Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita

Directed by Maria Finitzo, this excellent Kartemquin Films documentary profiles Dr. Jack Kessler, a stem cell expert at Northwestern University whose work is motivated partly by a desire to regenerate the damaged spinal cord of his teenage daughter. Finitzo’s long-term investigation widens to include other patients with spinal-cord damage and their everyday ways of coping, as well as a couple of Kessler’s graduate assistants as they follow up on lab experiments. What emerges is a multifaceted unpacking and demythification of a loaded subject. 90 min. (JR)

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