This unit is an ambitious undertaking to capture the essence of the drug development process and make the information accessible to high school students. The lessons are linked by a common scenario taken from the Secrets of the Rainforest lab by Bio-Rad which is as follows:
"While hiking through the Andean Rainforest, Tisha obtains medicinal plants, which she brings back to Biotex, a biotechnology company working on a cure for cancer. Biotex scientists determine that the leaves contain a fluorescent green protein (GFP) which may be a possible cure for cancer. The GFP gene from the leaves is inserted into bacterial cells to produce big quantities of GFP protein. The GFP protein will then undergo pre-clinical and clinical trials to hopefully become a new cancer-curing drug in the future."
The students will assume the role of Tisha and embark in following the different experimental protocols to ultimately produce purified GFP protein. In this unit, the students will learn and practice skills on aseptic techniques, pouring and streaking plates, bacterial transformation and chromatography to synthesize a theoretical treatment for cancer. There are also lessons in Mathematics and English that complement the CTE lessons that make this unit interestingly cross-curricular.
Note to the Teacher: The lessons in this unit can still be be used even if you are not using the "Secrets of the Rainforest" lab by Bio-Rad. There are a lot of activities and resources that you can peruse in each lesson that do not need the Bio-Rad lab kit.
The structure of this unit and the materials contained within it were created by Lilibeth Pinpin (CTE) with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by the Course Specialist Sheri Coburn.