The caption beneath the illustration reads, “Ascending central auditory pathways. Monaural pathways are shown in red, binaural pathways in blue, and other connections in black…” Twenty-eight labels in 8 point (very small) font crowd onto a page that resembles a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Somehow, it all has to do with percussion, rhythm and beats, harmony, and deeply felt emotion. But who would know?
Vinh Dao and Pon-Pon Yeh, now MS-3s, struggled in their first year of medical school with “dry and boring” material that was “very abstract and difficult to grasp.” They had an idea, which they proposed to their professors, Charleen Moore, PhD and Kristine Vogel, PhD, both of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology. In an effort to make neuroanatomy more fun and more intuitive for students coming after them, and to help them integrate knowledge about neural pathways with their own experiences, the four worked together to create Applied Neuroanatomy. The elective, which was attended by 18 MS-1s, took place in four units from March 30 to May 4, 2012.
- To learn the neural pathways for proprioception and balance, students and their instructors had the opportunity to practice slacklining and yoga in the grassy area in front of the Briscoe Library, and to try out a unicycle and an Indo Board.
- They packed up sketch pads, pastels, pencils and markers for a trip the the San Antonio Botanical Gardens where they undertook a series of exercises designed to draw attention to vision and the pathways associated with it.
- They spent an evening spinning vinyl on turntables and using synthesizers to experiment with generating musical beats.
- Finally, they created a feast for themselves, including fine wines and chocolate, and spent an evening reflecting on the neural pathways associated with taste and olfaction.
An exhibit documenting the class in photos and words will be on display in the lecture hall commons of the School of Medicine beginning in early July.
Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian