The University of Waterloo School of Anatomy was established by Order in Council of the Government of Ontario in 1978 to enable students of human movement to more easily gain an indepth knowledge of the structure of the human body. The level of teaching is on par with that of any medical school in order that our graduates may play a useful role in the health system.
The School was founded through the efforts of Dr. Don Ranney, a former orthopaedic and hand surgeon whose research focused on biomechanics of the hand and industrial repetitive strain injuries of the upper limb. He was Head of the School for its first twenty years.
The Human Anatomy Dissection Laboratory allows students to explore for themselves the structures of the body involved in human movement. The entire Anatomy teaching programme is designed exclusively for Kinesiology students but others are welcome if space permits. Lectures are slanted in the direction of applied anatomy. The laboratory sessions are small group demonstrations using pre-dissected human cadavers taught by the Senior Laboratory Assistant and a team of graduate students. Undergraduates are encouraged in the spirit of true science to explore and verify for themselves what they have heard and read. Between these more structured sessions the lab is open for personal study and review.
Five courses in human anatomy are available to Kinesiology students within the department. These are Human Anatomy : Limbs and Trunk (required of all students) and several electives: Human Anatomy of the Central Nervous System. Directed Study in Anatomy (which usually involves the internal organs); and either a Research Proposal and Project in Anatomy (2 terms) or a Senior Essay in Anatomy. Through interaction with other departments on campus, courses are available in histology, embryology, vertebrate zoology and human pathology. The School of Anatomy thus plays a key role in preparing students for courses in medicine, chiropractic, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and a wide variety of other health related fields as well as biomechanics and anatomy.
After completing a course, many undergraduate students come back for a second look as Volunteer Teaching Assistants. This refreshes their own knowledge when they are in a position to apply it to other courses, gives them practice in teaching, and brings to the junior students a sense of purpose in learning anatomy.
Graduate student research
The Anatomy Laboratory also plays a vital role in faculty and graduate student research, particularly in the area of biomechanics. Preliminary study of cadaver material is often advisable before conduct of research using living subjects to avoid misguided assumptions. Some research, both graduate and undergraduate, may be entirely anatomical in nature.
Body donation and the advancement of science
For more information regarding donations to the School of Anatomy please refer to our bequeathal program.