Putting bioscience into context

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These slides are from a workshop "Putting bioscience into context: exercises to enhance engagement" run at the Society for Experimental Biology conference in Canterbury (April 2006).


  • 1.Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry University of Leicester [email_address] Putting bioscience into context: exercises to enhance engagement Society for Experimental Biology (Canterbury) Universityof Leicester

2. Outline of session

  • Problem-based learning in Biology
  • How does my course content relate to theoutside world?
  • Examples some mine, some others

Universityof Leicester 3. Outline of session

  • Case studies/ scenarios
  • Debate and role-play
  • Card-based problems
  • TV programmes, inc.
    • Structured activity based on news footage
    • Clips from other programmes
    • Knowing whats on and when

Universityof Leicester 4. Case Study (1) - Carl J.

  • At age 5, viral myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle)
  • Developed prolonged and worsening heart difficulties (dilated cardiomyopathy)
  • Now aged 12, Carl easily becomes tired and is frequently breathless; he cannot walk far
  • A heart transplant is his only hope of survival
  • No human donor has become available, but there is a trial programme using pig hearts

Would YOU advise Carls parents to put him forward for the trial?Why/why not? Universityof Leicester 5. Case Study (1) - Carl J.

  • Example comments include:
  • Hes going to die anyway, so why not give it a try
  • Yuk!
  • What about animal rights?
  • These comments are brought into discussion at relevant point in subsequent discussion
  • e.g. risk of viral infection means more than just safety of individual patient at stake

Universityof Leicester 6. Case study (2) Wendy & PaulWendy and Paul Carter have been married for twelve years.They would love to have children.Unfortunately, Wendy had breast cancer when she was 28 and although the chemotherapy has brought total remission from the disease it also caused damage to her ovaries that have made her infertile. Paul and Wendy have been on the waiting list at their local IVF clinic for a number of months awaiting donated eggs to try and have a baby.At present, however, there are 200 potential mothers seeking each donated egg and the couple know that realistically they may never receive a donated egg via the normal channels. Researchers at the hospital attached to the IVF clinic have recently gained permission to carry out experimental procedures using eggs harvested from aborted foetuses.The technique is controversial, but for Paul and Wendy it may represent their only chance to receive a donated egg. Universityof Leicester 7. What are the issues involved in this case? -Feel free to include aspects of the case that are likely to be issues for other people, your contributions need not be limited to your own opinions. Case study (2) Wendy & PaulUniversityof Leicester 8.

  • This case- content is fictional but based on real ideasand statistics - used in Session 1 of 6 in bioethics series - used as vehicle to introduce more philosophical aspects

Case study (2) Wendy & PaulUniversityof Leicester 9.

  • Deontological (first principles)
  • Does a foetus have any rights?
  • Does the mother have any rights or say in theupbringing of their grandchild?
  • Should people be allowed to manipulate nature for
  • their own gain?
  • Consequentialist (outcomes)
  • What would be the psychological effects on the child?
  • If the child turns out to be defective then who is
  • culpable?
  • What is the likelihood of success?

Case study (2) example commentsUniversityof Leicester 10. Pharmaceutical development (1)Concerned by news coverage of increasing MRSA infection rates, you and your fellow directors of SmartaPharma plc decide to develop a new antibacterial compound.What stages will you need to go through from your initial idea until you have an effective (and profitable) medicine available for patients? Universityof Leicester 11. Pharmaceutical development (2)

  • Scientific stages in drug development: - finding lead compound -in vitrotesting - animal testing - clinical trials: stages- who?- how many? - how long? - why done?

Image from http://www.sandc.com Universityof Leicester 12. Pharmaceutical development (3)

  • Economic and legal stages:- students always forget to file a patent! - permission to administer:- when?- who from? - marketing

Image from http://www.foremostmachine.com Universityof Leicester 13. Pharmaceutical development (4)

  • Lead into discussion of: - drug lifetime - named v generics - patent extending - counterfeiting
  • - why are drug companies actually movingAWAY from antibacterials?

Image from http://industry.am.nsk.com Universityof Leicester 14. Debate & role-play

  • Traditional debate, This house believes
  • Role-play allows students to become more immersed in the scenario
  • Example Use of the rainforest (Southgate, 2002)

Universityof Leicester 15. Use of the rainforest

  • UN Conference on Environment and Development
  • Roles, representatives of: - Government in country - A logging company - Indigenous forest-dwellers - Subsistence farmers in the area - Cattle ranchers - A multinational chemical company - UN commission on Sustainable Development

Southgate (2002) Universityof Leicester 16. Other suitable role-play scenarios

  • Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis - Saviour sibling
  • Roles, e.g.:- specialist doctor - sick child - parents - genetic counsellor- pro-life campaigner
  • Task set, might be: Write scientifically accurate sketch (as team), or Research role ready for improvised TV show

