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Bioengineering the Pancreas This case study applies problem-based learning to the field of biotechnology. Students assume the role of newly-hired bioengineers at a fictitious biotech company, Bio-Art. Students work individually to complete background research in the basic biology Bioluminescence and 16th-century Caravaggism This case study looks at the probable connection between bioluminescence and Caravaggio's painting style in the 16th century in order to explore the mechanism of bioluminescence and its role in animal evolution and modern medicine.

Recent studies have Blood Suckers! A Case Study on Evolution and Speciation This directed case study in PowerPoint format focuses on the London Underground Mosquito, Culex molestus, and its potential relationship to the common mosquito, Culex pipiens, in order to explore the topics of evolution, reproductive Bloodline: A Human Genetics Case In this "clicker" case, based on a TV drama about a family secret that only knowledge of genetics can solve, students apply what they have read and heard about genetic diseases to determine familial relationships and predict the chance that a family me Bonding with the Tutor: How to Stick Together in Chemistry This case study presents the story of "Nick," a student who has been assigned the task of writing a research paper describing the fundamentals of chemical bonds and how they relate to human life.

When Nick experiences difficulty remembering information Brain Workouts This directed case study follows two college roommates, Darrell and Anthony, who have just returned to school after winter vacation. They share that their ageing fathers are concerned about their declining faculties and are amused by their fathers' eff Breakfast of Champions This case study was developed for an upper-level undergraduate evolution course in order to provide an example of natural selection in hominids and encourage critical thinking and understanding of the subject.

The case focuses on the cognitive evolutio Bringing Back Baby Jason This dilemma case, designed for use in an undergraduate genetics course, explores the basic genetic concepts underlying the cloning process as well as the ethical, medical, political, economic, and religious issues surrounding human cloning.

While the Bringing Home More than a Medal This case study was inspired by the Zika virus outbreak that occurred around the time of the Olympic Games. Many athletes were fearful of attending because of the link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in infants. This concern, however BSL Authorized Personnel Only This case study is based on the Ebola epidemic that spread to multiple highly populated countries in West Africa, making it the largest and most devastating outbreak in the history of the virus. The storyline, inspired by a compilation of factual Building a More Intricate Web This case study follows two beginning undergraduate researchers on a quest for a summer research project related to food web ecology.

While writing their research proposal, the students receive feedback indicating that they have neglected an entire gro But I'm Too Young!

Butterflies in the Stomach Why is the North American population of monarch butterflies declining? In , a study published in the journal Nature suggested that a variety of genetically modified corn was killing these iconic butterflies. While it was later shown that t Butterfly Hunt This case study uses an interactive activity to illustrate density dependence in ecology classes.

We developed a "hunt" using paper butterflies with warning signals on the upper side of the wings and symbols that indicate if a butterfly is noxious unde This directed case study examines differences between the exponential and logistic growth models in biology and how they are applied to solve real life problems. The narrative follows a student returning to the United States as he tries to assess his p Campus Outbreak! Can a Genetic Disease Be Cured? In this discussion case, parents must decide whether or not to enroll their sons in an experimental treatment program designed to alleviate the symptoms of muscular dystrophy.

The case explores the genetics and physiology of the disease as well as the Cancer Cure or Conservation This case is based on the controversy that surrounded harvesting of the Pacific yew from to to develop paclitaxel Taxol , a revolutionary anti-cancer drug. The case was designed to expose students to basic conservation biology concepts by ex CAR T Immunotherapy This directed case study was written to help students learn about an innovative cancer therapy that harnesses a patient's immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. The critical insight underlying this therapy is to use a cancer patient's own Caribou Conservation Conundrum As a Government of Canada biologist, "Rachael Mercer" faces the task of advising the Environment Minister on whether a proposed wolf cull should be carried out to conserve threatened caribou populations in the Northern Alberta oilsands region.

The Albe Cat vs.

Gene (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Caught Red-Handed Was the "Brooklyn Butcher" of a cold-blooded killer or was something less sinister at play? This interrupted case study introduces students to hemoglobin binding and carbon monoxide poisoning by working through the details of a fictionalized accou Cauldron of Democracy This case study explores the controversy surrounding Yellowstone bison Bison bison and the relationship between wildlife management and pluralist democracy.

