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Resistance Is Futile, Or is It? The Clicker Version


Steven L. Telleen
Biology Department
San Joaquin Delta College


This clicker case is an adaptation of a case by Annie Prud'homme-Généreux that was originally published by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science titled "Resistance Is Futile ... or Is It? The Immunity System and HIV Infection." It has been reformatted to use clickers and a PowerPoint presentation, and is reduced in scope to fit a 90-minute class. The case uses the results of the landmark paper by Paxton and his colleagues (Paxton et. al., 1996) that offered the first breakthrough in understanding why some people are protected against HIV infection. During the presentation, students make hypotheses, predict the outcome of experiments, and compare their predictions with real data. This adaptation was developed for use in an undergraduate, lower-division human physiology class when covering the immune system. Instructors interested in using it are advised to read the teaching notes for the original case for a full background.

  • Formulate testable hypotheses given preliminary data.
  • Suggest tests to evaluate hypotheses.
  • Predict results of experiments that would confirm each hypothesis.
  • Interpret data and compare to predicted outcomes.
  • Describe cellular and humoral immunity.
  • Describe the interaction of the HIV virus with the immune system.
  • Debate the pros and cons of personal knowledge of HIV resistance and immunity.
Keywords: HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; retrovirus; reverse transcriptase; T cell; immune system; immunity; AIDS; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; infectious disease; experimental design; data interpretation
Topical Area: Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Clicker, Discussion, Interrupted, Journal Article
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Molecular Biology   Cell Biology   Physiology   Microbiology   Medicine (General)   Public Health  
Date Posted: 8/22/2011
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.

Teaching Notes

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Answer Key

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Supplemental Materials

The supplemental material below may be used with this case study:

  Click and Learn: Cells of the Immune System hhmi/
An 11-slide presentation with accompanying worksheet that describes the non-specific defense system called the innate and adaptive immune system. Produced by HHMI BioInteractive.


The following video(s) are recommended for use in association with this case study.

  HIV Life Cycle hhmi/
A short video clip explaining how HIV infects a cell and replicates itself using reverse transcriptase and the host's cellular machinery. Running time: 4:52 min. Produced by HHMI BioInteractive.

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