Face the Fats
The Biochemistry of Lipids
Department of Biology
University of South Alabama
This clicker case introduces students to the biochemistry of lipids through the story of Pete, a college student who begins to consider his nutritional fat intake after watching a commercial for the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin. In this case, students learn to differentiate the chemical composition of steroids, phospholipids, and fats as well as how lipids affect our health, both in positive and negative ways. Additionally, students learn how trans fats are manufactured and why they can have negative health side-effects. The case is designed for use in an introductory biology course either for science majors or non-majors. It could potentially be further modified for use in an upper-level biochemistry or cell biology class. The case is called a clicker case because it combines the use of PowerPoint slides (~3.74MB) and student response systems ("clickers") with a case storyline and questions. The case could be modifed however for use without these technologies.
- Define lipid and biochemically differentiate steroid, phospholipid, and fat.
- Explain the biochemical and nutritional differences between saturated and unsaturated fats.
- Know how cholesterol and fats are transported through the bloodstream.
- Understand how trans fats are generated and why they are unhealthy.
KeywordsFats; lipids; fatty acid; HDL cholesterol; LDL cholesterol; saturated; unsaturated; trans-fat
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Nutrition | Food Science / Technology | Public Health |
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The following supplemental materials are recommended for use with this case study:Click-and-Learn: Molecular Structure of Fat
Click-and-Learn: How the Body Uses Fat
Poster: The Science of Fat
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The following video(s) are recommended for use in association with this case study.
- Animation: The Fate of Fat
This short animation provides an overview of how dietary fat gets digested, packaged, and sent to various tissues for storage or energy. Running time: 2:08 min. Produced by: HHMI BioInteractive.