Universityof Leicester 17. Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (1)Production of Medically Important Proteins Using Recombinant DNA Techniques 18. 8 Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (2)FLOW DIAGRAM OF CLONING A GENE You must now decide how to clone your gene : (1) cDNA library - Go to 9 (2) genomic library - Go to 10 19. 36 Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (3)YEAST VECTORS YEp213 Multicopy, DNA plasmid Shuttle vector - bacterial and yeast origins of replication (ORI) 2m sequences (ORI andSTB) Selective markers : Yeast : auxotrophic marker -LEU2gene (LEU2) Bacteria : Ampicillin resistance (Amp R) Tetracycline resistance (Tet R) Cloning vector Go to 37 20. YEAST-SUMMARY You have cloned your gene into a yeast expression vector.Check the table to see if you have expressed a protein. 76 Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (4)78 yes Somatostatin genomic Hind III pJP31 78 yes Factor IX 78 yes hEGF 78 yes Somatostatin cDNA Hind III pJP31 81 no Any cDNA / genomic Bam HI YEp213 Go to ExpressionProtein Insert DNA Enzyme site Plasmid 21. 81 FAILURE !!!!! You have not been able to express your genein this host - vector system.The reasons for this are : You have cloned into pBR322 or YEp213. These are cloning vectors which have no expression signals, also the insert DNA does not have any expression signals therefore there is no expression of the protein. Choose an expression vector-Go to 34, 36 or 38. N.B . Another possible reason for the absence of expression is that the gene may have been inserted into the vector in the incorrect orientation, therefore is unable to use the vectors promoter sequences. If the sequence or restriction map of the gene is known then restriction mapping can be used to determine whether this is the case. Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (5) 22. 83 SUCCESS Well done !!!! You have successfully produced your protein and it is biologically active. Producing a cell that synthesises large amounts of a desired protein is only the first stage in achieving a useful process. It is important to be able to recover the protein by a simple, economical method that results in high yields of a biologically active protein.Cell cultures can be scaled up and grown in large fermentors, and then the protein can be purified using a number of methods. Annette Cashmore, GENIE CETL, University of Leicester Card-based problems (6) 23. TV footage why?

  • Familiar visual medium
  • Can be used to: - convey information - as discussion starters
  • Clips save time over full programme

Universityof Leicester 24. What sort of programmes?

  • Horizon, e.g. - Whos afraid of designer babies? (2005) - The dark secret of Hendrik Sch n (2004)
  • Drama documentaries, e.g. - Born with two mothers (Channel 4, 2005)
  • Other drama, e.g.- The Simpsons (e.g. Trash of the Titans) - The family man (BBC1, 2006)
  • News clips - topical - pithy summary

Universityof Leicester 25. Therapeutic cloning

  • Discussion after the clip could be taken in a number of directions:
  • The science of therapeutic cloning including difficulties
  • The ethical dilemmas including moral philosophy
  • Public understanding of science, the responsibility of scientists and media

Universityof Leicester 26. Knowing whats on and when

  • Radio Times (other listings magazines are available)
  • www.trilt.ac.uk Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching But, news isnt not known in advance!
  • Today programme (Radio 4)
  • BBC website, esp. Health sub-section

Universityof Leicester 27. Getting hold of programmes & clips

  • Off-Air Recordings
  • Back-upwww.bufvc.ac.uk/services/offair.html British Universities Film & Video Council
  • Institutions set their own fee, e.g. at Leicester: - 1.50 for off-air at time of transmission - 10 for use of the BUFVC back-up service - Rates per hour for editing &/or converting to different format

Universityof Leicester 28.

  • Think of as many ways as possible that you might link one or more of the following news stories to your teaching of: (a) basic bioscience and/or(b) bioethics?

Hwang cloning scandal Bird flu Herceptin Images from http://news.bbc.co.uk/ Using News stories in Bioscience 29. Cancer biologyCell cycle control H umane pidermal growth factorr eceptor (HER2) Monoclonal antibodies Therapeutic antibodies Resource allocation Clinical trials Herceptin 30. Therapeutic cloningResearch ethics Science ofstem cells Fraud Ethics of stemcells research Hwang cloning scandal 31. Mode of action (Neuraminidase inhibitors)Should wild birds be culled? Medicines: Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), Relenza (Zanamivir) Public perception of risk Bird fluVirus biology Limited drugs/vaccines: who gets them first? 32. References

  • Southgate C. (2002)The use of the rainforest as a test case in environmental ethics, inBioethics for Scientists(Ed: Bryant, Baggott la Velle and Searle)
  • Willmott C. (2004)Ethics and BioethicsBioethics Briefing No. 1(LTSN/ Higher Education Academy Centre for Bioscience), available online athttp://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/ethicsbrief.htm
  • Willmott C (2006)Never again shout, that WOULD have been useful for my teaching! at the TVBioscience Education E-journal 7 -C1, available online at http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol7/beej-7-C1.htm

Universityof Leicester