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Karen S. Huffman
Assistant Professor
kshuffmankelly@genesee.edu
Math and Science Department
Genesee Community College
A Different Kind of Stress: Protein Trafficking and the Unfolded Protein Response

Protein folding and trafficking is essential for normal cell function, and when it goes awry it can lead to various chronic conditions, including fatty liver disease, diabetes, and Parkinson's. The narrative of this case study follows two undergraduate students engaged in a summer research project evaluating the effects of cell stress on cell function and health in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans).  During the case study, students review animal cell organelle function and then learn about endoplasmic stress and unfolded protein response. Prior knowledge needed for the case is basic animal cell organelles and their functions and use of model organisms in research. The case was designed for a flipped classroom in which students prepare in advance by taking a quiz and watching two videos; a PowerPoint animation is also included. Originally written for a non-majors biology class, the case could also be used for a first year majors' class.