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Gadsden State Community College

Science Division

Human Gross Anatomy Lab

Project of the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program
Director - Ms. Shirley Colvin

The opening of Human Gross Anatomy Laboratories at its Wallace Drive and McClellan Campuses gives Gadsden State Community College the distinction of being the first community College in the State of Alabama to have facilities of this kind. The Wallace Drive Lab received its first class of students in the Fall of 2008, whereas the McClellan Campus Lab received its first class in the Spring of 2009. Funding for both labs came from a Federal Grant awarded to the Gadsden State Science Department in 2007 as a project of the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program made possible through the efforts of grants written by Dr. Valarie Richardson, Pam Johnson, Donna Howenton, Penny Abernathy and staff members.


These labs, along with cadavers received from Anatomical Donor Programs, provide a unique anatomy experience for Gadsden State students, an experience that has historically been limited to students enrolled in professional schools that include a clinical component. This additional laboratory perspective will allow Gadsden State students to enhance their comprehension of the human body, an enhancement that will set them apart as they continue their academic course of study. While the dissection courses themselves will be limited to a small number of students, all students taking BIO 201 and BIO 202 Anatomy and Physiology Courses will have the opportunity to view human anatomic structures as they study the organ systems of the human body.

Human Cadaver Dissection Lab Video

Application for Biology 271 Course-  Gadsden Campus

Application for Biology 271 Course-  McClellan Campus


The gross anatomy program these laboratories and provide an extraordinary learning experience for students in biology and all pre-healthcare programs.  The cadavers are dissected by students and studied extensively, allowing a true understanding and valuable knowledge of the complexities of the human body.

The gross anatomy laboratories are visited by Anatomy and Physiology classes for observations that correlate with their studies.  In addition to college students, high school teachers and high school students have the opportunity for teacher workshops and student on-site visits which include "hands-on" lab activities.


Cadaver Dissection

Cadaver dissection has been recognized as the optimal training tool for students in healthcare and related fields for hundreds of years.  While many schools offer only computer simulated activities, Gadsden State has made a commitment to offer students the best of both worlds by providing actual "hands-on" cadaver dissection enriched by computer generated dissection.  This allows students to be trained in an innovative yet well-proven environment that sets them apart as they continue pre-clinical or clinical training.

The cadavers used for study are obtained from the Alabama Anatomical Donor Program at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and are treated with respect at all times.  The gross anatomy laboratories are equipped with all necessary instrumentation and reference materials for the dissection and study of human anatomy.  In addition to cadaver dissection, the gross anatomy course includes presentations by guest lecturers and studies in pathophysiology.  Students will emerge with a new found understanding that will serve as a substantial basis for future courses and continued study: confident, well-prepared, ready to go further, ready to understand more, ready for their chosen careers!





What Our Students Have To Say About The Cadaver Lab:


 "I have thought about changing my major  to forensic science after taking this course."

 "I've discovered that I am able to do something that I never would have dreamed I could do."

 "This is so much better than looking at just models and diagrams."

 "I gained a newfound appreciation for the   scientists and researchers who have mapped   out the anatomy of the human body."

"This is the best hands-on, three dimensional learning experience imaginable."


Policies and Procedures for Gross Anatomy Lab


The mission of the Gadsden State Gross Anatomy lab is to provide a unique learning experience of the human body for students that are majoring in the health sciences and biology.  This includes a course that is dedicated to the dissection and study of the human body in detail and observation by other science courses that are related to the study of the human body.

Maintaining integrity and respect for the cadaver will be of the utmost importance to all instructors and students associated with the gross anatomy lab.  No images of the cadaver will be allowed to be made by students out of respect for the individual that donated their body to be studied.  Any derogatory, disrespectful, or offensive comments made about the cadaver or the class in general on any social network (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Individuals must meet the following criteria in order to enter the lab;

  • Sign release form to enter lab
  • Enrolled student in the cadaver dissection course
  • Enrolled student in BIO 201 or 202 per instructors request
  • Enrolled student in other health science courses per instructors request
  • Participant in high school education program for students and teachers
  • Approved educational guest



  • NO FOOD AND/OR DRINK allowed in laboratory.
  • NO VISITORS OR GUESTS are allowed in the lab without permission of instructor.
  • GLOVES: All students are required to wear gloves while dissecting in the laboratory. Ripped gloves must be replaced immediately.
  • CLOTHING: Shorts and short skirts are not allowed in the laboratory.  Scrubs are recommended but not required. Footwear should consist of closed-toe shoes (i.e., no flip-flops and sandals). Long Hair should be pulled back for protection.
  • APRONS/LAB COATS:  All students must wear an apron or a lab coat while in the lab. Aprons are provided to the students and must be disposed in the biohazard trash receptacles in the lab before you leave.
  • MASKS: Anyone entering the laboratory with a cold or respiratory infection is encouraged to wear a mask. This will reduce the irritation caused by the formaldehyde and will reduce the spread of colds. Masks should be worn when you are using the electric bone saw to reduce inhalation of fine bone particles that may be released into the air.
  • SAFETY GLASSES: Any students using either a saw or bone clips are required to wear safety glasses. Safety glasses are available in the laboratory.
  • SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS: Great care should be taken when using any of the surgical instruments (i.e., scalpels, saws, and knives). When instruments are not in use, they should be placed back in the instrument tray. At the end of class all instruments should be cleaned and placed back in their proper storage compartment.
  • ACCIDENTS: Any scratches or cuts must be treated immediately by the person sustaining them. If any accident does occur please notify the faculty immediately. All scratches, abrasions, and open skin lesions must be completely covered when in the laboratory
  • LABORATORY MUST BE KEPT CLEAN AND NEAT: Students must pick up the lab before they leave. Make sure all instruments are returned to their proper location.


If a student is found to be in violation of any of these safety rules or policies they will be asked to leave the lab immediately and will be banned from the lab indefinitely.


Human Cadaver Lab Images




Related Pre-Professional Programs:

Registered Nursing                   

Radiologic Technology
Licensed Practical Nursing       

Surgical/Operating Room Technology
Nursing Assistant                      


Medical Transcription

Clinical Laboratory Technology

Emergency Medical Services
Massage Therapy                      

Pre-Physical Therapy



Related Courses to Human Cadaver Dissection:


Human Biology   
Human Anatomy & Physiology   
Medical Terminology       
General Microbiology




Mr. Phillip Snider
Biology Instructor      
Browder Hall, Room 16
Gadsden State Community College
1001 George Wallace Drive
Gadsden, AL 35903
Phone: 256-549-8430                                                   

Lab Supervisor:

Grant Writers:

Ms. Kaci Rodgers 
Browder Hall, Room 208-A
Gadsden State Community College
1001 George Wallace Drive
Gadsden, Al 35903
Phone: 256-549-8430

Dr. Valarie Richardson
Pam Johnson
Donna Howington
Penney Abernathy
Misti Morgan