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Katayoun Chamany
Associate Professor
Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Eugene Lang College/ New School University
MDR Tuberculosis: A Case Study for Non-Science Majors Focused on Social Justice Issues

In this case study on multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, students consider ways in which to preserve health as a human right without subjecting already marginalized communities susceptible to the disease to further discrimination. Students learn about the science behind TB diagnostics and current treatment protocols as well as the political and social history of TB outbreaks and the development of MDR TB. The case makes use of video clips, news stories, public health press releases and reports, and other secondary and primary literature. It can be used in a variety of courses that span the undergraduate and graduate level curriculum.

NiƱos Desaparecidos: A Case Study about Genetics and Human Rights 

This case study is based on the identification of 50 children who were displaced during Argentina’s Dirty War of the 1970s, subjected to DNA and protein analysis, and subsequently reunited with their biological families. The case demonstrates the relationship between society and science and the influences that each has on the other. In addition, the case serves to address the issues of genes in populations, ethnic diversity, statistical significance, bias in interpretation, and gene databanks. Students will learn that the identification of individuals using molecular markers can be a useful tool in certain situations but that each type of analysis has its limitations. The teaching notes outline two different ways the case can be taught, i.e., as either an interrupted case or according to a role-playing format. This case was used in a cell and molecular biology lab course for majors, and in a first year seminar for non-majors. The case can be adapted for courses in politics, history, and identity, as well as more advanced courses in genomics.