David Ng is the Director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Lab at the University of British Columbia, and the editor of the Science Creative Quarterly. He’s contributed to magazines like The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Believer, European Journal of Immunology, and Methods in Enzymology, among many others. Also, his dad once beat up Bruce Lee. How cool is that?


David’s self-portrait is a fitting end to this collection, if only because it is so utterly unostentatious.

“Although this anatomically correct picture is a bit of a letdown,” he told me, “it should be noted that from a biological point of view, even an asshole is a wondrous thing. Nevermind it being capable of doing the things that it has to do, day in and day out, for the better part of a century. But how amazing is it that the cells involved are unified with all of your other cells having been derived from that same single zygote at the start of it all?”

Wait, what?

“Other cells such as the ones that form my hands so I can type this,” he continued, “that form my eyes so I can read this, and that form my brain so I can compose this. Yup – all from the same single cell, packaged, incredibly, with the information to guide it all.”

If nothing else, he hopes that his picture “ensures that I’m not the biggest asshole of the bunch.”