Student report shared by Anatomical Society

Issued: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 15:27:00 BST

Dr Eilidh Ferguson and student Morven Burton in discussion

As part of an Anatomical Society-funded summer scholarship, School of Life Sciences student Morven Burton conducted a six-week appraisal of the University of Glasgow skeletal collection under the supervision of Dr Eilidh Ferguson.

Anatomical collections are an invaluable resource for teaching and research, particularly in exposing students to real-life anatomical variation.

The university's Anatomy Facility currently houses approximately 500 teaching skeletons, of which only around 200 have previously been analysed and catalogued.

Documenting skeletal collections is not only important for the appropriate storage and management of specimens but also for facilitating and informing the use of such materials for education and research purposes.

Morven's project aimed to assess teaching skeletons to describe the preservation and completeness of the collection, in addition to quantifying the presence of anatomical variation, to determine the educational value and potential for future research.

Dr Ferguson explained: "I received funding for an undergraduate summer scholarship project recently and the summary report has just been shared by the anatomical society.

"Morven Burton, who is one of our anatomy students, conducted the study for six weeks over the summer. She worked meticulously, with support from anatomy staff and another of our current fourth year students, Carrah McConnell, who also volunteered on the project for a few weeks.

"During the short duration of the project, Morven was able to analyse and record over 5000 skeletal elements. This scholarship has been invaluable in allowing us to conduct a detailed analysis of part of the University’s longstanding osteology teaching collection, as well as providing a unique experience for one of our current anatomy students.

"Morven was a pleasure to work with over the summer and did an excellent job of putting together a summary report for the project, which is available to read on the Anatomical Society webpage.

"We look forward to presenting the results of this research project at the Anatomical Society Winter Conference in Lancaster in December 2019."

Morven added: “The summer project with Dr Ferguson was an exciting experience that I enjoyed thoroughly. It was a great way to apply myself and utilise the skills and knowledge I have acquired over my time at the University of Glasgow.

"I gained both experience working in an ethically-aware, lab-based environment and an insight into the professional practice of this field.

"Overall, the project saw me build confidence in my skills and will significantly benefit my future studies, and, ultimately, my career in science, as I feel the experience was invaluable preparation for my Level 4 Honours project.”

Read the full report here: