A cell's life

Is it possible to cure Parkinson or Alzheimer diseases? Turn a patient’s own skin cells into functioning nerve cells? Insert healthy genes to reprogram the cells of a damaged brain? Thanks to her ERC project iN-BraiN, Malin Parmar is studying these types of issues. Her work involves reprogramming adult skin cells directly into dopaminergic cells and inserting genes into the brain to perform such reprogramming on the spot, to repair and substitute damaged cells.

Jojo is living A Cell’s Life: he’s an epidermal cell whose dream has always been to become a neuron. Until his first day of work, he was unaware of the fundamental dogma of biology: once a skin cell, always a skin cell. Jojo is frustrated by the boring routine of his skin cell work until his life will changes: an epidemic has struck the dopamine service. A diehard scientist, Fanny, decides to find out a way to replace dopaminergic cells with skin cells. What will be the destiny of Jojo and his family? Will he be welcomed in the dopaminergic system? And what will be the fate of his human “host”, diagnosed with the beginning of Parkinson’s disease?

Next episode will be out on April 5

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Malin Parmar (researcher)

Dr. Parmar is a Professor at Lund University, Sweden, where she is focusing on bringing new cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease to the clinic by replacing lost dopamine neurons with new, healthy cells. Her work in cellular reprogramming opens up the possibilities of personalized treatments of patients with healthy versions of their own cells.

Alessandro Tota (artist)

Alessandro Tota is an illustrator and a cartoonist, who lives and works in Paris. He is one of the founders of the magazine Canicola (Fanzine / Alternative Comics, Angoulême Comics Festival 2007). His work has appeared in the magazines: Canicola, Hamelin, Lo Straniero, Orang (Reprodukt), Kuti Kuti; Tabloid, Il Corriere del Mezzogiorno, Kultur & Gespenster, Black (Coconino Press), Internazionale, Papier Marche, Repubblica XL, Rabbit (The Association), Stripburger, Animals (Coniglio Editore), Corriere della Sera. He has also illustrated for the reviews Astrapi and Me, I Read. His work has been exhibited in Bologna, Modena, Naples, Milan, Helsinki, Paris, Lucerne, Leipzig and Hamburg.

Fiamma Luzzati (storyboard artist)

Fiamma Luzzati is a Sicilian born in Rome who lives in Paris. After a BAC + 9 she wanted to be an actress for Almodovar, unfortunately without success. She founded the CALIMERA S.A. and has accumulated multiple experiences in volleyball, finance, catering, graphic design, publishing. Finally she chose her side: comics. Since March 2012 she has been giving herself body and soul to the site of Libération and to a blog of Le Monde called L’avventura. She is now specialised in scientific communication comics.