In the late s Yellowstone National Park suspended the policy of strictly managin Cell Phone Use and Cancer In this case study, students analyze a scientific study, first by analyzing news articles reporting on the research and then by reading the original research article.

MIT News Office

In working through the case, students identify the basic elements of a scientific stu Chemical Eric This case study is designed to teach introductory biology majors about the role of the pituitary in controlling hormones. It could easily be applied or modified to fit a variety of other courses, including a non-majors introductory biology course or an Chemical Eric Can't See This autobiographical case study presents the story of Eric as he learns that he has a genetic eye disease, which progresses to the point that he becomes legally blind.

The story is true and, in this respect, similar to another case by the same author Chickens and Humans and Pigs, Oh My! Influenza is a common topic in the popular press and a point of interest for many students. This case study was written to promote interdisciplinary connections between upper division virology and immunology classes. Students that participa Childbed Fever This case describes the pioneering work of Ignaz Semmelweis and his efforts to remedy the problem of childbed fever in midth century Europe.

Its purpose is to teach students about the scientific method by "dissecting" the various steps involve Beatrice Hahn, who investigates DNA sequences in chimpanzee droppings in order to explore the origins of the human immunodeficiency virus HIV.


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Students first consider the types of data that c Ciara was homeless prior to the adoption and has no medical records aside from newborn vaccinations. Almost immediately following the adoption, Classic Experiments in Molecular Biology All introductory biology textbooks, and many sophomore-level genetics textbooks as well, describe several classic experiments in molecular biology. This interrupted case study takes students through two of these classic experiments, namely, those by Gr Cloning Man's Best Friend The Cleaver family of television fame faces a dilemma—whether or not to clone their recently deceased dog Spot.

Written for a high school introductory biology class, the case provides students with an opportunity to discuss animal cloning and its The case was created for a non-majors Coffee and Cigarettes This analysis case explores second-hand smoke and its impact on the decision to institute a smoking ban in the outdoor seating area of a popular coffee bar. In working through the case, students discuss the medical, ethical, legal, and societal i Conversations with Fireflies This case explores the aggressive mimicry behavior of the femme fatale firefly - female fireflies in the genus Photuris that mimic the flash pattern of females in the genus Photinus in order to lure Photinus males to their de Coping with Infection This interrupted case study introduces two distinct, but not mutually exclusive, strategies for defending against parasites: resistance and tolerance.

Students analyze and interpret research conducted on resistance and tolerance to gastrointestinal par Could Grazing Be Dangerous? Ask the Cows! This case study introduces important issues related to invasive species and noxious weeds that have particular ecological and agricultural importance.

Discovery of the Role of Non-B DNA Structures in Mutagenesis and Human Genomic Disorders

The realistic storyline follows a rancher, Elmer, who has recently purchased a acre parcel of lan Counting Keratinocytes This case study was developed for teaching metric length measurement in a non-majors biology laboratory setting. The case is suitable for lower-level non-major undergraduate or upper-level high school students. The case develops comprehension of the me Cow of the Future In this case developed for an introductory general microbiology course, students consider concepts of bacterial genetics as they act as consultants to a foundation interested in funding innovative products.

Students take the role of advising "the baron Cracking the Case In this directed case study, students shadow Dr. Lee in diagnosing two patients with osteoporosis. The students are given patient history and an initial panel of test results, which they discuss in small groups. After diagnosis, they are asked specific Crazy About Cryptids! Using the science of ecology, students do exactly that in this case study that encompasses a variety of case study teaching formats.

Working in gr Cross-Dressing or Crossing-Over? Cross-Dressing Salmon This "clicker case" about female mimicry in spawning salmon was developed for an introductory-level, non-majors biology course to help address one of the most common misconceptions that students have about natural selection, namely, that only the "stro Cystic Fibrosis This PowerPoint-driven, flipped case study begins with a short video about a woman suffering from cystic fibrosis CF in the s, a friend of the lead author's, whom she met in college and who died in her twenties. Hooked by this personal story, stu Danielle's Difficulty The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection CDI , including severe infection, has increased in both institutional settings and the general community.

