Over the years, the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science has experienced and continues to undergo renewal and transformation, much like a metamorphosis. Much more than any other basic science discipline, the Anatomy faculty members are cognisant of the important fact that teaching and research are two sides of the same coin, and that focusing on just one side, at the expense of the other, will eventually cause the demise of the Anatomy identity. Although some traditional anatomy teaching and research still has its rightful place, the Anatomy is undergoing dramatic changes in both teaching and research. Anatomy is a central foundation of all health-related disciplines. The recruitment of three new Anatomy faculty members in the recent three years has brought new expertise, novel ideas and excitement to our department. I feel proud to chair this department of dedicated faculty, highly talented Canadian and international students and postdocs, and all staff members who make this place a vibrant experience. Their hearts are in it; this says it all!
My visions in research and teaching for the Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science are bold, bright, and, I believe, achievable and realistic.
Research is an essential element in the department’s activities and we have seen major successes over the past years. Currently, we have Anatomy members receiving funding from all major national funding agencies and sit on CIHR grant committees. Anatomy is an integral part of all major research activities at the Faculty of Medicine and researchers at Anatomy lead productive translational research initiatives. However, most important to me is the fact that Anatomy faculty think “Science” and are engaged in research activities, whether in the cancer, regenerative medicine, cardiovascular, neurobiology, or clinical anatomy field. Renovations and new imaging equipments have created an ideal environment for research at the department and cutting edge nano-imaging technology will allow us to do what Anatomists have been trained to do best: understand and dissect structure-function relationships. Now this seemingly old Anatomy trade receives a welcoming boost as we can now visualize intricate dynamic structural relationships at the molecular level. My vision is that of a seamless imaging platform that incorporates highly sophisticated electron microscopy, fluorescent nano-imaging microscopy, to multicolor 3-dimensional imaging of biological structures. Lots of the expertise and building blocks are already in place. I am very optimistic that we will succeed in this endeavour by adding new and cutting edge laser scanning and electron microscopy equipment unique to Manitoba which will transform the way we view things forever.
Our commitment to excellence in teaching includes a synergy between traditional and modern approaches. These include clinical and sectional anatomy, self-directed learning tools, and the tailored anatomy modules for specific interest groups. I take pride in the fact that we have clinical colleagues who participate in anatomy teaching and provide an essential role in portraying anatomy as essential knowledge base in clinical practise. My vision in teaching anatomy goes beyond this. I thrive to integrate the anatomy in clinical case based simulation and skills labs to bridge the gap between Anatomy as a basic science discipline and the clinical application of this essential knowledge. Existing top notch simulation and skills labs at the Faculty of Medicine provide the basis and potential for an enigmatic synergy. My vision is that of an Anatomy learning experience integrated at all levels in the curriculum, providing students with continued and incremental knowledge support, and a gratifying experience in Anatomy. Educating medical health professionals in an integrative learning environment will change and further improve the way we teach Anatomy.