Campus News

Gross Anatomy 2.0

The new Gross Anatomy facilities in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' new building downtown are a quantum leap forward from the cramped and aging facilities on the South Campus where the course had been offered for six decades. Photos: Douglas Levere

By ELLEN GOLDBAUM

Published November 2, 2018

Print
“Because we have more room, we can have more specimens and fewer students working on each one. Each student gets to see more and do more. ”
John Kolega, associate professor
Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

For obvious reasons, gross anatomy class is often the single most memorable course that medical students take. But in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences this year, the course is memorable for another reason. After being offered for six decades in cramped and aging facilities on the South Campus, it’s being taught for the first time in the school’s new building downtown.

Complete with customized dissection tables and plenty of elbow room for the 30-plus teams that descend en masse on the facility three times a week, the new facility is a quantum leap forward.

The new lab features numerous large computer screens linked to a live feed, so if a team sees something interesting, it can be shared at once with all 180 students. There are also separate, flexible labs, where advanced anatomy students, or emergency medical technicians from the community, can work. On the South Campus, everyone shared the same space.

The new lab even seems to be improving how students work together, according to John Kolega, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, who has been teaching gross anatomy at UB for 25 years.

“Because we have more room, we can have more specimens and fewer students working on each one,” Kolega says. “Each student gets to see more and do more.

“And because they’re working in smaller groups, the group dynamics at the tables seem much better. I think the teams become stronger. Everyone’s engaged. It’s harder for someone to disappear into the background.”