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Bad Fish: Human Anatomy and Physiology Edition


James A. Hewlett
Science and Technology Department
Finger Lakes Community College


In this version, developed for a course in human anatomy and physiology, the protagonist of the case, Dr. Westwood, survives an accidental poisoning-not once, but twice. Students read about each incident, applying what they learn in each part of the case to the later sections, and then design a drug to treat the neurotoxin poisoning described in the story. The case comes in three different versions, or editions. This is the Human Anatomy & Physiology Edition, which has a different set of questions than the General Biology Edition or the Cell & Molecular Biology Edition, also in our collection.

  • Apply basic principles of organic and inorganic chemistry to answer questions related to the case.
  • Apply the basic concepts of cell membrane structure and function to answer questions related to the case.
  • Explore the distribution of ions and charged molecules in the cellular environment.
  • Use knowledge of membranes and transport mechanisms to explore membrane potentials (resting and action potentials).
  • Use knowledge of membrane potentials to explore the structure and function of a neuron.
  • Be introduced to the concept of neurotoxins and their actions at the molecular level of cell function.
  • Use rational design to describe the mechanism of action of a drug that students design to treat neurotoxin poisoning.
  • Understand physiological terms used to describe a person suffering from neurotoxin poisoning.
  • Understand the difference between sensory and motor neurons.
  • Understand the connection between motor neurons and muscle function.
  • Explore the function of the autonomic nervous system.
  • Understand the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
  • Use basic experimental observations to explain the mechanism of action of an unknown neurotoxin.
Keywords: Neurotoxin poisoning; toxin; tetrodotoxin; TTX; dissociation constant; membrane function; membrane potential; action potential; neuron; nerve cell; nervous system; muscle function; puffer fish; pufferfish; pitohui; songbird; Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed, Jig-Saw
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Anatomy  
Date Posted: 04/13/03
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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