Truett McConnell to use digital cadaver in classes

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Taking an early look at the new digital cadaver at Truett McConnell University are Robert S. Bowen, center, dean; and others at the Cleveland university’s Pilgram Marpeck School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. JENNY GREGORY/TMC

CLEVELAND, Ga. (BP) — An interactive virtual anatomy dissection table will become part of the biology and exercise science programs at Truett McConnell University’s Pilgram Marpeck School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) this fall.

An Anatomage Table, an advanced anatomy visualization system, has been featured in numerous journals, on PBS and in a TED Talks presentation by Jack Choi, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based company behind the new technology.

Robert S. Bowen, Truett McConnell’s STEM dean and associate professor of physiology, noted, “So much of anatomy is based on experience, relationships and repetitive inquiry.” With the Anatomage Table, Bowen said, “Like a real cadaver, the detail is a much finer resolution than what can be achieved with plastic models. The table also provides an interactive environment and a hands-on experience with both human and animal study.”

At a cost of more than $71,000, TMU’s Anatomage Table has been fully funded with grant money from the Hearst Foundation, the Carolyn Ragan and King Charitable Foundation and the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation.

Truett McConnell’s Anatomage Table currently is on its Cleveland campus, with Bowen and other faculty now developing curricula to utilize the technology in STEM classes at the Georgia Baptist-affiliated university.

Students can study multi-layered scans of the male and female anatomy

The table depicts multi-layered scans of the male and female anatomy, allowing students to perform dissections on different parts of the body with the ability to redo portions of the process or undo any errors.

“Fixing errors will allow our students to effectively learn from their failures and improve their understanding on human and animal anatomy,” Bowen said. Both the biology and exercise science programs require “extensive knowledge of anatomy and the table will be a nice addition to our instrumentation and training resources.”

Some of TMU’s senior biology students have had an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the various features of the digital cadaver.

“Using the table provides you with a hands-on learning experience,” Elise Lombard, one of the students, said. “You can only see and learn so much through a lecture. Being able to manipulate a [digital] cadaver allows a greater understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body.

“There are many different paths that a biology student can take,” Lombard added, “and this table allows you to customize and personalize your learning experience for your individual goal.”

Bowen noted, “Up until the addition of the table, anatomy education was a significant weakness for both the exercise science and biology programs. The table has made strides to correct that deficiency; however, it is already apparent that the table is going to be in high demand and additional tables would serve our programs well….”

The Anatomage Table, Bowen said, is “another example of the technology that God is blessing TMU with and will coalesce well with the other equipment and resources that are available to train the next generation of scientists and practitioners.”


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