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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.


HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; retrovirus; reverse transcriptase; T cell; immune system; immunity; AIDS; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; infectious disease; experimental design; data interpretation

Topical Areas

Scientific method

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division


PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

Clicker, Discussion, Interrupted, Journal Article



Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Molecular Biology  |   Cell Biology  |   Physiology  |   Microbiology  |   Medicine (General)  |   Public Health  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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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.

Supplemental Materials

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

  Click and Learn: Cells of the Immune System hhmi/

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.


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.