7 Biomedical Concepts that are Easier to Teach with Labster

Ginelle Testa

You want your students to learn biomedicine in the best way possible. Maybe lesson planning is taking up too much time, you’re recycling the same labs over and over, biomedicine lab equipment is too expensive or inaccessible, or you’re a new teacher. 

Whatever the case, we’ve gathered 7 biomedical concepts you can teach your students. We’ve also matched accompanying virtual labs that can help teach each one.

  1. Endocrinology
  2. ABO Blood Group System
  3. Diabetes II
  4. Cytogenetics
  5. Immunology
  6. Cellular Respiration
  7. Gene Expression

1. Endocrinology

Endocrinology is the branch of biology and medicine that studies the production and function of hormones and their disorders. Previously, you would need weeks to complete experiments, and you would have to sacrifice several rabbits to dissect and inspect the uterus. The males' experiments with DMAU would take multiple weeks to test with living specimens. In this simulation, you don’t have to worry about any of those things! 

In Labster’s simulation, Endocrinology: Learn how contraceptives work, students will develop a method for keeping a population of rabbits under control by using hormonal treatments. They’ll investigate how different concentrations of different hormones impact the fertility of male and female rabbits. 

Use these 7 biomedical concepts to help teach your students and keep them interested and engaged in their biomedical coursework.

2. ABO Blood Group System

The most common blood grouping system is the ABO blood grouping. Blood groups are classified depending on the presence or absence of A or B antigens on red blood cells. The resulting blood groups are A, B, AB, or O. Blood type compatibility seems simple, but it is one of the most challenging topics to teach. Students could quickly lose track as the lesson proceeds, and the teacher introduces new blood types, antigens, and antibodies. 

In Labster’s simulation, Antibodies: Why are some blood types incompatible? Students will learn about the concepts of antibodies and antigens, the ABO and Rhesus blood grouping systems, and their importance in blood transfusions. Then, they’ll help a young couple determine a potential risk for Rhesus disease in their unborn child.

All the different types of ABO blood groupings.

3. Diabetes II

In diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes II, insufficient amounts of insulin are produced, or they don’t function properly. Students might have seen family or friends dealing with diabetes mellitus, but understanding its mechanism could be challenging as they cannot visualize the accumulation of glucose in the blood.  

In Labster’s Diabetes simulation, students will learn the basics of type II diabetes. They’ll learn how to measure their blood sugar levels and give themselves an insulin shot. Students will also learn how to put together a healthy meal plan.

Glucose entering muscle cells in Diabetes virtual lab.

4. Cytogenetics

Cytogenetic testing has become a norm for prenatal diagnosis to determine not just gender but several other things like the physical and genetic health of the fetus, chromosomal abnormalities, etc. A mother-to-be likely will not be available in the classroom, nor will the tools (or skills) needed to perform cytogenetic testing on one! In our virtual lab, students have more access. 

In Labster’s simulation, Cytogenetics: Perform a prenatal diagnosis, students will help a mother-to-be who is extremely worried about her baby's fate by diagnosing the fetus’ condition using a cytogenetics-based approach.

Cytogenics virtual lab showing a medical professional with a couple having a baby.

5. Immunology

Immunology is the study of immune systems. This subject is fascinating to learn and teach, yet it sometimes appears complex with details about different types of immunity, immune cells, antibodies, complement systems, organs and tissues involved, etc. The intricacies of primary immunology techniques like cell cultures, ELISA, flow cytometry, histology, magnetic cell sorting, etc, are extensive and challenging to access for many institutions.

In Labster’s simulation, Introduction to Immunology: Organs and cells of the immune system, students will discover this complicated network of organs and cells that create an immunological system and protect them every day. Students can visualize the organs of the immune system and classify them.

A network of organs and cells that create an immunological system in a virtual lab setting.

6. Cellular respiration

Cellular respiration is the process by which animals convert food into a type of energy usable by their cells, known as ATP. Cellular respiration takes place through a series of elegant enzyme-powered steps, producing a total of 38 molecules of ATP at different stages throughout. In textbooks, you might find complex diagrams like the example below.

The process of cellular respiration.

In Labster’s simulation, Cellular Respiration (Principles): Measure energy consumption during exercise, students will help local basketball players understand how the food they eat gets converted to energy through cellular respiration. They’ll use a mouse model to find out what effect exercise intensity has on oxygen and glucose consumption, learning all 3 stages of cellular respiration. 

7. Gene Expression

Since genes are a part of DNA that have a specific role in the functioning of the body, and DNA is not visible to unaided eyes, the processes of gene expression cannot be observed directly. With virtual labs, they can be easily visualized.

In Labster’s Gene Expression Unit: Use sequencing to unveil a gene linked to obesity, students will discover Next Generation Sequencing by analyzing the mRNA from pig tissues and identifying a new gene linked to obesity. They’ll then confirm their results using qPCR to analyze the expression levels of the gene!

Gene expression in virtual lab showing reverse transcription.

Questions for Consideration:

  • How could you incorporate these virtual labs into your teaching plans?
  • What are some other biomedical labs you wish you could teach? Check out our catalog of 300 simulations to see if you can find what you’re looking for!
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