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Yunqiu (Daniel) Wang
Senior Lecturer
Department of Biology
University of Miami
Bioluminescence and 16th-century Caravaggism: The Glowing Intersection between Art and Science

This case study looks at the probable connection between bioluminescence and Caravaggio's painting style in the 16th century in order to explore the mechanism of bioluminescence and its role in animal evolution and modern medicine. Recent studies have uncovered the precise biochemical mechanism of bioluminescence and have made a number of breakthroughs in understanding the chain of evolutionary events that led to animal species acquiring bioluminescence as a communication tool for reproduction and survival. The case includes several videos created by the author to prepare students in advance for the case study in class. Originally developed for a sophomore level undergraduate biology course, the case could also be used in biochemistry, physiology, or animal behavior courses. Before attempting the case, students should have a basic background in  reduction/oxidation reactions in inorganic chemistry, stereoisomerism in organic chemistry, enzymes and their role in chemical reactions, cell structure and organelles, cell communication, cellular respiration, and animal behavior and evolution in general biology.