Exploring the Heart

March 27, 2018
Julia Furnari ’20 Biology Major
  • Julia with her pig heart (pre-dissection)

A perfect day in the life of a biology student: you walk into lab and see… dissecting trays! This was my exact reaction when I walked into my physiology lab several weeks ago. A lab on a Friday that ends at 5:30pm… talk about a drag. But, I always stay positive knowing I will leave the classroom with more knowledge than I had before.

We were learning about the circulatory system and all the structures and functions of the heart in physiology lecture. I walk into lab thinking we were just going to take blood pressure measurements. Then I see the dissecting trays. Then I see a big bag of fresh sheep hearts! (Yay?) I’m a student who does their best work in action, and maybe likes a bit of gross stuff, so I was so excited to perform this dissection. My lab partner and I looked at each other in amazement and then got to work!

Our instructor, Dr. Aleyasin, is filled with knowledge of physiology considering he was a practicing physician for several years. He is so enthusiastic about his students learning and encourages us to learn from our mistakes, making a very comfortable environment for us to work and learn in. We first examined the exterior features of the heart to help us distinguish the anterior and posterior surfaces. Next, we opened up the heart and observed all of the structures inside, including the tricuspid valve, chordae tendineae, and the papillary muscle. Everything just popped out to me— colors, shapes, and how the structure is designed to perform the function. It was incredible to see all of my peers just as excited about this as I was. We all went around the room looking at each other’s hearts.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” I can relate to this quote by Aristotle in this lab class. Students come in ready to learn with excitement and curiosity. Opening your mind and heart will allow you to fully absorb the material being taught. I’m looking forward to where my scalpel will take me next week!