“Think of it as evolution in action………”

from "Oath of Fealty" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1981)

 As one of the oldest medically-related research disciplines, the first recorded roots of Anatomy can be found in the Egyptian hieroglyphs, written on the walls of their tombs and in their papyri. The writings described the gross morphology of the thoracic and abdominal viscera and other body structures. The Greeks are credited with shifting the focus of anatomical study from the religious perspective of the Egyptians to disciplined scientific study of the human body. Using basic instruments and methods, the earliest Greek anatomists were able to discern the origins of the cranial nerves, the structure of the vascular system and thoracic viscera.

Each step in the evolution of the Anatomical Sciences has always been preceded by the development of  new technologies/approaches that allowed investigators, willing to implement these new methods, to delve deeper into organ, tissue, and cell structure. Where would we be if Zacharias Janssen and his father failed to invent the compound microscope, and Anton van Leeuwenhoeck did not subsequently use that technology in his studies at the cellular level? Where would we be now in our cell biology approaches if Roger Tsien had not discovered Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and developed GFP as a research tool? Our goal as investigators and academicians is to continue to be forward thinking in order to gain a better understanding on how the amazing machine that is the human body functions in homeostasis and how that function is disrupted as a result of disease.

Our faculty continues to embrace innovation, implementing state-of-the-art approaches to fulfill our research and teaching missions here at LSUHSC-S. Our researchers use a wide range of approaches to ask and answer their research questions; from metabolic analysis in cells and tissues using the Seahorse™ analyzer, electroencephalography /electrocardiography to investigate epilepsy, multiphoton microscopy to visualize organ function in real time and, super resolution microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to image subcellular structure. Our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are taught to develop and hone their skills in many of these respective technologies to prepare them for the next step in their own careers in the academic or biotechnology/pharmaceutical fields.

Our educational mission encompasses teaching the “classical” Anatomic Disciplines to Medical, Allied Health, and Graduate students. Although the human body has not underwent significant change over the past 200-250ka (kiloannums), the methods that we use to convey key information/concepts to our students continues to evolve at an amazingly rapid pace. Didactic lectures are recorded and delivered by podcast; teaching videos streamed via Airplay™ to remote monitors; guest lecturers, who are world-class experts in their respective fields, deliver seminars via live streaming over the Internet.

What does remain constant is our mission to provide the best education and training to our Medical, Allied Health, and Graduate Students. As you browse through our web pages, you will see the drive and dedication of our faculty to provide an outstanding educational experience for our students while, at the same time, conducting nationally/internationally recognized biomedical research.

Kevin J. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Head

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