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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.


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 Areas


Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods

Directed, Jig-Saw



Subject Headings

Physiology  |   Anatomy  |  

Date Posted


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