Plastinated Arm Vasculature
Human Torso at the Kidneys
Plastinated Slice of Human Foot
The research collection in the Health Sciences Department is comprised of rare and unique human anatomy specimens, as well as a small selection of pieces of medical importance. For more information about each subcollection, including plastination, histology, human DNA, classical anatomy, and historical medical, please see the tabs below.
Dr. Coughlin at the Institute for Plastination
The Institute for Plastination
Dr. Coughlin and Dr. von Hagens
Simply put, the plastination process halts the progression of
decomposition after death. It does this by replacing the water and
fat in body tissues with polymer plastics, thus removing the
environment in which bacteria and other microorganisms responsible
for decomposition thrive. This method produces bodies, organs, and
tissue slices that remain very lifelike-still real, but infused
with plastic so they are flexible, odorless, and very durable. All
the anatomical details and much of the color of the tissue are
Dr. Gunther von Hagens, anatomist and lecturer at the University
of Heidelberg, patented his plastination technique in 1977 as an
alternative to the usual method of preserving specimens by
imbedding them in solid blocks of plastic. He wanted to be able to
touch the specimens and examine them more closely. The value of
plastination to anatomy studies was immediately obvious. Dr. von
Hagens spent the next 20 years refining the process, making
improvements and modifications as he worked. He made the first
whole-body plastinate in 1990.
This process is explained in detail in the steps shown in the
diagram and images below.
By Ashley Hernandez & Momina Khazi
Our 2015 Teen Science Scholars in the Health Sciences Department share their experiences in researching and cataloguing the extensive histology slide collection donated by local pathologist, Dr. Robert Shikes.
Curator and ChairHealth Sciences Deptngarneau@dmns.org
Collections Manager 303.370.6071 firstname.lastname@example.org
Asst Collections Manager 303.370.6138 email@example.com
2015 Teen Science Scholar
Institute for Plastination