Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Anatomy in 3D
The HWS Update
Ryan James Lab-00136

Anatomy in 3D

ryan3A new manual co-authored by Professor of Biology James Ryan guides users through a groundbreaking open source software program that enables medical professionals and students alike to see anatomy in three dimensions.

Horus Project software, which is used by more than 150,000 medical professionals in more than 170 countries, allows users to view MRI, CT and PET scans and utilize those 3D images in medical diagnostics. The Horos User Guide, the first published for the software, includes nearly 300 pages of instructions and screen diagrams and provides detailed instructions for each of the Horos commands, pull down menus and functions.

Although primarily intended for medical staff, Horos has been a valuable resource in Ryan’s courses at HWS.

Ryan, who co-authored the user guide with Dr. Naomi Booth and Les Trachtman, says, “It’s exciting for the pre-meds to be using the same software that hospitals use to image patients…[Horos] helps students see anatomy in 3D in actual patients. They can digitally dissect the patient and look at the anatomy from many different angles. A textbook can’t do that.”

Screen Shot 2019-01-25 at 10.31.43 AM copyIn Ryan’s neurobiology course, he is able to “show students how to study neuroanatomy of the brain using 3D MRI and CT scans. I then show them a patient with a large brain tumor (glioblastoma) and ask them to use Horos to determine the volume of the tumor and brain regions compromised by the tumor and to plan a surgical approach to removing the tumor.”

Horos has also proven useful to Ryan in his own research on bat development.

“I’ve used Cornell University’s microCT facility to create 3D scans of bat embryos in an effort to study cochlear and wing development,” he says.

Published by Purview, a healthcare technology firm in Annapolis, Md., and chief sponsor of Horos, the Horos User Guide is available as a PDF download for $49 from the project’s website. The Horos software itself is available from the website at no cost.

Ryan, a member of the HWS faculty since 1987, earned a B.A. at SUNY Oswego, his M.S. at Michigan and his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research focuses on mammalian biodiversity and conservation of African small mammals.

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