A Look Into Stem Cell Research
VA Western New York Healthcare System
Using a combination of directed case method and role-playing in which students learn about their roles using the jigsaw technique, this case study teaches about the main concepts of stem cell research and therapy and the political and ethical issues surrounding these subjects. The case begins by describing the riding accident that left actor Christopher Reeve paralyzed and ends by posing a final open-ended question that encourages student debate and discussion. The case can be used in a general biology class, an ethics class, or a public policy class.
- Define the three types of stem cells.
- Understand the differences between embryonic and adult stem cells.
- List some pros and cons with adult stem cell usage and embryonic stem cell usage.
- Describe the methods of embryonic stem cell isolation.
- Identify various applications of stem cell research.
- Understand how public and private funding can affect research.
- Understand the ethical concerns surrounding stem cell isolation and research.
- Understand how the issue of abortion arises with embryonic stem cell isolation.
- Understand the potential of stem cell therapy.
- Defend a position on this issue.
KeywordsStem cell; embryonic; totipotent; pluripotent; multipotent; germ line; blastocyst; mitosis; replication; somatic cell nuclear transfer; human cloning; organ transplantation; in-vitro fertilization; stem cell therapy; abortion; paralysis; Christopher Reeve
Topical AreasEthics, Policy issues, Social issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsDirected, Jig-Saw, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Cell Biology | Molecular Biology |