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By Susan Swagler
Your first clue that The Lumbar is a bar like no other is the row of beers on tap. They are situated on what owner Rylie Hightower calls the Spinal Tap, and there are 26 of them – the same as the number of vertebrae in a human spine. Then there’s the giant (16-foot) microscope that’s actually a load-bearing wall. Colorful pop-art posters celebrate female scientists like trailblazing mathematicians Vivienne Malone-Mayes and Ada Lovelace, laser pioneer Donna Strickland and Claudia Alexander, who specialized in geophysics and planetary science. Old medical textbooks, a LEGO racecar, a vintage oscilloscope and a Brownie Target Six-16 box camera line shelves above comfy velvet sofas.
This is the kind of thing that happens when a scientist walks into her own bar.
Hightower just (a couple weeks ago) earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she conducted research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the laboratory of Matthew Alexander, Ph.D., in the Department of Pediatrics and uncovered a key signaling pathway for Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.
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