The Campus Coffee Shop
Department of Biology
North Carolina Central University
Center for Instructional Technology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Since caffeine is a widely used substance, especially by college age students, this case on the effects of caffeine on the human body serves as a real-world connection to many students’ lives. The case is divided into sections covering background information on caffeine, cell biology and signal transduction, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular effects, and addiction/withdrawal. The case was designed so that a section can be used alone or in combination with other sections, as dictated by topic/curriculum needs. It would be appropriate for use in a variety of science and health related courses, including anatomy and physiology, disease related courses, genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience.
- Identify sources of caffeine in foods and drinks.
- Describe the chemical structure of caffeine and general physiological effects of caffeine consumption.
- Explain which molecules in the nervous system interact with caffeine.
- Determine the relationship between caffeine consumption and the incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
- Hypothesize biological explanations for the correlation between caffeine and Parkinson’s.
- Explain the molecular basis of changes in blood pressure in response to caffeine.
- Determine potential outcomes of interactions between caffeine and catecholamine signaling pathways.
- Identify symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
- Differentiate between drug dependence and drug addiction, and categorize caffeine into one of these states.
- Explain how adenosine and dopamine contribute to caffeine dependence or addiction.
KeywordsCaffeine; receptor function; adenosine receptor; signal transduction; cell signaling; Parkinson's disease; neurotransmitters; vasoconstriction; catecholamine; blood pressure; substance use; caffeine addiction; caffeine withdrawal; experimental design
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsInterrupted, Jig-Saw
Subject HeadingsCell Biology | Molecular Biology | Biochemistry | Physiology | Neuroscience | Genetics / Heredity |
Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.
Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.