Synthetic cadaver is the newest addition at Penn State Shenango

SynDaver will be used to simulate dissection in Biology Department

Biology instructors Kevin McDade and Diane Kuharsky show students the campus' new SynDaver (TM) model. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Her name is Synthia, and she’s approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds. Synthia is the newest addition to Penn State Shenango and its Biology Department. Shenango students became acquainted with her this fall while working in their anatomy course labs.“Synthia is our new, female SynDaver (TM) model,” said Diane Kuharsky, instructor of biology. “She, as we refer to it, was purchased by the campus to provide our students with the most authentic feel and look to a real cadaver. It is the perfect learning alternative to dissecting real animals -- it’s more accurate and a wonderful tool for our anatomy students.”

Because of the strong, academic portfolio the Shenango campus maintains in the fields of health and human services, this new model is another step in providing its medical students, who will one day be working on humans, with front-line technology. The SynDaver enables the biology professors to teach scale of the muscles, organs and bones.“We are extremely excited to be one of the first Penn State campuses to purchase a SynDaver, and possibly one of the first colleges or universities in the area to acquire the model,” said Kevin McDade, instructor of biology. “The SynDaver allows students to understand depth, as you can pull layers back to see each and every muscle and organ in the body. Students who are in our rigorous Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapy programs can see and feel the human muscle texture, while also being able to see and feel joint motion.”Synthia resides in the Forker Lab biology lab in a polypropylene display tank in a weak chlorine bath, which keeps the gel of the muscles hydrated and provides an anti-microbial environment.“Many smaller colleges and universities cannot afford a full cadaver lab, and this model, which closely approximates a real cadaver, is very cost effective and on the cutting-edge of the way we can teach anatomy to our students,” McDade concluded.


Last Updated January 13, 2015