OpenStax Biology 2e

Access, develop and share resources created by the OpenStax community that align with OpenStax Biology 2e. As of March 28, 2018, resources shared here pertain to OpenStax Biology 2e and not the original edition of OpenStax Biology.
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All resources in OpenStax Biology 2e

Biochemistry and Pharmacology of Synaptic Transmission, Fall 2007

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Considers the process of neurotransmission, especially chemicals used in the brain and elsewhere to carry signals from nerve terminals to the structures they innervate. Focuses on monoamine transmitters (acetylcholine; serotonin; dopamine and norepinephrine); also examines amino acid and peptide transmitters and neuromodulators like adenosine. Macromolecules that mediate neurotransmitter synthesis, release, inactivation, and receptor-mediated actions are discussed, as well as factors that regulate their activity and the second-messenger systems they control.

Material Type: Full Course

Author: Wurtman, Richard

Pharmacogenetics: Using Genetics to Treat Disease

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This case study investigates the applications of genetics to medicine by exploring one of the first examples of a pharmacogenetic test to enter mainstream clinical practice. Pharmacogenetics examines how genetic variations in an individual correlate with responses to a specific medication in order to develop tailored medical treatments. Through a scenario based on clinical observations, students learn about acute lymphocytic leukemia as well as the wide range of individual responses to the drug used to treat it. Then, students interpret data similar to those initially published in scientific journals in order to construct an understanding of how genetic variation can be used to "tailor" medical care. Lastly, students are asked to apply their understanding of what they have learned in the case by making the appropriate medical recommendation based on a particular individual's genotype.

Material Type: Case Study

Author: Jeanne Ting Chowning

Biology, The Chemistry of Life, The Chemical Foundation of Life, Atoms, Isotopes, Ions, and Molecules: The Building Blocks Published

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By the end of this section, you will be able to:Define matter and elementsDescribe the interrelationship between protons, neutrons, and electronsCompare the ways in which electrons can be donated or shared between atomsExplain the ways in which naturally occurring elements combine to create molecules, cells, tissues, organ systems, and organisms

Material Type: Module


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Biology is designed for multi-semester biology courses for science majors. It is grounded on an evolutionary basis and includes exciting features that highlight careers in the biological sciences and everyday applications of the concepts at hand. To meet the needs of today’s instructors and students, some content has been strategically condensed while maintaining the overall scope and coverage of traditional texts for this course. Instructors can customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom. Biology also includes an innovative art program that incorporates critical thinking and clicker questions to help students understand—and apply—key concepts.

Material Type: Full Course

Adolescent Health and Development

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The course consists of lectures, readings, discussions, panels of guest speakers, group and individual projects. The purpose of the lectures, readings, discussion and panels of guest speakers is to explore a variety of aspects of adolescence and adolescent health. The group and individual projects are meant to help students develop skills to work in multi-disciplinary teams and analyze adolescent health concerns through conceptual frameworks and recommend effective solutions through interventions.

Material Type: Full Course, Lecture Notes, Syllabus

Author: Blum, Robert

Case Studies in Primary Health Care

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This course introduces students to the origins, concepts, and development of community-based primary health care through case studies from both developing and developed countries. As in clinical bedside teaching, we use real cases to help students develop problem-solving skills in practical situations. We also discuss participatory approaches in the organization and management of health services and other factors such as equity, socio-cultural change, environmental protection, and the process of community empowerment.Included among this course's lecture materials are several recorded presentations by Carl Taylor, a giant in the field of international health. Dr. Taylor recorded the presentations for this course in January of 2008, just 2 years before he passed away in February of 2010.

Material Type: Full Course, Homework/Assignment, Lecture, Reading, Syllabus

Authors: Carl Taylor, Henry Perry, Henry Taylor

Child Health and Development

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This course focuses on the core processes of growth and development in early to middle childhood. Considers developmental theories, issues and research findings related to physical growth and cognitive, emotional, and social development. Considers appropriate instruments to assess growth and development. Evaluates efficacy of popular early intervention programs designed to enhance development in at-risk populations of children.

Material Type: Full Course, Homework/Assignment, Lecture, Lecture Notes, Reading, Syllabus

Authors: Lynne Michael Blum, Robert Blum

D-Lab: Medical Technologies for the Developing World, Spring 2010

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D-Lab Health provides a multidisciplinary approach to global health technology design via guest lectures and a major project based on fieldwork. We will explore the current state of global health challenges and learn how to design medical technologies that address those problems. Students may travel to Nicaragua during spring break to work with health professionals, using medical technology design kits to gain field experience for their device challenge. As a final class deliverable, you will create a product design solution to address challenges observed in the field. The resulting designs are prototyped in the summer for continued evaluation and testing.

Material Type: Full Course

Author: Gomez-Marquez, Jose

Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

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Introduces the basic methods for infectious disease epidemiology and case studies of important disease syndromes and entities. Methods include definitions and nomenclature, outbreak investigations, disease surveillance, case-control studies, cohort studies, laboratory diagnosis, molecular epidemiology, dynamics of transmission, and assessment of vaccine field effectiveness. Case-studies focus on acute respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, malaria, and other vector-borne diseases.

Material Type: Case Study, Full Course, Homework/Assignment, Lecture Notes, Syllabus

Author: Kenrad Nelson

Fundamentals of Epidemiology I

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Fundamentals of Epidemiology I is the first half of a course that introduces the basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as applied to public health problems. Emphasis is placed on the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation, appropriate summaries and displays of data, and the use of classical statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. Topics include the dynamic behavior of disease; usage of rates, ratios and proportions; methods of direct and indirect adjustment, and clinical life table which measures and describes the extent of disease problems.

Material Type: Full Course, Lecture Notes, Reading, Syllabus

Authors: Marie Diener-West, Sukon Kanchanaraksa

Human Growth and Development

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This course addresses essential learning outcomes in normal growth, development and nutrition across the lifespan, inclusive of aging. Its focus is on normal function rather than disease. Includes lectures, handouts, schedules, and student notes.

Material Type: Full Course, Lecture Notes, Lesson Plan, Student Guide


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Immunology is the study of our immune system, a highly sophisticated system that defends us against all disease-causing invaders by identifying and neutralizing such threats. As with any system in our body, when the immune system malfunctions, disease can result. In this course the student will take a look at what happens when an inappropriate immune response takes place. (Biology 407)

Material Type: Full Course

Antiobiotic Resistance

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In the explorable explanation players can learn how antibiotic resistance happens. They can interact with bacteria in this simulation to learn how when living things reproduce, there is a small amount of variance in their offspring. This allows organisms to respond to changes in their environment over several generations. Applied to bacteria, when they treated with antibiotics, only the strongest survive and multiply, creating an increasing resilient population.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Game, Interactive, Simulation

Breathing Lessons

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Here learners investigate, diagnose, and assess the severity of emphysema in the lungs of three patients using transverse CT images of the upper and lower lungs. Students use the imaging software WebImage, a Web-based customized version of ImageJ, to determine the area of "dead air" in each section and hence the extent of emphysema.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Lesson Plan, Simulation, Unit of Study

Heart Attack and Blocked Arteries

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Dr. Rosenthal uses a model of a heart and an artery to describe how blockages lead to heart attack and tissue damage. This video presentation is also featured on the DVD Potent Biology: Stem Cells, Cloning, and Regeneration, available free from HHMI. This video is 51 seconds in length, and available in MOV (25 MB) and WMV (38 MB). All Stem Cells videos are located at:

Material Type: Lecture, Reading, Simulation

Author: Dr. Rosenthal