This case study presents the story of an elderly woman who spent time in a hospital and Dark Skin, Blond Hair This interrupted case is based on a genome wide association study GWAS that identified the genetic variation causing some inhabitants of the Solomon Islands to have blond hair. The case illustrates the connection between genotype and phenotype, and a Darwin's Finches and Natural Selection In this "clicker case," students learn about natural selection through the research of Peter and Rosemary Grant and colleagues on the finches of the Galapagos Islands.

Students are presented with data in the form of graphs and asked to determine what i Dead Fish in Bear Pond This interrupted case study introduces students to the complexity of understanding natural variation in ecosystems through time in the absence of long term data sets. In particular, students explore the interdisciplinary nature of ecology and examine h Death Becomes Us This interrupted case study reviews the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in apoptosis, or programed cell death, and how it may be used in the treatment of cancer.

The case narrative follows "Derek," a college student who travels to Philadelph Decoding the Flu This "clicker case" was designed to develop students' ability to read and interpret information stored in DNA. Making use of personal response systems "clickers" along with a PowerPoint presentation, students follow the story of "Jason," a student in Dem Bones In this case study, a forensic anthropologist must determine the age and sex as well as look for signs of trauma to a skeleton found in a shallow grave in a state park.

Students simulate the actual procedures used in a forensics lab and learn to identi Diabetes and Insulin Signaling Cellular signaling, otherwise known as signal transduction, is the mechanism by which cellular context and environmental situation are used to regulate or adjust cellular behavior. Multicellular organisms use cellular signaling to coordinate responses The case provides students with an opportunity to identify and classify patient information signs, symp Diagnosis of a Congenital Disorder This progressive disclosure case study explores the medically-related issues of a female infant born with the congenital disorder Sirenomelia, more commonly known as "Mermaid Syndrome.

Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of an Autoimmune Response There are a number of medical disorders that mimic each other and accordingly prove problematic for diagnosis, including autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus , bacterial infections syphilis , and arthropod borne Disappearing Marine Iguanas In this interrupted case study, students apply the scientific method to probe possible reasons behind declining marine iguana populations in the Galapagos Islands.

Initially students are given rudimentary information and encouraged to generate wide-ran Disease Along the River: A Case Study and Cholera Outbreak Game This case study centers on an active teaching game that simulates a cholera outbreak among five villages along a river, similar to the Haitian outbreak of By enacting the behaviors of fictional villagers, students learn how trade, travel, sanitat Do Corridors Have Value in Conservation? This case study discusses conservation corridors as a means to reduce the problems of population size and isolation in a fragmented habitat.

In an interrupted format, students learn what a corridor is, consider how nature preserves and corridors functi Do Grasshoppers Sweat? There are many adaptive and evolutionary behaviors displayed in an organism's use of water. Although students generally have a superficial understanding of the importance of water to life i. Does the Matrix Matter? In this case study, students apply principles of landscape ecology, experimental design, and data interpretation to examine alternative explanations for how birds respond to forest fragmentation and landscape matrix.


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  • Using an interrupted format, the ca The story follows a news reporter and four different scientists who are pre After the recent birth of a good-sized clutch of eggs, Heather Pipiens is pleased to see that most of her little larvae are doing fine, but alarme Collins must diagnose and prescribe treatment for a young patient with a serious infection.

    Students receive pieces of the case in a progressive disclosure format and answer questions about bacterial infection, antibiotics, and Barbara experiences an asthma attack and then more serious breathin Earthquakes Damage Cells, Too Cholera is a commonly explored disorder when teaching transmembrane transport.

    Uta Francke, MD

    Expanding on this theme, this case study also introduces intracellular and extracellular signal transduction, the physiological basis of rehydration treatments, and provides It encourages students to examine how scientific results get prese During this to minute case, students experience "hands-on"' the change in freque Ellen's Choice This case encourages students to explore various aspects of alternative and complementary medicine that might be helpful in treating a woman who is suffering from scoliosis.

