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Membrane Transport Collection

Membrane Transport Collection Model Demonstration Model

Lending Library Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSOE Model Lending Library has suspended operations. Before reopening, we need to identify safe ways of disinfecting library materials between uses. We hope to have decisions made by mid-July about which materials will be available for loan in the fall.


Teaching Points

The boundaries of a cell are determined by the presence of a lipid bilayer known as the cell membrane. This nonpolar structural feature enables the cell to have specific characteristics within the intracellular compartment relative to its extracellular environment. In order to maintain a constant environment, cells need to regulate their internal and external environment. This can be accomplished through structures such as channels, which allow for specific substrates to travel from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. These channels are essential in the regulation of the cellular environment.

The Nobel Prize for 2003 in Chemistry was awarded to two scientists who are exploring channels in the cell membrane. The Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. Peter Agre, who examines the movement of water through the membrane channel, aquaporin, and to Dr. Roderick MacKinnon, who explores the movement of ions across the membrane, specifically the movement of potassium through the K+ channel.


The lipid bilayer of cell membranes is impermeable to water. Movement of water needs to be regulated in order to maintain the internal pressure of the cell. The presence of water channels, such as aquaporin, enables the cell to regulate the water content of cells to prevent swelling or shrinking. This feature is especially important in the filtration system of the kidneys.

Potassium Channel

Within the nervous system, cells communicate to one another through action potentials. These signals are dependent on the movement of ions across the cell membrane. The movement of potassium ions is essential for these communications. The structure of the potassium channel is specific to potassium ions through the presence of the selectivity filter. This filter is composed of amino acids positioned in such a way that the carbonyl oxygens can coordinate the potassium ion as it moves through the membrane.

Students can explore the different ways that substrates can be moved through the lipid bilayer with the models in this collection. The two channels serve similar purposes, but their structures are unique.


Requesting this Model

Loan Time Frame: 3 weeks


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select a date one week prior to the date you want the model to arrive. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.
  • This loan includes both delivery and return shipping time. Please make sure to plan time (approximately one week) for us to deliver the model to you. You can expect the model to arrive approximately one week following the first day of the requested loan period.


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select the date you want to pick up the model. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.

Requesting Other Models

You may schedule one copy of a model for three weeks. Due to limited resources, we are unable to send multiple copies or additional materials.

If you would like to request a loan of a different model for the same time frame you may add this to your cart. Up to three different types of models may be checked out at one time. You will need to fill out a separate request for model loans with a different time frame.


Please contact us at with any questions about the lending process or the availability of models.

Contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 with questions about the models, teaching resources or educational content.



Model Documentation and Instructions

Teaching Points and Inventory

Returning Models

Models must be returned on or before the due date.

Borrowers are responsible for return shipping costs. We recommend using FedEx or UPS with "two-day ground" transportation. Please make sure to get a tracking number for the shipment.

Please take care when returning models. Any damage incurred in return shipping due to improper packing will be charged to the borrower.

Ship models to:
Milwaukee School of Engineering
1000 N. Market Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3113
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