Students given chance to see virtual autopsy in Southampton

Margaret Ashton-Key

Schoolchildren, medical students and healthcare professionals from across Hampshire will be able to witness a virtual autopsy at Southampton General Hospital during National Pathology Week (1 to 7 November).

The event, part of a series of educational sessions primarily for students aged 14 and over, will see leading consultant Dr Meg Ashton-Key and colleagues use marker pens to represent incisions on a volunteer “dead” body.

As well as demonstrations of genuine equipment, pathology department staff will use animal organs to show how examinations are performed and present photographs of diseased human organs during the autopsy.

Students will also be able to tour the laboratories, take in presentations from top clinicians and researchers and visit Winchester’s renowned science centre INTECH for a range of activities.

Consultant neuropathologist Professor James Nicoll will give an insight into Alzheimer’s disease, current research and possible future treatments during a lecture open to members of the public.

In addition, Dr Patrick Gallagher and Professor Gareth Thomas will hold informal evening talks at the South Western Arms in St Deny’s and the Bridge Patisserie in Winchester.

Pre-booked school parties will be able to take cheek swab tests, be quizzed on normal and abnormal organs and undergo a hand washing exercise at INTECH at the end of the week, with the general public invited in separately.

“Pathology is such a broad specialty involved in diagnosing, treating and preventing illness, but can often be misunderstood,” said Dr Ashton-Key.

“This week gives us a great opportunity to bring students, colleagues and members of the public together at different stages to find out more about what we do in an informative but enjoyable way.”

For more information on booking a place at the virtual autopsy, which will take place at Southampton General Hospital on Wednesday, 3 November between 1.30 and 3.30pm, please contact Sara Pender on 023 8079 4946 or via email at

For more information on all of the above events, visit (events – South East England).

Posted on Tuesday 26 October 2010