Zombies aren’t real. To our knowledge, there are no secret government laboratories working on creating or defeating the zombie menace, but if such laboratories are ever created then sign us up to be the earth’s last, best hope.
Human Zombie Biology provides students the knowledge to gain a greater understanding of the concepts of biology as they apply to zombies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even used zombies to educate the American Public on how to be prepared for any emergency, using the philosophy that if you are prepared for the zombies you are certainly prepared for whatever Mother Nature may throw at you.
It is in this spirit that we offer you this book; what better way to learn the concepts of Biology than by using our friend the zombie?
Think you don’t use biology? Think again. Every time you take a deep sniff of air to determine if there is a decaying zombie nearby-- or, slightly more likely, to determine if the old take-out food in the back of your fridge is safe to eat it—then you are using biology.
Since people have started talking and then writing about zombies these stories have been a reflection of society, and have drawn upon scientific knowledge to make the stores as realistic as possible. So realistic are these stories that they make for excellent educational tools as they both grab your attention and can impart knowledge.
Included with your eBook purchase, you will also receive access to KHQ, Kendall Hunt’s exclusive custom study app. Designed for today’s fast-paced environment, KHQ features chapter quizzes and flashcards that empower students to learn on the go!
Section 1: Welcome to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Hope You Survive the Experience
Chapter 1: The basics (or… you gotta learn to walk before you run or shamble)
Where can you find reliable information?
Scientific method and publishing scientific work
Numbers don’t lie, do they?
Reliable sources for scientific and medical information
Chapter 1 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 1 Worksheet – Statistics and graphing (group project)
Chapter 2: Dead or alive (or… “check his Pulse if you want… i’m running!”)
What makes a zombie? The characteristics of all living organisms
Living things are highly ordered
Living things obtain energy from their environment for metabolism
Living things sense and respond to their environment
Living things maintain homeostasis
Living things grow and develop
Living things reproduce via DNA
Living things evolve
A (very) brief overview of chemistry
Bonds and molecules
Charge, Hydrophobicity, and Shape
Chapter 2 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 3: Zombie metabolism (or… when eating humans avoid a high fat, all couch Potato diet)
ATP, your biological battery
Recharging your batteries
Oxygen’s role in making ATP
ATP’s role in muscle contraction
Other systems for making ATP
ATP, life and death
Does electricity regenerate ATP?
Chapter 3 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 3 Worksheet – How enzymes work (group project)
Section 2: How Does One Become a Zombie?
Chapter 4: The voodoo curse (or… “let’s just agree to avoid haiti this spring break.”)
Haiti and the birth of zombie lore
The Curious Case of Phineas Gage
Walking Corpse Syndrome
Neurons and neurotransmitters
The question still remains, however…
Chapter 4 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 4 Worksheet – Causative agents in movies (group project)
Chapter 5: Attack of the radioactive zombies (or… “why is that dead guy glowing?”)
Genetic information and how it flows from DNA to protein
Transcription (DNA to RNA)
Translation (RNA to protein)
Protein shape and function
Sickle-cell anemia: An example of DNA mutation causing a disease
Guardian of the Genome: p53
But can radiation cause zombies?
Talking about radiation exposure
Chapter 5 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 5 Worksheet – Proteins and mutations (group project)
Chapter 6: The zombie Plague (or… wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and resist your primal amorous urges)
Bacterial cells: Prokaryotes
How do bacteria cause disease?
The Black Death
Eukaryotic brain parasites
Prions in the food chain
Chapter 6 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 6 Worksheet – Write a better zombie story part I (Dead, deader, deadest)
Write a better zombie story part II (How could this happen?!)
Section 3: Plan, Prepare, and Persevere
Chapter 7: The Pandemic (or “bob just sneezed. better put him down just to be on the safe side.”)
Correlation vs. causation
Cause of the outbreak
Virulence, infective dose, incubation time, and fatality rate
R0 factor and the epi-curve
Chapter 7 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 7 Worksheet – Epidemiology (group project)
Chapter 8: Your immune system (or… time to rally the troops on a cellular level!)
Innate (nonspecific) immunity
Your skin and other protective membranes
Defenses in the bloodstream
Inflammation and fever
Meningitis and Encephalitis: inflammation inside the skull
Acquired (specific) immunity
HIV and AIDS
Immune system memory
Triggers for Autoimmune Disease
Chapter 8 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 8 Worksheet – Write a better zombie story part III (The spreading apocalypse)
Chapter 9: Treatment (or “if your urge to tear flesh from bone and sinew continues for more than four hours consult your Physician”)
Control of Pathogens
Water and Sewage
Soaps, Disinfectants, and Autoclaves
Personal Protective Equipment
Herd (community) immunity
Anti-vaxxers, the zombie’s first course
Why are viral infections hard to treat?
Hey, you know what doesn’t work? Just about everything in the movies
Chapter 9 Questions – Wordstems
Chapter 9 Worksheet – Antibiotic resistance
Chapter 10: Pandemics in modern times (or…How i learned to stop worrying and love the vaccine)
Influenza A Cycle
1918 Spanish Influenza and 2009 swine flu pandemics
1957 Asian Flu (H2N2) Pandemic
1968 Hong Kong Flu (H3N2) Pandemic
Prepped for Flu – Pan Flu Plans
SARS 2003 Pandemic
COVID-19 The First Year Order of Events
Containment versus Mitigation Strategies
Public Health Measures
Anti-vaxxers Vaccine Concern: Too Many Too Soon!
2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccination
Chapter 11: Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared (or “I can’t come in to work today. I’m building my zombie-proof bunker.”)
CDC emergency preparedness procedures
Get a kit
Make a plan
The T zone
Will to survive
The art of the knife
This is no time to panic, people!
Muscles will not work without the cardiovascular system
The dead don’t maintain homeostasis.
Biting is inefficient.
It’s a minimum of 24 hours for viral infection.
This is the perfect time to panic, people!
Zombie-like diseases aren’t fictional...They exist today.
Biting is inefficient, but there’s always mutation.
We aren’t always that good at managing the risks.
Chapter 11 Questions
Chapter 11 Worksheet – Pick apart the movie!!! (group project)
Final Worksheet – Write a better zombie story part IV (The thrilling conclusion)
DR. STEPHANIE J. FISCHER is a lecturer with the University of Texas at Tyler, currently teaching courses in scientific communication, microbiology, ecotoxicology, and Zombies: Biology of Disease. Dr. Fischer received a B.A. in Biology and a B.A. in Literature from Sonoma State University in California, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience from Mayo Graduate School in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Fischer is the author of a dozen peer-reviewed articles and textbooks and has won several student-nominated teaching awards. She lives with her family in Tyler, Texas, where she awaits the coming of the zombie apocalypse so she can prove to her parents once and for all that an education in the odd combination of science fiction literature and biology will, at long last, be a survival advantage.
DR. CHRISTOPHER F. GREEN is a Professor of Biology with the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont College. Previously he served as a research assistant professor at UC’s College of Engineering, where he specialized in bioaerosols, UV radiation, and environmental microbiology. Dr. Green received a B.A. in Biology from Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, and both his M.S. in Environmental Science and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Green is the author of over 40 peer reviewed articles and textbooks and resides in Crestview Hills, Kentucky with his two children, a homicidal jungle cat, and the world’s cutest puppy.