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Keith K. Schillo
Assistant Professor
Biology Department
SUNY College at Oneonta
Muscleman: A Surprising Case of Shrinkage

This case is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of negative feedback regulation. Basic principles of negative feedback systems are illustrated by focusing on the effects of anabolic steroids on the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular system. The use of these drugs in sports provides the context for the case. Specifically, the case provides basic information about the regulation of testicular function and then focuses on a side effect of anabolic steroid use; i.e., testicular atrophy. Students are required to develop hypotheses to explain this side effect and devise ways to test their hypotheses. They are also asked to think beyond the scope of the case and apply basic principles to explain other conditions affecting testicular function. The case is suitable for use in any physiology course and might also be useful for a core course in general biology.

Nature or Nurture: The Case of the Boy Who Became a Girl

This case explores the question of whether gender identity is determined strictly by genetics (nature) or social variables (nurture).  It is based on a true story about a man who was raised as a girl and later rejected the female gender identity.  The case is designed to help students think scientifically about sex and gender and introduce them to the concept of sexual differentiation. Although developed for an undergraduate course in human anatomy and physiology as an introduction to discussions of the reproductive system, it could be used in a general biology course as a way of giving students practice with critical analysis and making predictions based on theories as well as in a developmental biology course as a way to apply information from animal models to human sex and sexuality.