By Seán McGlone – News Editor
Athletic Training and Exercise Science majors will be treated to a new guest in their classes this year. Fiona, a life-like synthetic cadaver, will join students in their lessons on the muscular and skeletal systems and inter- nal organs.
Fiona is a product of SynDaver Labs, a company featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” They develop synthetic body parts for scientif- ic research and medical education that closely resemble the human body. Fiona, named by the SynDaver Labs, has synthetic versions of most organs, as well as male and female reproductive systems.
“This will really facilitate the tactile ex- perience amongst our students,” said Monica Hall-Porter, Assistant Professor of Biology. “They will use this specifically when they start to study muscles and internal organs, so just as we have skeletons and we have some torso models, I think that this will just enhance the number of available models for teaching.”
“It’s such a unique thing, not many places have it, so our ability to experiment with it and really just to use it to its full extent, is pretty cool,” said Ben Michon, freshman athletic training major.
The idea to purchase Fiona first came about at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Professors in the Athletic Training and Exercise Science departments decided they wanted more resources for their students.
They pooled their money with the Math and Science departments, in addition to Lasell administration, and made the purchase for around 40,000, according to Cristina Haverty, Chair of the Department of Athletic Training and Exercise Science.
“We were looking for resources for those particular students to use to really amplify the quality of their class and maximize their learning experience,” said Haverty.
Before this acquisition, classes could only visit Northeastern University’s cadaver lab twice a year. Though this provided a chance to see what they’d been studying in human form, it did not give them the opportunity to explore as much as Fiona will.
“For people who are more visual learners like myself, it’s a lot easier to see physically and feel the aspects of the body we’re talking about as opposed to the textbook,” said freshman athletic training student Evan Abatiell.
Fiona will be used primarily in first-year courses like Anatomy and Physiology as a stepping stone for students to increase their understanding of the human body. She will also help students sharpen their skills, which ultimately increase chances of employment post-graduation.
“Ultimately, if it’s serving as a better resourcing tool for our students to learn their fundamentals and their foundational knowl- edge, and makes them better clinicians, better practitioners, better exercise scientists, and their better at their field of study, then we reap the benefits in their ability to gain em- ployment,” said Haverty.
According to Haverty, Lasell is the first school in New England to have their own synthetic cadaver.