Killer T Cell - The Cancer Assassin

Description: Researchers at the University of Cambridge captured this dramatic footage of killer (cytotoxic) T cells capturing and destroying cancer cells. These white blood cells identify chemicals on the surface of virally-infected or cancerous cells. They then inject chemicals which lead to the death of the infected or cancerous cell. This phenomenon can be used introduce the cell as a basic unit of life or be used in a larger unit on interacting systems or homeostasis.

Web Resources:  Body’s ‘serial killers’ captured on film destroying cancer cells - University of Cambridge, Cytotoxic T cells - Wikipedia



Description:  Synesthesia can be used as an anchoring phenomenon when designing a unit on the hierarchy of life and sensation. Students find this perceptual phenomenon interesting and to properly understand what is going on they will have to understand a specific living system (the nervous system) in much greater detail than what is presented in the video. Students could even develop a test to determine if they, or their classmates, have synesthesia.

Web Resource:  Synesthesia - Wikipedia


White Blood Cell Chases Bacteria

Description:  In this dramatic movie from the 1950's a neutrophil chases and engulfs a bacteria. White blood cells like this neutrophil are an important part of our immune system. They will migrate to a site of infection or inflammation through chemotaxis and eliminate invading microbes. This phenomenon will hopefully lead to a number of student questions like:  How does the white blood cell follow the bacteria? What happens once the microbe is engulfed? etc.

Web Resources:  Neutrophil Chasing Bacteria - About the Movie, Neutrophil - Wikipedia


The Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lacks

Description:  This TEDEd video written by Robin Bulleri details the story of Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cell line. A more detailed account of this story can be found in Rebecca Skloot's book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This story can be used to illustrate the role of cells in the proper functioning, growth, and reproduction of living organisms. It also can be used to explore ethics within scientific research.

Web Resources:  HeLa - Wikipedia, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Amazon