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Lauren E. Yaich
Associate Professor / Chair
Division of Biological and Health Sciences
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Sonic Hedgehog: Genetic Abnormalities and Tissue Donations

In this case study about a baby born with the genetic condition holoprosencephaly, students explore the “Sonic hedgehog” gene, signal transduction, and the ethics of body and tissue donation. The assignment involves students writing an informed consent document that explains the science behind this congenital abnormality. Designed for an upper-level undergraduate biology course, the case could also be used in a cell biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, or other related upper-level course.

Stem Cells: Promises to Keep? 

Samantha and her husband Brad have two children, conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization treatments. After viewing a TV program on stem cells and their potential medical uses, Samantha is convinced that they should donate the remaining frozen embryos they have to medical research, an idea Brad strongly objects to. The case teaches about stem cells and their medical applications as well as the ethical dilemmas posed by their use.