Anatomy and Cell Biology

Project Title: Creation of Virtual Reality Anatomical Modules

Faculty Mentor’s Name: Dr. Kyle Rarey
Phone: (352) 273-5753

Co PI: Sara Weitzel, MS, Associate Director of Education IT

Research Project Description:

In the College of Medicine, students are required to participate in anatomy classes involving dissecting cadavers in groups and correctly navigating and identifying structures of the various systems of the human body. While students will inevitably select differing specialties, all medical students are required to complete this course. The learned anatomy will be the cornerstone of their medical knowledge in their future specialties education. This proposal is requesting the ability for four medical students to participate in the summer anatomy research project for credit. These research projects will emerge the selected medical students deeper into the gross anatomy through the means of virtual reality. Students will utilize virtual reality and screen capturing software to create online learning modules that will enhance select areas in the existing anatomy curriculum.
Each of the four medical students selected for the summer research project will be assigned to one of the areas of focus below.

Area of Focus Table

Area of Focus xR Project Objectives & Goals
Abdomen Illustrate the arterial blood supply to the GI system; Illustrate the tributaries of the portal venous system; Illustrate the spatial relationship of the visceral organs
Head and Neck Illustrate the distribution of lymph nodes; Illustrate the pathways of the twelve cranial nerve; Illustrate the arterial branches of the external and internal carotid arteries.
Extremities Illustrate the nerves of the brachial plexus; Illustrate the joints of the upper and lower extremities; Illustrate the arterial and venous structures
Surgery Case Compare normal anatomy via xR with select clinical cases.
Cadaver Dissection Integrate normal anatomy via xR with select cadaveric dissections.
CT Radiology Integrate normal anatomy via xR with select radiological cases.

Each student will be able to view an approximate representation of the human body to scale and interact with it in real time through a virtual reality application. Each student will use this application to highlight, locate systems and achieve the objectives and goals assigned to their area of focus. The end project result will be for each student to creatively develop an educational module that will cover their selected area of focus.
For this summer research project, each medical student will be temporarily assigned a computer with all the appropriate software and a VR headset. All equipment and gear must be returned at the end of the project to receive credit for this project. Each student will be assigned an anatomy faculty mentor. This mentor will provide a sound board for each student to actively present their ideas and receive feedback for their materials. The anatomy faculty members will also connect students to IT assistance if they need additional support for the applications or software tools while they create these modules.
The summer research projects will be integrated into the upcoming academic year materials and used to help teach medical students that specific area of focus of the human body without any limit through a variety of learning modalities. These projects will inevitably impact the 280 first and second year medical students and the faculty who support the medical anatomy classes. The overall objective for this proposal is to enhance the existing anatomy materials to provide greater educational benefits for students and enable faculty to provide higher quality education with minimal additional effort. The educational modules will allow students to examine and interact with their cadaver before and after the dissection happens through virtual reality. The virtual reality technologies will expand on to the traditional approach to learning medical anatomy but allow for modules to be utilized outside the cadaver lab and repeated for self-study.
One of the best ways for anatomy to utilize virtual reality into the classroom is by allowing existing medical students to use their creativity and medical knowledge to develop virtual reality educational modules to help teach their peers selected areas of the human body. The educational modules can be re-used each year when learning that specific area of focus. These projects will also assist with various accessibility issues within the classroom. Educators have noticed that students occasionally have trouble with spatial awareness when viewing anatomy of the human body. The virtual reality modules will display areas of the body within 3D space to identify anatomical structures in relation to other structures.

Entry Date: April 21, 2020