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Kristy J. Wilson
Assistant Professor
School of Mathematics and Sciences
Marian University
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 to the environment, facilitate development, and maintain homeostasis. The mechanisms by which a cell receives a message and translates it into short-term or long-term effects are as varied as the responses stimulated by cellular signaling. There are, however, some generalized steps that can be applied to many different signaling situations. This case study uses insulin signaling and the pathological case of diabetes as a lens through which students will learn general signaling mechanisms like kinase cascades and second messenger pathways. The case is designed in the interrupted format and has three parts that could be used either as homework or as an in-class activity. It is written for use in a cell biology class for sophomore or junior undergraduates but could also be utilized in biochemistry, physiology, or genetics courses.

Super Bug: Antibiotics and Evolution

Sam, a pre-med college student, routinely gets dialysis and develops a urinary tract infection. The infection is from a bacterium that the news media is calling a "superbug" from India. Sam does some internet searches to find out more information about his condition. He examines popular news stories, primary literature, and considers what the United States should do about the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance. To explore this issue, students form groups in which they are a politician, a parent, or a doctor, with each student bringing different information to the discussion. The case also discusses evolutionary principles and how they connect to antibiotic resistance. The case was developed for an introductory biology course taken by science majors who are not majoring in biology. It could be used in any introductory biology course or even as an introduction for a specific course on evolution.