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Derek Dube
Assistant Professor
ddube@usj.edu
Department of Biology
University of Saint Joseph
The Ebola Wars: Mission Immune Evasion

Through a unique anthropomorphic view and the integration of game-based learning, this case study explores how the Ebola virus can evade the immune response. In working through the case, students are challenged to examine the first, second and third lines of defense of the immune response and the weapons that the Ebola virus employs to remain undetected by the immune system. Students apply their knowledge of Ebola virus evasion of the immune response using an online game specifically developed to accompany the case. Initially designed to be implemented in a general biology, microbiology, or anatomy and physiology course, this case has also been used with advanced high school students. All characters are fictional. Students should have a preliminary understanding of the lines of defense of the immune response prior to working on the case, as well as foundational knowledge on viral structure, function and life cycles.


The Ebola Wars: Advanced Edition 

This case study was written for upper level undergraduate and graduate students to review foundational aspects of virology and to examine Ebola virus infection in detail. Terry is a college student who travels to a West African clinic for the summer as a volunteer. While abroad, Terry comes into contact with a patient infected with the Ebola virus and later displays the signs and symptoms of an Ebola virus infection. Terry then learns about the general features of viruses and viral life cycles, as well as the most up to date information about features unique to the Ebola virus, the host cell response to Ebola virus infection, and treatment options. Students are expected to have a basic knowledge of cell biology, the central dogma, and viral life cycles.  Students are asked to think critically and apply information learned in the case to answer questions, create hypotheses, and design appropriate biological experiments. A more general version of the case, suitable for a general biology course, is also available on this site.


The Ebola Wars: General Edition 

This case study introduces students to viruses and is suitable for a general biology course. Terry is a college student who travels to a West African clinic for the summer as a volunteer. While abroad, Terry comes into contact with a patient infected with the Ebola virus and later displays the signs and symptoms of an Ebola virus infection. Over the course of the case study Terry learns about the general features of viruses, viral life cycles, in addition to the unique features of the Ebola virus and treatment options. The case is presented in an interrupted fashion. Students are expected to have prior knowledge of protein, lipid and nucleic acid structure and function, the parts of the cells (e.g., the properties of the cell membrane and the role of ribosomes) and the central dogma (e.g., the processes of transcription and translation). An advanced version of the case, intended for upper level undergraduate and graduate students, is also available on this site.