Berks cadaver lab renovated and expanded to meet growing demand

November 05, 2015

READING, Pa. — Penn State Berks is the only college in Berks County that has a cadaver laboratory, and the laboratory recently underwent a major renovation and expansion to meet the growing needs of the college and its partnership agreement with Alvernia University.

Recent renovations to the campus' Luerssen Building led to the redesign and expansion of the cadaver laboratory, which was completed this year and made fully operational in time for the fall 2015 semester. The new lab has an expanded area of 900 square feet that can now accommodate up to 30 students, making it the second largest cadaver laboratory in the Penn State system, behind only the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. The lab is equipped with five dissecting tables, as well as two television screens, which can be connected to video cameras to show videos or display images.  

In 1996, Penn State Berks was the first campus outside University Park, besides the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, to open a cadaver lab. Susan Monk, retired assistant professor of kinesiology, brought the idea to the college as a tool to teach her students anatomy.

“In 1994, I was taking 'Gross Anatomy' at Hershey and while commuting back to teach my anatomy classes at Berks, I would think how wonderful it would be if my students could experience having a cadaver on campus,” explained Monk. “Then I started thinking, ‘Why not?’ It took quite a bit of convincing, but with support from Hershey, we overcame all the roadblocks and it finally became a reality in fall 1996. It was a hugely successful addition to the campus from the beginning and I am so pleased to see the program grow as it has."

Ben Infantolino, assistant professor of kinesiology, has been teaching anatomy courses since joining Penn State Berks in 2010. He also serves as program coordinator for the bachelor of science in kinesiology degree program. According to Infantolino, the expanded cadaver lab allows the kinesiology program at Berks to increase the class size of the Advanced Anatomy course, which focuses on cadaver dissection. This course has demonstrated growing student interest in recent years in light of the increasing number of kinesiology majors and an enhanced interest among kinesiology students to continue their studies in clinical graduate degree programs.

The redesign and expansion of the cadaver dissection lab was also driven, in part, by a recent partnership between Penn State Berks and Alvernia University centered around Alvernia’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. The major focus of the agreement allows Alvernia’s DPT graduate students to use the cadaver lab at Penn State Berks for their first-year anatomy course and, in return, a minimum of five seats in Alvernia’s DPT program are reserved for qualified students graduating from the Penn State Berks bachelor of science in kinesiology degree program.

The joint agreement went into effect at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester. DPT students are currently using the Penn State Berks cadaver laboratory, and seven former Penn State Berks kinesiology students are currently enrolled in the DPT program. 

  • students in cadaver lab

    An agreement between Penn State Berks and Alvernia University will give Alvernia students access to Penn State Berks' cadaver laboratory.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated May 12, 2016