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Michelle Welsh discuss the study of anatomy
MICHELLE WELSH: Hi. My name is Michelle Welsh. And I’m a senior university teacher, here at the University of Glasgow. I work in the School of Life Sciences and I teach anatomy, specifically. And anatomy is really the study of the human body. It links really closely with another subject, called physiology. Now, physiology is more about how the body works, whereas anatomy is much more about how the body looks. We also have to think about other aspects known as histological anatomy, or microscopic anatomy. And you’ll not be surprised to hear that that means we’ve looked down a microscope, and we’re looking at what the tissue or the organ looks like at the cellular level.
Anatomists are also really interested in how the body forms, in the first place. And that’s known as a part of anatomy called embryology, or developmental anatomy. So as anatomists, we look at all of those things, linking them really closely to how the body works. And of course, that then links on to disease– how can it go wrong, how do medics treat those diseases, with things like pharmacology developing the drugs for those treatments. So anatomy is really central to the sort of wider subject of human biology. Here at Glasgow, our degree is made up of a mixture of theoretical teaching as well as practical teaching. We are moving our degree much more towards interactive student teaching.
Students would still experience a proportion of lectures. However, they would also have a lot of workshops, seminars, and traditional lab sessions. Anatomy feeds into almost all aspects of biomedical research. So some exciting things that have been happening recently would include the use of stem cells in Parkinson’s treatment, for example. Things like the existence of the new legislation in the UK with regards to three-person IVF, whereby, now, individuals who have a history and genetic risk factor of mitochondrial disease, they can actually use three-person IVF in order to get around that, so that those parents can have a child that is genetically theirs, but doesn’t carry the risk of the mitochondrial disease. And again, that’s heavily based around anatomical principles.

Anatomy is one of the most well known of the life sciences yet recent developments have opened up worlds of opportunity not even dreamed of by the anatomists of previous eras. In this video Michelle Welsh talks about her love of the subject and of some of its applications.

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