Experimental Biology 2016: Expanding our Anatomical Stories by Lauri Nemetz

We’re happy to welcome back our Anatomy Trains teacher Lauri Nemetz as a guest blogger! Lauri recounts her experience presenting at this year’s Experimental Biology conference. 


I’m back on the east coast re-settling from the Experimental Biology conference, held this year in sunny San Diego, April 2nd-5th. I am still taking in all of the information from this large conference (over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors, etc), which is a huge meeting of the minds for the biology and anatomical sciences. I feel privileged to have presented my work done in Anatomy Trains Dissection Labs as part of the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), an organization that has existed since 1888. I followed most of the conference through this track, which is a small and supportive group, with most lectures averaging around fifty people. Among my favorite sessions were “Axial Anatomy in Primates: Locomotion, Posture & Evolution” which explored early bipedalism (when we shifted to walking on two legs) and “Tissue Generation and Transplantation” which featured Luiz Sampan from the Texas Heart Institute, which had inspired my own work with fascial organs.

Among the booths, I lingered the longest around the von Hagens Plastination models, the Anatomage table, Anatomy in Clay® (a nod to founder Jon Zahourek who goes back many years in knowing Tom), and the newer electronic screens from Sectra (interactive anatomy) and Bodyviz (used with 3d glasses). I am happy to report that several studies are being done currently on the importance of continuing hands-on learning, specifically in dissection lab. The newer tech is always impressive, but most educators are agreeing to use them as a tool and not substitution for the learning that comes in lab from self-exploration.
My own work and poster presentation of fascial organs garnered attention from near and far, particularly as a means to create an inexpensive fascial model in dissection lab.
I am planning to write a follow-up paper and have some interesting ideas in the works! Throughout the conference, the idea of storytelling was an underlying theme, both as a tool to teach a lecture, as well as conveying any idea in the anatomical and scientific world. Ultimately, the names we assign to places in the body, or the ideas of how we explain what we perceive in the body are stories that we share.