For medical students, doing lab work as part of their courses is a vital way to learn research skills and better understand the concepts in the lectures.
This poses a challenge for remote schools during the coronavirus pandemic. So some biology teachers send students' brains, eyeballs, and even whole pigs home by mail so that they can dissect them at home.
At Lafayette College, students in neuroscience enrolled in a physiology course recently received mail packages containing canned sheep brains, which are usually chosen by schools because of their resemblance to the human brain. Then neurologist and psychologist Luis Schettino guided the students in a video call while dissecting the brain.
To be honest, there is no substitute for students to be with everyone in the lab, where we can communicate directly, and I can be sure that I am personally showing them the location of the brain structures, except through a video call, Ã¢ â¬ Schettino told Futurism. “What I mean is that this is, of course, the second best solution in the current context,” he added.
Schettino stressed that the neuroscience department is working hard to ensure that students can do their jobs safely. For example, nothing in the package is toxic and instructs students on appropriate safety precautions, such as wearing protective equipment and handling instruments correctly.
Stanford School of Medicine, for example, also mailed sheep brains and pig hearts to students in the summer clinical internship program. And at the University of Arizona, Julie Taraborrelli, a sophomore in physiology and medical science, expects to see a scalpel, scissors and other common dissection tools. When she opened the package, she told BuzzFeed News.
Instead, she was caught unpacking a pig, a cow's eye and a sheep's brain. She made an unboxing clip of the entire kit – and distributed it on TikTok, where it went viral. “I didn't really know what would be in the box,” Taraborrelli told CBC.
Ã¢ â¬ ÅIÃ¢ â¬ TMm just not expecting anything like that. I would never have expected them to send us, by mail, real animal organs. It's interesting, but strange, the student adds.