    The case was developed for use in a variety of settings, ranging from an intro Energy Up, Weight Down? Her search leads her to nutrition labels, websites and, as she digs deeper, the results of scientif Equal Time for Intelligent Design? Whether Intelligent Design should be taught in a science classroom is a serious problem. This case study tackles the issue head-on by using intimate debate, a pedagogical structure in which small student groups are subdivided into opposing student pair Escape from Planet Soma In this case, students assume the role of a fictitious space explorer captured by aliens.

    To win their release, they must correctly explain the neurophysiology underlying some of the punishments used by the aliens to deter attempts at escape. The purpo This case study explores the biology and culture of sex and gender, and focuses on the science and pseudoscience that surrounds this topic, especially focusing on math performance. The case leads students to seek out and evaluate popular culture Evolution and Plasticity in Guppies This case study focuses on the relationship between evolution and plasticity using a hands-on, inquiry-based approach.

    Students view examples from the literature that illustrate the difference between nature and nurture, or the relative contributions o Evolution by Natural Selection in Oldfield Mice The theory of evolution by natural selection is simple, elegant, and profound. Yet, a large number of undergraduate students including biology majors, medical students, and pre-service science teachers maintain a large set of misconceptions that interf Evolution in Action This case study is based on Dr.

    Exotics This case examines the biological, ecological, social, political, and economic factors surrounding exotic species as well as the role of resource managers in shaping public policy on environmental issues. In addition to conservation ecology courses, th Eyes Without a Face Although blind since childhood as the result of an accident, Lucy has never given up hope that one day she might see again. So, when her ophthalmologist tells her about a study being conducted at the University Medical Center that might help her regain Face the Fats This clicker case introduces students to the biochemistry of lipids through the story of Pete, a college student who begins to consider his nutritional fat intake after watching a commercial for the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin.

    In this case, stud Using an interdisciplinary approach, it combines content from physical science and areas of biology bacteriology, pathology to tell Farmville Future? Life has changed for the rural residents of Farmville County since the arrival of four concentrated animal feeding operations CAFOs ; the air has an odor, wildlife has decreased, and illnesses are on the rise.

    One of the town's residents has become ac Fat Facts It's Mother's Day and Dolly, a high school senior, is making a Mediterranean salad for her mom, who is a college chemistry major and who likes to take every opportunity to teach Dolly what she has learned in school. Today is no exception, as she guides Fecal Coliforms in Antarctica In this interrupted case study, students explore the environmental consequences of Antarctic research as they design experiments to assess the impact of disposing untreated sewage from a research station into the ocean.

    Genes, DNA and Chromosomes explained

    Students review experimental met Feeling Detoxified This case study uses the example of ionic foot baths to examine how placebo treatments can affect our health and wellness. She discovers that the restaurant doesn't serve locally caug Fluid in the Ear This interrupted case study follows the progress of Julius, a singer in a rock band who suffers from severe headaches and pressure in his ears. While visiting his doctor he loses his balance and hits his head as he collapses to the floor. Julius recove Despite the successful management of diabetes with purified animal insulin, potentially severe side effects were abundant, and alternative ways to produ From Gummy Bears to Celery Stalks: Diffusion and Osmosis This is an interrupted case study that intersperses information about diffusion and osmosis with content review and knowledge application questions, as well as a simple experiment that can be conducted without the use of a laboratory.

    This case study i To make way for more corn, millions of acres of prairie grassland were plowed under, destroying an From Twiggy to Tubby This case study explores the topics of diffusion, osmosis, membrane transport, and the physiological significance of glucose and insulin in the human body. The story begins with a high school athlete, Timmy, who is incredibly efficient at metabolizing Gender: In the Genes or in the Jeans? How are males and females different? Most people have a sex that is consistent on all levels: genetic, gonadal, internal genitals, external genitals. But sometimes there are discrepancies.

    This case explores the biology of human sexual differentiation Genetic Testing and Breast Cancer In this dilemma case, the central character, Kathy, must decide whether or not to be tested for known mutations in the breast cancer genes.