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Victoria demonstrates optogenetics with a rat.
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Frankenstein MD is a multi-platform series based on Frankenstein, a novel by Mary Shelley.
The series is developed by Lon Harris, Brett Register, and Bernie Su
The series is produced by Pemberley Digital.
and distributed by PBS Digital Studios.

See more details at

Victoria Frankenstein - Anna Lore -
Iggy DeLacey - Steve Zaragoza -
Dr. Abraham Waldman - Kevin Rock -

Executive Producer - Bernie Su -
Executive Producer - Matt Vree -
Executive Producer - Hank Green -
Co-Executive Producer - Lon Harris
Co-Executive Producer - Brett Register -
Producer - Tracy Bitterolf -
Co Producer -Tamara Krinsky -
Consulting Producer - Frederick Kim -
Director - Brett Register -
Writer - Frederick Kim -
Cinematography - Matt Ryan -
Editor - Sam Mollo -
Transmedia Editor - Christine Linnell -
Associate Producer - Ariana Nedelman
Science Advisor - Joe Hanson -
Assistant Director - Jordan Paley
Production Designer - Katie Moest -
Stylist - Jessica Snyder -
Assistant Editor - Brennan Barsell
DIT - Lisa Curtis
Propmaster - Audrey Lee
Set Decorator - Kim Brunner
Script Supervisor - Maggie Werning
Makeup - Roxanne Pike
Sound Mixer/Boom - Geoff Allison
Key Grip - Oliver Bukowsky
Gaffer - Matt Hingstman
Colorist - Brennan Barsell
Camera Assistant - Kelsey Taylor
Intro Music - Sally Chou
Intro Design - Andrew Swaner
Social Media Manager - Christina Cooper -
Graphic Designer - Becca Rodrigues -
Production Assistant - Thomas Della Bella
Production Assistant - Anthony Toledo
Channel Manager for PBS Digital Studios - Raymond Schillinger
Closed Captions - Jared M. Gair

"Yellow slime mold" by KeresH - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Victoria (V)
Iggy (I)
Dr. Abraham Waldman (Dr)

(PBS opening screen)

V: After more than a full week without any fatal- or near fatal accidents here in the lab, it appears we have another fatality to report.

I: Victoria, please! I feel like Terrence deserves a real send-off.

V: You're taking this very hard. (Begins to speak)

I: (Cuts V off) We'll be holding a small memorial ceremony, and in lieu of flowers please send a donation to the science-

V: (Cuts I off) No one should ever die needlessly, but he was just a lab rat.

I: (Sighs) I know, but I can't help but feel like a little bit responsible. I think he'd want me to just find the strength and forgive myself and move on.

V: You had nothing to do with this, and Terrence wouldn't want you to 'forgive yourself' because he's incapable of abstract thought on that level.

I: I just hate it when the lab animals die!

V: Because it means that we screwed up.

I: And they're so cute!


V: Last time, we showed you how the brain circuits can be manipulated using high-powered magnets. However, the problem with magnets and even electrodes placed inside the brain is that they generally affect multiple neural circuits, not just one. So as a tool, they're not very precise.

I: But optogenetics gives us that precision by allowing us to select individual neurons by using a beam of light.

?: It's not easy though.

I: True, first you've got to put the DNA for a light-sensitive protein into a virus. Then the virus has to infect the targeted neuron so they'll express the protein on their cell membranes.

V: Then the protein has to excite or silence the neurons when exposed to just the right frequency of light.

Dr: Theoretically, yes. But I fear this is another silly, showy experiment unlikely to bear any real fruit.

I: Well, we do have that sleep deprived concept, or the slime molds!

V: Actually, there may be practical application for optogenetics within the scope of our current research. 

Dr: Mr. DeLacey, tell her about the slime molds.

V: What about the slime molds?

I: (chuckles) I'm glad you asked. We've observed aggregation behavior in slime mold cells self-organizing into uniform clusters.

V: Sure...

I: But- could we use these various behavioral techniques to modify, influence, rearrange, and even deconstruct these clusters?

Dr: Sounds like a worthwhile question for some examination.

V: Dr. Waldman, I'm sorry, slime molds are a waste of my time.

I: Oh, okay, so my project is a waste of your time.

V: That's not what I meant.

I: Okay, so just because it's 'disgusting' and 'gross' and 'awful' it means you don't want to do it, that's typical.

V: Will you both stop slimming me for two seconds so I can show Dr. Waldman what Terrence is up to?

I: (Chuckles) Slimming me, okay, I see what you did there.

Dr: Wh- who is Terrence?


Dr: It does appear that I am controlling the rat's movements! This isn't an illusion of some kind, you can replicate this effect?

V: He's never even seen this maze before. Terrence is guided only by your inputs. You got it, a left here, and then- right.

I: Oh, wait, so there's no other triggers than just these light pulses?

V: That's right, the pulses either go to his left or right motor cortex and that controls Terrence's directions. Plus I had Robert patch together his little circuit board hat.

I: Well obviously it's darling, but, I mean, it's just...

V: (In baby voice) Who's a good little Terrence? Who saved me from Iggy's slime molds? Yes, was it you? Yes it was!

I: Alright, yeah. Terrence, don't listen to her! The slime molds were totally cash!

Dr: And you did all of this on your own?

V: This is just a simple demonstration. What I want to d is start using optogenetics in partnership with the synthetic organs we're already making.

Dr: Optogenetics is a neuroscience research tool.

I: Yeah, sure, I mean someday it can be used to cure epilepsy or other types of blindness- what would we use it for?

V: Maybe manipulating pacemaker activity, or- or calibrating the release of hormones from a kidney. Anything we want to control remotely.

Dr: Write up a detailed proposal, both of you.

V: I have one nearly ready to go. I could have it in your office tomorrow. Say, six am?

I: Uh, we'll have it to you by the end of the week.

Dr: Excellent. I look forward to it.

I: (Sighs heavily)

V: I'm sorry about your slime molds.

I: Nah, it's alright. It doesn't matter, your mind control rats are pretty good. But we have to try that sleep deprivation study, it's gonna be so cash!

V: I don't think anyone's picking up 'cash'.

I: Yeah it's not really working, is it?

(Thump noise)

V: Terrence!

I: Uh, he's seizing!

V: Well what about the optogenetics helmet? You said it could be used to treat seizures!

I: Uh, yeah, I mean, if you had time to adapt it, maybe... I don't know!

V: Right! If we- if we trigger the light pulses to counteract the spikes!

I: Uh, I mean, but I'd say he's in pretty immediate distress, I mean before you could even start to seriously begin the calibrations-

V: (Cuts I off) Well then I'll get him more time!

I: Wait you don't mean...

V: To the cryonics lab!

I: Oh, okay, I thought you meant time travel. Cryonics is pretty cool too. (Sighs) Hey Robbie, you want to help me flush some slim molds?