Virtual Anatomy Tables Expand Lab Capabilities


The latest resource on campus is cutting-edge technology that gives students studying human and animal anatomy and physiology a host of new opportunities.

Truman recently installed six new advanced virtual anatomy tables in Magruder Hall. The 84-inch digital screens allow for life-size displays and virtual exploration. The tables include male and female 3D medical-school-level anatomy content up to 0.2 mm. Among other features, students are able to participate in interactive dissections and virtual arthroscopy, as well as view blood-flow simulation and fly-through simulations in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and chambers of the heart. The high-resolution images afford users an in-depth view of major structures in the body, such as the heart, lungs, abdomen and pelvis, that might be more difficult to see through previous instruction methods.

“Our students will get access to cutting-edge anatomical studies,” said Tim Walston, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics. “Many medical schools are moving away from cadaver labs to these virtual tables. Combining high-detail anatomical features with animated simulations allows for a more life-like view of what is happening in the body.”

Since the tables can be connected to projectors, instructors can easily incorporate the virtual images into class lectures. Screen captures and video clips can also be saved and shared with students as review material. One of the new tables also has the capability to convert from a horizontal to a vertical orientation, allowing for easier displays during classroom demonstrations.

Other features of the anatomy tables include a heart motion simulation, catheter simulations and the ability to explore a complex nervous system and its pathways.

“Having this lab located on our campus makes the study of anatomy more accessible to a broader group of Truman students,” Walston said. “It can be used for classes that fulfill the STEM Perspective and support some of our new majors, such as the anatomy requirement for music therapy. The tables have a variety of organisms beyond just humans, so they can be used in comparative anatomy and agriculture courses. The systems also have the ability to demonstrate a variety of diseases, which will enhance the understanding of the connection between anatomy and physiological disorders.”

The virtual anatomy lab will also strengthen Truman’s partnership with A.T. Still University. Students and classes at the medical school will be able to access the lab, and some Truman courses will continue to make use of the ATSU cadaver lab.  

Installation of the virtual anatomy tables began in the summer and continued into the fall. They will begin in-class use in the coming weeks. A University-wide open house for people to view the lab will take place from 3-5 p.m. Nov. 16 in Magruder Hall 2077.