Quincy College has purchased a SynDaver, a synthetic cadaver, for students studying phlebotomy, physical therapist assistant and nursing at the school’s Cordage Park campus.
PLYMOUTH – The new girl in the science program at Quincy College is getting a lot of healthy exposure.
SynD (pronounced Cindy) is a synthetic cadaver, or SynDaver, that features all the bones, joints, muscles, organs and tendons found in normal human anatomy.
Future nurses in Dr. Dennis Burke’s physiology and anatomy class were the first to lift SynD from the water bath in her dip tank home. They peeled away her synthetic skin just in time to complete studies in how muscles look, feel and interact. “We just started muscles so the timing is perfect,” Burke said Wednesday.
Burke spearheaded the purchase of the Syndaver after seeing the synthetic cadaver pitched on the popular television show, Shark Tank.
Burke had just seen the Shark Tank episode when college officials asked if anyone had any ideas for the next budget cycle. “Timing is everything. I said, ‘I do,’” Burke said.
Quincy College is the first two-year college in Massachusetts to invest in a Syndaver. Lasell College bought the first. The University of Rhode Island has four. Burke visited the university to make sure they were as awesome as advertised.
The synthetic cadaver is part of the $2 million expansion and renovation that celebrates Quincy College’s 25th anniversary of serving South Shore residents from a campus in Plymouth. The renovation expanded the campus footprint at Cordage Park by 45,000 square feet, including the build-out of a new nursing wing with simulation lab space.
SynD is housed in a newly built 950-square-foot lab customized to her needs.
The lab includes traditional anatomy and physiology models, microscopes and dissection equipment that students have been using in their studies of anatomy. There is also a metal dip tank that keeps the water-based synthetic cadaver in a water bath when not in use.
SynD floats in the bath water, which is treated with standard pool chemicals and must be changed every two or three weeks.
The female surgical model is called the Piper model and costs $65,000. It is 5 feet 4 inches long and features functional musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine and nervous systems.
A heart pump pushes synthetic blood through the system of veins and arteries and can be regulated to test students on their ability to read a pulse. Students can also use the cadaver to practice intravenous injections and provide cardiovascular resuscitation.
Burke said students in his classes dissect animals to explore critical medical skills, but that he cannot teach the real feel of tissue to students the way SynD can.
The tissue of the synthetic cadaver provides a better representation of live tissue than the dead tissue of a real cadaver. Students can also manipulate muscles and tendons and see how other parts of the body are affected.
Bob Bostrom, associated dean of academics for Quincy College at Plymouth, said the purchase allows the school to remain true to its mission of student-centered education.
“Bringing cutting-edge technology to the Quincy College at Plymouth Campus allows us to provide a better learning experience and world class education for our students who are committed to a career in helping others – be it as a phlebotomist, physical therapist or nurse,” Bostrom said.
Bostrom said the college is considering expanding the use of SynD to the public for non-credit certification and skill and professional development.