The lab presented in this paper utilizes a proven four-step pedagogical framework (McLaughlin & Coyle, 2016) to redesign a classic Association of Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE) undergraduate lab (McLaughlin & McCain, 1999) into an authentic research experience on vertebrate fourchambered heart development and physiology. The model system is the chicken embryo. Through their research, students are also exposed to the embryonic anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate heart, the electrical circuitry of the developing heart, and the effects of pharmacological drugs on heart rate and contractility. Classical embryological micro-techniques, explantation of the embryo, surgical removal of the beating heart, isolation of the heart chambers, and more advanced tissue culture methods are also conducted. In this laboratory paradigm, students work in pairs to ask their own questions concerning the effects of two human cardiovascular drugs, denopamine™ and acebutolol™ on both in vivo and in vitro chicken embryonic heart rate and contractility, develop testable hypotheses based on information gathered from relevant scientific literature, devise and carry out a controlled experiment, and present the data in a professional scientific manner pertaining to a topic of clinical significance.
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Vol. 79 • No. 8