May 24, 2018
Alabama Science in Motion (ASIM), a partnership between Athens State University and high schools in Blount, Cullman, Lawrence, Limestone, and Morgan counties, allowed students to participate in a unique educational experience during their spring semester. An artificial cadaver, known as
Lady Abra Cadaver, spent this spring traveling across North Alabama and visiting several local high schools.
The lifelike synthetic cadaver, created by the Syndaver company, was won by Athens State Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Sara Cline, in a contest and named by Athens State students. Athens State Human Anatomy and Physiology students use Lady Abra Cadaver during the fall, and she travels around to local high schools in the spring. During its 2018 tour, the Syndaver visited 18 high schools, allowing 1,742 anatomy, AP biology, and health students, as well as 46 teachers and 15 administrators, the opportunity for a more in-depth learning experience.
This synethic cadaver is one of two education-grade models that have been made available to high school students. Sarah Lowman, ASIM’s Biology Specialist, transported the Syndaver across the area. This was no easy task, as the 5-foot,
125-pound cadaver is made of 75% water, just like humans, and had to be treated with special care to keep its specific composition intact.
When not in use, the Syndaver is stored in a 500 gallon water tank filled with algaecide water. When being transported, the Syndaver is removed from the tank, placed on a gurney, and covered with a wet towel. It is then wrapped in a plastic sheet, protected by an air mattress, and zipped into a body bag to ensure it does not dry out. Once it arrives at its destination, it is rolled into the school on a gurney, still encased in its body bag, creating a curious sight for onlookers.
The ASIM partnership allows local high schools access to expensive, high-tech laboratory equipment that would be difficult for the schools to purchase individually. It also provides professional development opportunities for high school teachers to partake in.