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Julia Omarzu
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Loras College
Selecting the Perfect Baby: The Ethics of Embryo Design

This dilemma case is based on the true story of Jack and Lisa Nash, whose daughter Molly was born with a rare genetic disorder, Fanconi anemia. By having another child with specific genetic markers, the Nashes hoped to cure Molly using stem cells from the new baby’s umbilical cord blood. Students learn about developmental disorders and consider the ethical issues of genetic manipulation and fertility treatments. Although the case was written for beginning developmental psychology students, the issues raised involving genetic manipulation, advances in medical technology, and scientific ethics would be relevant in many other science courses.

Split My Brain: A Case Study of Seizure Disorder and Brain Function

This case study involves a couple deciding whether or not their son should undergo brain surgery to treat a severe seizure disorder. In examining this dilemma, students apply knowledge of brain anatomy and function. They also learn about brain scanning techniques and discuss the plasticity of the brain. The case was written for an introductory psychology course, but could be adapted for any course that covers brain anatomy, neurological disorders, or rehabilitation therapies.