STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 05/09/2016

New Science Labs = New Possibilities

In the Ken Olsen Science Center, science students now delve a level deeper—quite literally, in a new underground lab wing. Funded in part by a grant Gordon received from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center as part of the Life Sciences Consortium of the North Shore, it features a “Fab Lab” (fabrication lab, or machine shop) for physics students, a vivarium and aquarium for biology and psychology students conducting animal research, and a cadaver lab for kinesiology and pre-health professions students.

The vision for the cadaver lab was cast a few years ago, when Dr. Sean Clark (kinesiology) asked students in his senior seminar to begin dreaming about what an anatomy lab at Gordon might look like. Kinesiology enrollments doubled over the previous decade, and the lab space shared with the Biology Department was stretched to its limits. At that point, his students weren’t necessarily designing labs with cadavers in mind, but they created something versatile enough to accommodate that option in the future.

Their design ideas were incorporated into architects’ and specialists’ plans, which were then refined and finalized by Dr. Clark—even down to the soft blue paint color. Traditional white walls and stainless steel fixtures struck him as too stark and uninviting for students who would be encountering cadavers for the first time.

With a capacity for five cadavers and an ideal location near the medical hub of Boston, “we are really looking to leverage our location to provide extra opportunities for students,” Dr. Clark says. His students tend to be highly motivated, with sights set on competitive graduate programs. “We have an opportunity to provide hands-on experience, and instill a humble confidence in students as they enter grad programs,” he notes.

The cadavers are supplied through a donor program, with which Gordon has been building a relationship over the last three years. “We approach this endeavor recognizing and humbly appreciating the gift for learning that each donor has provided. The giving of one’s body for study is truly an exceptional gift and one that we need to appropriately recognize and steward well,” says Dr. Clark.

Up next in the lineup of Ken Olsen Science Center additions: a new biology greenhouse space on the third floor.  


KOSC lab