Immunology and Biotechnology
Detection of HIV Exposure
Students explore the fundamental principle of immune system specificity while performing a
diagnostic test widely used in medical and research laboratories for the identification and
quantization of infections. In the example used, antibodies to the HIV virus are detected
which indicates infection of the individual tested. The ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbant
assay) can also be used to identify the presence of antigen from a virus or bacteria in blood
or tissue samples or to monitor the level of a hormone or other component in the blood.
Molecular Effects of Smoking
Carcinogens and the Cell Cycle
Students explore the important biological concepts of DNA structure and protein function,
by looking at the molecular effects of exposure to the chemicals in tobacco smoke. Students
examine the interaction of the carcinogen, benzopyrene, with DNA and its mutagenic effect
on protein structure through model building and analysis of a mutagen database. Students also
have the opportunity to observe the effect of tobacco chemicals on invertebrates behavior.
This class can be expanded into multiple sessions which can include looking at cancer and
the control of the cell cycle through role play, looking at the inheritance of a cancer gene,
exploring the effects of smoke on fetal development, and the effect of nicotine on the
function of the nervous system.
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