Colleges send brains and hearts by MAIL to pre-med students

The pandemic is forcing college students to adapt to a lot of changes.

One of the oddest has been what to do in biology labs, where students are expected to learn anatomy and physiology by dissecting animal specimens.

Some instructors have opted for virtual labs, but others are shipping brains, hearts, and eyeballs to students to dissect in their homes while being observed on Zoom.

One student's TikTok video depicting her 'unboxing' a particularly pungent fetal piglet gone viral.

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Students like Lafayette College junior Maggie Ledwith (pictured) have been sent preserved brains and other animal organs in the mail so they can complete their labwork while taking classes remotely

Students like Lafayette College junior Maggie Ledwith (pictured) have been sent preserved brains and other animal organs in the mail so they can complete their labwork while taking classes remotely

Neuroscience majors taking professor Luis Schettino's Physiological Psychology 2 class at Lafayette College were sent sheep's brains, frequently used in student labs because they closely resemble the human cerebellum. 

'Performing a dissection on a sheep's brain at home was not something I would have foreseen myself doing,' said junior Maggie Ledwith, 'but the psychology department and neuroscience program did a great job preparing us for the procedure and ensuring we had the resources to carry out the lab.' 

The brains were preserved without the use of toxic chemicals, and came with gloves and other protective gear. 

Still, Schettino admitted, it's a 'second-best solution.' 

Professor Luis Schettino leads students in his Physiological Psychology 2 lab at Lafayette College over Zoom. 'To be honest, there is no substitute for having the students be all within the lab,' Schettino told Futurism

Professor Luis Schettino leads students in his Physiological Psychology 2 lab at Lafayette College over Zoom. 'To be honest, there is no substitute for having the students be all within the lab,' Schettino told Futurism

'To be honest, there is no substitute for having the students be all within the lab,' he told Futurism. 

In July, students who enrolled in a summer internship at Stanford Medical School were sent a vacuum-sealed sheep brain and pig's heart to dissect. 

Missing out on face time with professors was disappointing, but Caitlin Dinh, a junior at the University of Southern California, told Stanford's Scope blog, 'I learned more about medicine in two weeks than I did in two years of college.'

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