Brainstorming and mind maps are ways of collecting ideas and sorting them in a logical way to serve a purpose. The purpose could be writing a project or grant proposal, or even a research paper.

The point behind this is to put your thoughts on a paper instead of crowding them in your head where they could get lost or even change.

“Thinking on a paper” is a technique that I find very useful in making sense of what I know and planning the way forward. Here’s an example from my doctoral research:

I know that

  • Cigarette smoke induces the activity of transcription factor Nrf2
  • Nrf2 increases the activity of transcription factor Ahr.
  • Nrf2 also increases the expression of microRNA-125b
  • MicroRNA-125b blocks the repressor of Ahr, activating Ahr
  • But cigarette smoke reduces microRNA-125b

What I don’t know is

  • Why cigarette smoke reduces microRNA-125b expression
  • What impact that has on Ahr activity and Ahrr expression

What I need to do is

  • Figure out the possible regulators of microRNA-125b expression
  • Manipulate microRNA-125b expression to determine the impact on Ahr activity

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