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Ann T.S. Taylor
Professor
taylora@wabash.edu
Department of Chemistry
Wabash College
One Headache After Another: Biochemistry Edition 

Topamax®, developed to treat epilepsy, is also used as a preventative for migraine. In this case study, students read about a woman experiencing a side-effect of Topamax and from there move to a review of acid-base balance in the human body. The case study questions force the students to think about basic concepts related to buffers, pH, and equilibria, and challenge them to make specific connections. The case has two versions: one for chemists/biochemists and a second for physiologists. This is the biochemistry version.  Both versions cover acid-base balance to a similar extent, with the physiology version (titled "One Headache After Another: Physiology Edition") covering more of the factors involved with metabolic acidosis and exercise physiology. Both versions are geared to upper-level undergraduates.


One Headache After Another: Physiology Edition 

Topamax®, developed to treat epilepsy, is also used as a preventative for migraine. In this case study, students read about a woman experiencing a side-effect of Topamax and from there move to a review of acid-base balance in the human body. The case study questions force the students to think about basic concepts related to buffers, pH, and equilibria, and challenge them to make specific connections. The case has two versions: one for physiologists and a second one for chemists/biochemists (titled "One Headache After Another: Biochemistry Edition"). This is the physiology version.  Both versions cover acid-base balance to a similar extent, with the physiology version covering more of the factors involved with metabolic acidosis and exercise physiology. Both versions are geared to upper-level undergraduates.


Rice ’n Beans or Ricin Beans?: A Deadly Swap

Taylor must write a report about a natural toxin while she is home from college on break. After a family dinner conversation about the latest attempt to poison a politician via a letter, Taylor decides to explore how ricin acts as a poison. Students work in small groups to help Taylor by working through figures from primary literature papers and exploring the use of an in vitro translation system, sucrose gradient fractionation and the effect of inhibiting various steps of translation.  A shorter, second day activity involves students looking further at the effect of ricin upon ribosome function and at the ricin protein itself.  Students individually complete a cumulative assignment of writing a letter back to Mom and Dad about how ricin has its effects. This case was designed for use in a second semester biochemistry course or a molecular biology course that incorporates the mechanism of transcription. Prerequisite knowledge includes a general understanding of the steps of translation and the ability to interpret data from agarose gels.


Snow White Apples?: RNAi and Genetically Modified Foods

The protagonist of this two-day flipped case study, “Maria,” has two problems. She doesn’t like it when the apple slices in her lunch turn brown, and she needs to find a project for her biology class that includes molecular biology, preferably one that incorporates plants. Students are enlisted to help Maria understand Arctic Apples™, which don’t turn brown because they have been genetically modified to suppress the expression of polyphenol oxidase via RNAi. The case also explores the health, environmental, and safety aspects of growing and eating plants that have been genetically modified to use RNAi. The case applies the central dogma of biology to the creation of genetically modified foods and RNAi and includes a discussion of whether genetically modified foods should be labeled. Several videos are included with the case, including one created by the author specifically for the case. The case is appropriate for use in an introductory level biology or survey level biochemistry course.


The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: Advanced Edition 

This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergenicity. The case has two versions, or editions.  The "General Edition," also published on this site, emphasizes the basic biochemistry and scientific ethics issues associated with genetically modified foods. This edition (the "Advanced Edition") probes the same issues but in greater detail and is appropriate for upper-level biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics classes.


The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: General Edition 

This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergenicity. The case has two versions, or editions.  This edition (the "General Edition") emphasizes the basic biochemistry and scientific ethics issues associated with genetically modified foods. Originally developed for use in a biochemistry course, it is also appropriate for use in a non-majors general, organic, and biochemistry (GOB) course and in a general biology course.  The "Advanced Edition," also published on this site, probes the same issues but in greater detail and is appropriate for upper-level biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics classes.