Dr. Seuss cake

Local baker Crystal Huber of Frosted by CC was granted permission to make this Dr. Seuss cake. (Contributed photo)

Dr. Seuss and his whimsical words and illustrations are beloved staples of childhood. However, those very images are heavily copyrighted.

When a customer asked local baker Crystal Huber of Frosted by CC to make a Dr. Seuss cake, she reached out to Dr. Seuss Enterprise to ask permission to make the cake. She was not surprised when she received an automatic email reply: “no.”

Huber passed on the disappointing news to her client and told herself, “At least I tried.”

However, two days after getting the generic response, Huber received a personal email from an executive assistant at Dr. Seuss Enterprise. She was granted a one-time only permission to make a cake with the copyrighted images and words. The only caveat: Dr. Seuss Enterprise asked that she provide them with an image of the cake once it was complete.

Huber was delighted. However, when she shared the good news with her client, she learned the client no longer wanted the cake. She said, “I was crushed. I had permission to make an amazing cake but no one to make it for. I was determined to use my opportunity … and donate it to someone who deserved it.”

Enter the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, a home away from home for families with children who are receiving medical care in town. Not only do families have a place to live, but they have access to kitchens, playrooms, art rooms, and so many amenities to provide comfort during a challenging time.

Huber decided to make the Dr. Seuss cake and donate it to the Ronald McDonald House. What a gift to the children and families! Huber knows that not everyone can donate a jaw-dropping cake, but she hopes the community can support Ronald McDonald House in other ways, especially during this season of giving.

Keeping the beat

Dr. Thomas Burghardt, emeritus professor of biochemistry at Mayo Clinic, was a recent recipient of a Wolfram 2019 Innovator Award for his work on machine intelligence tools in the study of inheritable heart disease. Although Dr. Burghardt retired after 31 years of research at Mayo Clinic, he continues to actively research as an emeritus staff member.

Burghardt said, “Our heart is a sophisticated and specialized muscle. We are all aware that disrupting the heart’s normal function causes serious disease.” The protein, myosin, helps the muscle convert fuel to work. Unfortunately, in some people, a defect in the instructions for building this protein can cause the heart to not be as efficient and not work as well.

Although his Mayo laboratory closed in August 2018, he said, “I continue working on the inheritable disease problem now using data from the NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).”

NCBI has a worldwide collection of patients who have different problems in making myosin, with lists of the different heart problems that can occur as a result. Burghardt was able to build a computer tool that could intelligently search that database and learn to recognize patterns that may be hard for a person to see. The models this computer tool built can help predict what may result from a protein defect, allowing new insight into the different ways problems with the production of this critical protein can impact patients worldwide.

No scientist works alone, and Dr. Burghardt is most grateful for the encouragement of Kelvin Mischo at Wolfram Research, who “suggested I apply for the Wolfram Innovator Award after a recommendation from Brandon Lovejoy at Mayo’s Research and Technical Innovation Services.” Burghardt and Lovejoy “interact regularly on matters concerning technical computation.”

Colleen Timimi is a Rochester freelance writer. Seen & Heard highlights local people with interesting stories. Send tips to life@postbulletin.com.

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