Hinckley Virtual Anatomy Lab, a crush on the health sciences

Louisiana Tech students in all fields of health sciences will benefit from another unprecedented collaborative educational experience starting this fall with the opening of the Justin and Jeanette Hinckley Virtual Anatomy Lab at Carson-Taylor Hall.

The heart of the laboratory is the Anatomy chart, the most technologically advanced 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection tool for teaching anatomy and physiology to date. It works as an operating table and combines radiology software and clinical content to provide students with learning opportunities at all levels, from dissection to studying the body at the single-cell level.

The painting contains digitized versions of real humans who donated their bodies to science and the development of this technology; the table uses the same technology for some animal “corpses”. Currently, more than 1,600 MRI and CT scans of development and injury in humans and animals are currently available to students, with more to be downloaded as they become available as the technology develops and expands. .

Students in pre-vet, pre-medicine, biological sciences, kinesiology, nursing, and other health sciences will benefit from a lab that will impact the entire campus. When the room is not in use for a specific class, it will have posted hours available for booking by other professors across campus and for students to use as a sort of “study room”.

“We are extremely grateful to the many friends and alumni who supported and invested in this project,” said Dr. Gary Kennedy, Dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences. “All of the donors had a clear understanding of the impact this would have on all of the health science students on our campus. Justin and Jeanette Hinckley made a significant donation which made it possible for its completion, which is not surprising given their continued support and encouragement of the University’s mission.

Justin and Jeanette Hinckley of the Virtual Anatomy Lab were recently named to honor their support for Louisiana Tech.“Our interest in the establishment of the lab is the natural result of our long-standing relationship with faculty and staff in the Biology Department at the College of Applied and Natural Sciences,” said Justin Hinckley. “We believe in what they do and understand the importance of training students who will become future problem solvers and caregivers in our society. To do this, they need top-notch resources to support and complement the qualified faculty on Tech’s campus.

“The virtual anatomy lab will be used by many departments on the tech campus – biology, nursing, kinesiology – to name a few. It is cutting edge technology which helps to position Tech as a leading university in the life sciences. We are proud to do a little bit to make Tech a better institution for our students and faculty. “

Hinckley, a 1978 computer science graduate in technology, was named Technology Alumnus of the Year in 2010. His wife Jeanette graduated from Tech in Education and was honored as a College of Education alumnus in 2016.

Such support materialized the vision of the laboratory which originated from Dr. Jamie Newman, Associate Professor at Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Applied and Natural Sciences, and Director of Research. – led Newman Lab.

“She was a real bulldog in the development of the project,” Kennedy said, “from the complete renovation of the room to the selection of the cutting edge technology that serves as the center of the lab.”

“The room was inspired by conversations with medical illustrators who came to Tech via the VISTA Center and showed us that the future of medical education and the health sciences was in technology, ”Newman said. “Interactive technologies such as the anatomical table, augmented reality and virtual reality allow students to explore the body in ways they cannot do with a textbook or even with human cadaver dissection.

Newman said the room really started to become a reality when architecture professor Kevin Singh and his Spring 2020 class took on the task of designing it. Before the room renovation, they studied photos of the classroom, researched other types of virtual anatomy labs, and ultimately created an efficient, clean, and inspiring space that would work for Tech.

“Bringing this technology to Louisiana Tech gives our students in the disciplines of health sciences and the arts a chance to understand the complexities of the human body and provides a new tool for exploration,” said Newman.

Instructor D’eane Sheehan and speaker Dr Shelcie Menard-Harvey, each at Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, prepare to use the Anatomy Room and Table in their Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) class this fall. Previously a physics classroom with risers, the room has been completely leveled and remodeled to create the perfect learning space for technology.

The lab is designed for 24 students and has a set of iPads for the classroom that will include the Anatomage companion app, the A&P manual app and 3D4 Medical, an app with built-in modules to complement what is accessible via manual, lecture, lab and anatomy table. Four large monitors hang on the walls for easy viewing of images on the table. The chart and accompanying software are used by medical schools across the country and will help prepare students for their future in medicine, healthcare and research.

Sheehan and Menard-Harvey both received online training, followed by two afternoons of in-person training, to familiarize themselves with the anatomy table. They expect to become more comfortable with the table and its many features as they continue to use it with their students.

“The Justin and Jeanette Hinckley Virtual Anatomy Lab is a game-changer because it adds an extra layer to learning about the human body,” said Menard-Harvey. “This provides students with a 3D model of the human body that they are able to manipulate in various ways to gain a deeper understanding of the topics covered in traditional classes and labs. This chart can be used for preparation before traditional lab exercises and for strengthening after these lab exercises are completed.

“The chart is a great resource for anyone working in the health sciences, as it presents various options for examining parts of the body, as well as examples of medical procedures that can be performed on the body. There are many case studies available for students to see how different conditions can arise in the human body. For those students interested in veterinary programs, various animals can also be viewed using the table.

“I know that the lab will give students the opportunity to be more hands-on and that the technology will enrich Tech’s biology program as a whole,” said Taylor Teach, who received her undergraduate degree in biology. at Tech in May 2020 and is pursuing his master’s degree. in biology while doing stem cell research at the Newman Lab. “It’s such a cool addition to campus.”

Teach doesn’t think she’ll be using the lab much because her anatomy classes are behind her, but she’s thrilled for health science students who will immediately discover its value.

“I went to the lab a few times just to see the table, and it’s crazy! ” she said. “I was so impressed with the amount of detail he is able to show, right down to tissue types, nerve endings, etc. It truly is an amazing learning tool, and I am so jealous of all the students who will be able to use it for years to come. I look forward to seeing the further advancements that technology is making to improve the learning environment for our students.

A grand opening of the Justin and Jeanette Hinckley Virtual Anatomy Lab is scheduled for September 10.

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