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Michael L. Homesley, Jr.
Graduate Student
Department of Physiology
North Carolina State University
Applying High-Throughput Analysis to Biofilms 

This case study describes a hypothetical scenario in which a dental practice is contaminated from an unknown source resulting in multiple patients contracting the same bacterial infection. Simplified procedural information is provided for students to analyze and work toward determining the origin of the bacteria. Because this activity leads to a discussion of microbial biofilms, a second assignment is included that reviews the published methods of a high-throughput experiment for analyzing biofilms. The protocol of this experiment was incorporated into the case in a way that can be understood by the desired audience, and consideration was taken to ensure that the integrity of this central study was not compromised. The goal of this portion of the case study is to introduce the concept of high-throughput technologies to upper-level undergraduate students who already have a foundation in basic biology laboratory practices.  Questions are included for both sections of the case to assess overall understanding of the material and to facilitate discussion.