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Emily C. Gripka
Student
Department of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
University of St. Mary
When Good Antibodies Go Bad 

This interrupted case study was designed for an upper level course in immunology where the topic of autoimmunity is discussed in detail.  The storyline follows a woman with Celiac Disease and the effects that this autoimmune disease has on her life, specifically as it relates to her infertility issues. Although Celiac Disease is only one of many autoimmune diseases, it is a contemporary topic and a disease with which many students are familiar. The prevalence and popularity of gluten-free diets also makes this topic current.  Students should have a background in the basics of B and T cell biology, antibodies and antigens before they use this case to examine the concepts of autoantibodies, hypotheses for the induction of autoimmunity and the manifestations and complications of Celiac Disease. There are also opportunities to discuss types of web-based and scholarly information sources as the students are asked to do research on several emerging topics.