The dreaded question. "So, what's your Ph.D. research about?" You could bore them with an explanation. Or you could dance.
That's the idea behind "Dance Your Ph.D." Over the past 3 years, scientists from around the world have teamed up to create dance videos based on their graduate research.
Check out their dance, which teaches you about Maureen McKeague's work on "Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment." (Long name, but it's a fun and innovative way to explain some chemistry!)
McKeague's Ph.D. dance, based on her research at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, is about a technique called Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX). The target is a small molecule called homocysteine. SELEX uses natural selection to find the small strands of DNA called aptamers (the other dancers) that bind specifically to the target. Watch for the hilarious Taq Polymerase scene in the middle of the dance.
And when you're done watching, you can check out the other entrants and vote for your favourite (we hope it'll be chemistry!) on the sciencemag website. The results will be announced on October 19th.