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New Musical 'Cell Side Story' Puts Science on Stage
Date:1/29/2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Meet Kenny Twist and the DNA girl. They are the stars of a new animated film, "Cell Side Story," developed by students at Atkins Academic and Technology High School in cooperation with Wake Forest University and other community partners.

"Cell Side Story" is a love story featuring male and female animated characters that dramatize what happens within cells. Kenny Twist represents kinesin, a motor protein found within cells. The DNA girl is DNA, the nucleic acid that tells the cells what to do. The musical video is designed to teach the basics of biotechnology.

"It tells the story of what happens inside a cell," said Jesus Sandoval, an Atkins senior. "And we're telling it in a 'High School Musical' kind of way to catch kids' attention."

The three-minute animated film had its first public screening at Wake Forest Jan. 20. Atkins students who worked on the project shared the film with students in a biophysics class co-taught by Dany Kim Shapiro, professor of physics, and Jed Macosko, assistant professor of physics and director of the animated film project.

The video helps students envision "inner space" in a cell. "Through the magic of computer animation, the audience will fly from the outside of the body into a hair follicle, down into a cell, and land at a location where the students' chosen molecular machines are performing their functions," Macosko explained.

Atkins students designed the characters, animated characters using computer technology, helped design background scenes, sang lyrics, translated the lyrics for the Spanish version of the video, and
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SOURCE Wake Forest University
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