Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory Tours

Anatomy- and physiology-based science outreach for K-12 and post-secondary students is a significant component of the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology mission at Indiana University School of Medicine. The department offers group tours of the gross anatomy laboratory, skeletal and anatomical model collections, physiology laboratories and non-human and fossil comparative and functional skeletal collections upon request for authorized educational organizations.

A variety of different tours are available to provide students with a hands-on laboratory experience. A per-student fee collected from these tours help cover graduate student travel costs to attend scientific meetings to present their anatomy and physiology education research. Limited needs-based financial assistance may be available to qualifying groups.

Standard Anatomy Tour

The fee for the Standard Anatomy Tour is $5/student. This applies to high school and post-secondary students.

This two-hour gross anatomy lab experience begins with a 30-minute introduction to cadaveric gross anatomy and covers the history of cadaveric dissection. This tour allows students to learn more about how medical schools obtain cadavers and how they are used to educate physicians and other health care professionals. Following the introductory talk, students have an opportunity to work through a series of cadaveric activity stations in the gross lab. Each station emphasizes a different part of the human anatomy, including the musculoskeletal system, nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system and digestive system. Students have an opportunity to interact and engage with cadaveric specimens following the guidance and instruction of our medical educators and education graduate students.

Advanced Anatomy/Physiology Tour

The fee for the Advanced Anatomy/Physiology Tour is $15/student. This applies to high school and post-secondary students.

Like the standard tour, the advanced tour offers a pre-lab presentation (1-2 hours depending on content) and a hands-on laboratory experience (2-3 hours depending on content). While the standard tour provides a general overview of human anatomy and covers how cadavers are used in medical education, the advanced tour is designed for more advanced student groups seeking additional instruction and experience with specific aspects of human anatomy and physiology. Advanced tours can be customized to suit the needs of individual student groups. The school’s medical educators work directly with teachers in advance of their visit to customize a presentation and activity-driven lab experience that best suits the curricular needs of the class. Potential topics include but are not limited to musculoskeletal anatomy; cardiovascular anatomy; nervous system; digestive system; respiratory system; Limb anatomy, head and neck; thorax; abdomen and pelvis; cardiovascular physiology; renal physiology; respiratory physiology; endocrine physiology; non-human comparative anatomy; human fossil record.

Demonstrations of advanced 3D touch-screen visualization technology (BodyViz) and Virtual Reality anatomy learning tools housed in the IU School of Medicine Medical Library are also available on request and with sufficient advanced notice.

K-8 Tours

The fee for the K-8 tours is $5/student. This applies to elementary and middle school students.

Although cadaver-based lab tours are limited to high-school students and above, IU School of Medicine offer comparable non-cadaveric experiences for K-8 students. These tours provide students with hands-on experience with human skeletal materials, anatomical models, preserved sheep organs (brain, heart, lungs etc.), an extensive non-human and fossil comparative skeletal collection as well as exposure to an extensive collection of great ape and fossil human replica casts. Similar to the advanced tours, these tours for elementary and middle-school students can be easily customized for the different curricular needs of individual student groups. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • The organ systems of the body
  • How do our bodies work?
  • Our bodies under a microscope: Human cells
  • The human skeleton and muscular system
  • The brain and nervous system
  • The respiratopry and digestive systems
  • Adaptation: Why are animals different?
  • How do paleontologists study fossils?
  • All in the Family: The human fossil record