College of Medicine Co-Hosts OUR BODY Exhibit at ECHO

By Jennifer Nachbur

Burlington, Vermont’s ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center has partnered with the University of Vermont College of Medicine to bring a fascinating, world class scientific exhibit called “OUR BODY: The Universe Within” to the region. The exhibit opens Saturday, April 14, 2012 and runs until Monday, September 3, 2012.

Both ECHO and the UVM College of Medicine are committed to teaching not only the next generation of scientists and physicians, but the Vermont community, North Country region and beyond. In jointly supporting this exhibit, both organizations aim to inspire all visitors to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the body’s form, function and uniqueness. Dozens of University of Vermont College of Medicine faculty, medical students, and graduate students are contributing to the exhibit experience, providing anatomy expertise, serving as special speakers, and volunteering with school groups.

A traveling exhibit on human anatomy produced by Studio 2 Promotions, OUR BODY: The Universe Within dramatically displays approximately 200 organs, human bodies and other anatomical specimens that provide visitors with a unique opportunity to gain a real “beneath the skin” view of the human body. The ECHO version of this exhibit, which has been scaled down to 6,000 square feet, features actual human specimens that show the body and its parts as they really exist. Each unique specimen has been preserved through a process called polymer impregnation, in which the body’s water and fat is replaced with reactive plastics. The polymer plastic is initially pliable, enabling the specimens to be placed in different life-like positions, and then hardens after infusions. Organs are identical to their preservation state down to the microscopic level.

In conjunction with the exhibit, ECHO is offering a special After Dark OUR BODY: The Universe Within Speaker Series featuring University of Vermont faculty, which runs Thursday evenings, April 19 through May 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and includes two twenty-minute “walk-and-talk” tours in the exhibit. In addition, ECHO’s OUR BODY: The Universe Within website features Educational Resources, including seven videos, created by the UVM College of Medicine’s Medical AV unit and featuring UVM College of Medicine faculty who provide an overview of each of the body systems featured in the exhibit.

Information about admission to ECHO, the OUR BODY exhibit, as well as the Speaker Series is featured on the ECHO website.