Summer 2014 | Article by Kirby Messinger
The Center for Anatomical and Movement Sciences (CAMS) gives Tulane biomedical engineering students a unique approach to engineering education.
In addition to the hands-on experience of human cadaver dissection, students are also able to view and participate in ground-breaking surgical demonstrations performed on cadavers.
“We are offering an innovative approach to teaching biomedical engineering,” says Mic Dancisak, senior professor and the center’s director. “I don’t know of another school that gives students the opportunity to participate in these kinds of surgeries and procedures.”
A recent gift from the Almar Foundation is supporting that visionary approach at CAMS by giving biomedical engineering students the opportunity to further their understanding of human anatomy. The Almar Foundation gift will allow CAMS to purchase a mini C-arm, which converts x-rays into visible images and allows students to easily visualize their procedures.
This piece of equipment is especially important for surgeons learning to place new medical devices, because it gives doctors a before-and-after image that verifies that the medical device is positioned correctly. The addition of the C-arm also makes renting lab space from the center more attractive for industry partners.
Located in the basement of the Reily Center on the uptown campus, the CAMS is comprised of three units: a primary gross anatomy lab, a physiology lab and a faculty research lab.
To bring more learning opportunities to students, Dancisak has been working closely with industry partners. These partners lease lab space from the center to conduct surgical demonstrations on their latest medical devices. That gives Tulane biomedical engineering students the chance to participate in procedures with these industry partners and surgeons.
“Interfacing with these industry representatives is a huge value for our students,” says Dancisak. “These networking opportunities can help students with internship and job opportunities.”
Working closely with industry representatives is also valuable for faculty. They can collaborate on new ideas and new designs.
“What we are trying to do is expand what is possible for undergraduate engineering education,” says Dancisak. “As we increase our partnership with industry partners and have ongoing surgical demonstrations held in the lab, it will expand the ability for all of our engineering students to participate in these demonstrations.”
Gifts like those from the Almar Foundation make it possible to create exciting new opportunities for students and faculty.
“I have been grateful to Tulane since I graduated in 1969 with a BS in Engineering,” says Dr. Monroe Laborde (E ’69, M ’73), Almar Foundation representative. “Biomedical engineering had not started yet as a department but an engineering curriculum major allowed me time to do pre-med courses. I have been happy to help the Biomedical Engineering at Tulane since they gave me such a good education.”
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