3D Anatomy Table to Enhance Scientific Learning at NMCC

November 8, 2019

NMCC Biology Instructor Trena Soucy (right) receives training on the new virtual anatomy table by an Anatomage representative. This new technology impacts how science, biology, and allied health courses will be taught at NMCC and promises new levels of in-depth exploration.

Aroostook CountyNorthern Maine Community College has acquired a virtual anatomy table for use in allied health and science courses. Touted as “the most technologically advanced 3D anatomy visualization system for anatomy and physiology education,” NMCC joins the ranks of the world’s leading medical schools and institutions including The Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan, and Stanford.

The highly interactive table allows students and instructors to explore human anatomy in-depth by virtually removing layers of tissue, making cross-sections, and isolating body systems. The 3D table gives users access to data from four different types of bodies that were donated to science through the Human Visibility Project (HVP).

“Our students are gaining access to a level of detail and instruction that is normally only available to those who attend the most elite schools,” said NMCC Biology Instructor Trena Soucy. “Using this technology we’re able to visualize complete anatomical systems in 3D and show how they work as a unit. The table brings anatomy to life and off the pages of a text book, increasing the students understanding of how the body works in parts and as a whole.”

Each digitized body on the table comes from a person who died of different causes before being donated—one from a heart attack, two from cancer-related pneumonia, and one male inmate died of lethal injection; a prison chaplain persuaded him prior to his execution in 1993 to donate his body to the HVP. Students can compare the different health factors and anomalies present in each example, such as fatty tissues in one body’s heart, or a tumor related to gastric cancer. Students are able to take customized quizzes directly on the table using touch-screen technology.

“We are excited to add this innovative piece of technology to our cutting-edge biology classes to enhance the teaching and learning experience for our students,” said Arts and Sciences Department Chair David Raymond.

While the table is currently in the biology lab for anatomy and physiology, and microbiology classes, it will also be used for emergency medical services, nursing, medical coding, liberal studies, and medical assisting students.

Funding for the new technology came from the Maine Community College System. For more information, visit nmcc.edu.