Cell Side Story: Introducing Kenny Twist and D'Na the DNA Girl

North CarolinaIf you're looking for a model of business/government/academic cooperation in preparing the youth of today for careers in biotechnology and the life sciences, look no further than North Carolina. The state has myriad well-funded, integrated programs at the high school and community-college levels in particular.

For the past year, Wake Forest University has been supporting students at the Atkins Academic and Technology High School in Winston-Salem in their production of an animated short film on the inner workings of cells. At long last, the film has premiered and is now available for our viewing pleasure. Drum roll please:

Cell Side Story

Also, here's the preface to the film:

Meet Kenny Twist and D'Na the DNA girl, two characters in “Cellside Story,” a short animated film . . . . The film was developed by students at Atkins Academic and Technology High School in Winston-Salem in cooperation with Wake Forest and other community partners to teach high school students the basics of biotechnology.
Inspired by “High School Musical,” “Cellside Story” is a love story of sorts featuring male and female animated characters to show the inner workings of cells. Kenny Twist represents kinesin, a motor protein found within cells. DNA girl is the nucleic acid that tells the cells what to do.
[The film] will be made available to high school students across North Carolina to help teach them how biotechnology harnesses cellular machinery to cure diseases, detect biohazards and manufacture new materials. “This has the potential to be a trend-setting catalyst for how biotechnology is viewed by young people everywhere,” Macosko said. “We hope this leads many of them to consider training for careers in biotechnology, which is so important to the 21st century.”
--Paul Thomas
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