Alexandre Gaspar Maia
Alexandre Gaspar Maia is a Portuguese biologist trying to understand and experiment in the world of living cells (as a scientist) and living people (as a documentary filmmaker).
He studied Marine Biology at the University of Porto (Portugal) as an undergraduate student. Later on at UCSF in San Francisco he redirected his scientific pursuit towards the studies of Embryonic Stem Cells as part of his PhD thesis. Currently he is a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, where his research focuses on the studies of Chromatin Biology in Cancer Cells. His main interest is in the proteins that surround and support DNA in the nucleus, which influence the way DNA is read in different normal cells, and how those proteins may help explain the origin of cancer cells.
In parallel, he has worked in theatre as an actor, writer and director on various projects during his undergraduate. During this period he also pioneered a new environmental education program for children by exploring the potential of storytelling. His passion for cinema began in Rome where he studied for one year in college. Since then, he has taken part of several workshops in Short Film production and Documentary Film in Italy and Portugal. More recently in San Francisco, he participated in the making of several short films, both as director and as a collaborator. His own short films have been screened in San Francisco, New York, Braga and Madrid.
Alexandre spends most of his time in the laboratory collecting data from various experiments and trying to understand the myriad ways of living cells, while constantly being reminded of the limitations inherent in the process. As a documentary filmmaker, he is mostly fascinated about our process of perceiving, believing and generating knowledge, as human beings.