• Question: What do you do in labs?

    Asked by dove to Lindsay on 12 May 2015.
    • Photo: K. Lindsay Hunter

      K. Lindsay Hunter answered on 12 May 2015:

      I’ve worked in lots of different labs, but my favorite is the Gross Human Anatomy Lab.

      I worked for a little bit in a cell biology lab torturing cells with ricin, but quickly found that wasn’t for me. You had to take care of cells just like you might a dog or a cat (sometimes even MORE delicately), but you didn’t get to pet them or hardly even see them. It felt more like I was caring for an imaginary friend.

      Most of my time has been in labs that are full of human bones or fossil casts (detailed reproductions of fossil bones made from molds), but not to sound completely psycho, I really enjoy working in a human dissection lab.

      I used to help conduct experiments in plastination (like preserving a dead body by “embalming” in plastic instead keeping it wet) where I would do very detailed dissections that clearly demonstrated key structures, before they would be preserved with polymers. This kind of preservation allows you to take real body parts out of a lab and into classrooms for people to handle. If you’ve ever been to a Body Worlds exhibit, those bodies have been plastinated.

      You can learn more about plastination here: