says:


    mandar khadilkar , thanks and an excellent new year ahead to you too! Waiting to board at the airport, it’s always good to go home. 


  46. Merry Christmas to everyone in Googleland

  47. Rajini Rao says:


    A fun place to hang out, Deborah L Gabriel . Merry Christmas and a science filled new year to you.

  48. mike hogi says:


    very cool thanx 4 sharing

  49. Ian Netto says:


    Merry Christmas and safe flight.


  50. Funny. This is the only post of your’s that I fully understand!  (Wait a minute, I have now read more than the first two lines and am lost in the technicalities.)  Be that as it may, may Science Santa “Grant” you your wish this season and always.

  51. Marta Rauch says:


    Rajini Rao fun! Thank you 🙂

  52. Tom Lee says:


    Merry Christmas Rajini Rao, have a wonderful holiday!

  53. Rajini Rao says:


    Tom Lee , thanks! Merry Christmas to you too and all the best in the new year! 


  54. Proof of the inextricable relationship between Art and Science.. Most well demonstrated by Nature. Happy Holidays!

  55. Rajini Rao says:


    Rebecca Hinckley , I love the intersection of art and science. Happy holidays to you too! 

  56. Rajini Rao says:


    To you, too Systems Biology . Wishing for much science success in the new year 🙂


  57. Very Nice, deep intelligence require an honest appreciation of mystery – wish you Merry Christmas & New Year


  58. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, you look like Karrena Kapoor…

  59. Rajini Rao says:


    Many thanks for your wishes and compliments, Mario Rolando De la Cerda Lagos 🙂


    Here’s wishing you all the best in 2014! 

  60. Doc Rajani says:


    Wish you a happy new year Rajini Rao

  61. Rajini Rao says:


    Doc Rani , many thanks and same wish to you too! 

  62. Rosy Roy says:


    Hey i am rosey roy i like your wallpaper

  63. Ritik Roasan says:


    Hiii I like ur wallpaper

  64. arif ali says:


    Hi very good and so nice wallpaper


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  66. God Bless You ❤ and i hope God keeps u continually in his mercy https://youtu.be/ue0MAhUzaJA You are a Blessing to everyone who views this picture and reads the comments under it 👍😎 You are a gifted man Rajini Rao

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