Transformation: Sebastian Alvarado & Danny Artese

In this week's episode, we share two stories of transformation, from a geneticist's attempt to recreate some of the science from his beloved comic books to a third-grader's mission to become a plant.

Part 1: Geneticist Sebastian Alvarado reconnects with his love of comic books by attempting to shrink ants.

Sebastian Gaston Alvarado went into science so he could make the X-men. During his Ph.D., he studied the molecular switches that regulate gene function. As a result, his work has shed light on chronic pain, size variation in ants, and metabolism in hibernating squirrels. He is also co-founder of Thwacke, a science consulting firm for the entertainment sector. As a consultant, he has rationalized the science behind Captain America's Super Soldier Serum and the reversible nature of the Incredible Hulk's transformations . Sebastian is currently an A.P. Giannini Fellow at Stanford University where he studies how social environment can shape the way genes change behavior in a fish.

Part 2: Inspired by his favorite novel, third-grade Danny Artese attempts to turn himself into a plant.

Danny Artese is a NY-based storyteller who has won multiple Moth StorySLAMs and performed at Q.E.D., UCB, The Magnet Theater, and Ripley's Believe It Or Not! While not a scientist by trade, one of the proudest moments of Danny's life was when his high school Biology teacher (Hi Mrs. Beamer!) told his 15-year-old self that he'd be a great gynecologist.