Interactive Museum of Anatomy and Pathology
By Meghan Cunningham
Seeing in real life a rare myxoma tumor in a heart or enlarged kidneys due to severe polycystic kidney disease cannot compare with medical students learning only from a textbook.
The new Liberato Didio and Peter Goldblatt Interactive Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at The University of Toledo includes these tissue samples among 300 specimens now on display for teaching future health-care professionals.
The museum opened on Tuesday, Dec. 10, with a ceremonial ribbon cutting in the lobby of the Paul Block Health Science Building followed by tours of the museum, which is located downstairs in the basement in room 002 next to the gross anatomy labs.
“This has been my dream for more than 20 years to have a museum for medical students to see up close healthy organs side by side with rare anomalies that they may otherwise never have had the opportunity to view,” said Dr. Carlos Baptista, associate professor of neurosciences and museum director.
Baptista has preserved the tissues donated to the University through a process called plastination, which is a technique that replaces fluids with a plastic resin. Medical students also have been involved with the dissection and preservation of items, and preserved specimens have been donated to UT.
The tissues are arranged according to function, such as digestion with stomachs, livers and intestines, and control with brain and spinal cord samples. Each specimen is labeled with a corresponding description on tablets positioned in front of the display.
“Hundreds of high school students visit our campus through programs such as Student-to-Student organized by current medical students, and they are fascinated by these organs,” Baptista said. “In the past, we would bring different samples to show them, but now we have a new central location. The museum will serve future medical-care providers, high school students and members of the general public interested in knowing how their bodies work.”
The museum features a “Helical Heart” display showing how the heart beats, which happens in a twisting motion like wringing a towel rather than a routine muscle contraction. It also includes samples of animal organs for comparative purposes, such as a large cow heart that is four times the size of the average human heart.
The museum is named for Dr. Liberato Didio, the first faculty member of the former Medical College of Ohio and first chair of the Anatomy Department, who created the body donation program, and Dr. Peter Goldblatt, who served as the second chair of pathology and as a professor until his retirement in 2000.
The museum is dedicated “in honor of those individuals who made a very personal and unselfish gift of their bodies in support of education and research,” Baptista said.
Students will be able to gain access by swiping their ID cards at any time, and others interested in visiting in the future can make an appointment through the Department of Neurosciences at 419.383.4109.