'She's as real as you can get.' Nashville high school receives synthetic cadaver

Posted at 8:10 AM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 09:37:07-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — Students at Brentwood Academy are learning about the human body with a SynDaver, a synthetic cadaver.

"It just brings home what we're teaching," said anatomy teacher Rhonda Brown. "If we're talking about muscles we can go straight to her."

Their anatomically accurate mannequin includes all of the major skeletal, muscular and cartilaginous structures in a typical adult.

The model, affectionately nicknamed "Syndi," was donated by a parent who knew his daughter was interested in nursing and thought the SynDaver could steer more kids toward a future in STEM.

"If they weren't sure about it, maybe this will develop some excitement about that, maybe even other technological paths of study," said Jeff Bryant, chair of the science department.

The SynDaver was gifted to the school this year. Anatomy and physiology students appreciate the hands-on learning they're getting.

This is what students said:

"I want to be a neurosurgeon, so I like being able to see the nerves through Syndi and how they connect."

"This is like a little preview to my surgery career!"

"If you look on a diagram [at muscles] they are all on top of each other and it just looks like a mess, but if you look at Syndi, you can see where all the muscles are and where they are going and where they connect."

The students still use and dissect other specimen like frogs and cats, but teachers hope to create even more lesson plans with the cadaver in semesters to come.

Brentwood Academy is the only high school in the Nashville area with a SynDaver. It costs about $40,000 and newer models that can move, bleed and breathe are upgrades.