Frankenstein, MD

Expand/Collapse Frankenstein, MD


From PBS Digital Studios comes a brand new, modern re-telling of Mary Shelley's classic tale: Frankenstein, M.D.

Follow along as Victoria Frankenstein and her assistant Iggy explore human anatomy in this innovative look into biological pseudo-science. Even though the tale is fictional, many principles of research, anatomy, and scientific discovery are as real as ever. Dive in to the 22-part series and explore the monstrous creations of Victoria Frankenstein.

  • Introducing Victoria | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 1

    Meet Victoria Frankenstein, a passionate medical student with an interest in the most bizarre, uncanny, and even occult aspects of biological science. In this episode, Victoria explores electrophisiology: the electrical properties of living cells. By using an electrocardiogram (or EKG), she demonstrates the natural pacemaking ability of the human heart — and the problems that can come about when handling dangerous levels of electricity. Read more about animal electricity at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/animal-electricity/

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Truth about Fake Blood | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 2

    Victoria demonstrates the use of E. coli bacteria in the creation of synthetic blood. By altering the genetic make-up of E. coli, bioligists can use the spliced genes in the synthesis of everything from vaccines to biofuels and even the hemoglobin in human blood. There are complications with using this synthetic blood as a complete substitute in human bodies, but Victoria is hoping to excel beyond these roadblocks. Discover more about the uses of E. coli and synthetic blood here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/e-coli-and-synthetic-blood/

    Grades: 7-12
  • Anaesthetics vs. Paralytics | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 3

    In this episode, observe the different effects that the human body has to both anaesthetic and paralytic substances. Victoria uses two of her friends as human guinae pigs in a new drug study and observes the side effects of their various doses. Paralytic agents diminish muscle control, but not sensation in the extremities; anaesthetics perform the opposite, limiting sensation in the limbs but not hindering overall muscle control. Read Victoria's blog post on anaesthesia and paralysis here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/moving-vs-feeling-anesthesia-and-paralytic-drugs/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Magnetic Brain Stimulation | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 4

    Victoria and Iggy show how electromagnetic induction is capable of manipulating certain parts of the human brain. This process is typically used during brain surgery to test the progress of a patient, but in this dramatization of the effects, magnetism can be shown to have effects on varying bodily functions.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Mind Control Rats | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 5

    If we want to influence individual neurons in the brain, optogenetics is the way to go. Optogenetics uses beams of light to stimulate the nerve network of the brain, and rather than the broad-spectrum approach of electromagnetic manipulation, this method allows for a much finer approach. The method starts with using a virus to implant a light-sensitive gene into the targetted neurons, which then become sensitive to a specific frequency of light.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Frozen Rats | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 6

    Victoria and Iggy make an attempt to reanimate a frozen specimen, with unexpected results. Monitoring the core body temperature of their frozen rat subject is crucial during the process, but even keeping a close eye on its condition can only go so far.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Natural Remedies | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 7

    The lab analyzes a new experimental drug after the results of their experiments by using a gas chromatograph. Victoria is able to analyze the chemical make-up of her unknown drugs, pinpointing the compound as a natural remedy and comparing the results to a placebo before being roped into an unfortunate sleep deprivation study.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Sleep Deprivation | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 8

    In this episode, Victoria and Iggy explore the effects of sleep deprivation. By volunteering themselves for the study, they can first-hand witness the impacts on their memory, reflexes, and cognition after staying awake for 72 straight hours. Read more details on Victoria's sleep deprivation study here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/sleep-deprivation-study/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Great and Sudden Change | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 9

    Victoria takes a new perspective on anatomy, and death, after the loss of a friend. An autopsy shows the details of several severe injuries, and Victoria explores some of the potential, pseudo-scientific breakthroughs that could be used to develop life-saving treatments and continue to push the boundaries of science. Learn more about the study of death, and attempts to find a "cure", at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/a-solution-for-death/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Build-a-Bone | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 10

    The medical applications of 3D printing are put to the test when Iggy and Victoria replicate a bone. Explore the evolutionary functionality of human bones and the underlying chemistry of their structure. By scanning and replicating a human femur, the lab is able to test their 3D printing technology and experiment on the newfound durability of their synthetic bones. Explore more about the medical applications of 3D printing at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/the-future-of-3d-printing/

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Spectacular Spider-Goat | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 11

    By experimenting with gene therapy, Victoria and Iggy make progress with artificial grafts of "super skin". With the silk-producing genes from spiders successfully embedded into goats, scientists are able to produce much larger quantities of spider silk -- an ingredient that Victoria and Iggy plan to use to create artificial, enhanced grafts of skin. But what does Victoria really intend to use these new advancements for? Learn more about the real-life research into super skin at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/silk-plus-milk-equals-a-recipe-for-stronger-skin/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Pressure Drop | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 12

    Victoria tests the effect of body temperature on blood pressure. In this episode, review the concept of homeostasis and the impact of core temperature on the body's physiological response and how, under extreme conditions, colder temperatures can have severe repercussions on health. Learn more about the science of frostbite at the Frankenstein MD blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/frozen-its-not-just-a-disney-movie/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Eyesight to the Blind | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 13

    Learn about the functioning system of the human eye or, in this case, a reanimated cow eye that has been cryopreserved. By understanding the way an eye sends electrical impulses to the brain and how cells respond to frozen temperatures, Victoria thinks she has unlocked the secrets to reanimation.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Unfrozen | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 14

    Victoria and Iggy perform a simple experiment to test the cognitive function of their lab rat. There are lots of variables to take into consideration, but if their procedure goes as planned, Victoria plans to scale up her experiment with a human subject. Read more about the history of brain trauma at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/the-brain-formally-known-as-robert/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Lesson One | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 16

    After a successful reanimation, Victoria begins examining her recovering patient. She tests his basic motor and sensory skills, but perhaps not all is truly well with this new discovery.

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Brilliant Dr. Victoria | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 17

    Victoria has some hypotheses regarding the cognitive state of her subject. Given her expertise in the human brain, she suspects some trauma to Robert's amygdala or some other trauma to the brain that may be interfering with his ability to process emotions or complex thought. Read more about famous "failures" in science at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/failure-is-a-state-of-mind/

    Grades: 7-10
  • The Gummi Worm Story | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 18

    To track the pattern of her subject, Victoria and her friends plot out their data in an attempt to find a pattern. For more information about the spread of disease and the basics of plotting infections, check out a post on Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/understanding-the-basics-of-infection/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Zombie Brain Aggression | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 19

    Victoria and Iggy brainstorm about the biological and psychological explanations of zombies. With her knowledge of neuroscience and evolution, Victoria is able to make some predictions about real medical theories surrounding their fictitious scenarios. Check out more on the science of zombies at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/the-scienze-of-zombies/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Life Finds a Way | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 20

    Scientists may often question the ethics and responsibilities of their research, which is just the conflict Victoria finds herself in. In the aftermath of an experiment gone awry, she attempts to come up with further hypotheses about the mystery at hand. Read more about scientific responsibility and the Hippocratic Oath at Victoria's blog here: http://www.frankensteinmd.com/the-responsibility-of-the-scientist-a-cloud-of-uncertainty/

    Grades: 7-10
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? | Frankenstein, MD: Episode 21

    Victoria and Iggy start on the hunt for their monster. The two debate over the repercussions of their research and briefly discuss the process of imprinting: a principle in zoology where a young animal recognizes another animal or object as a parental figure.

    Grades: 7-10

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