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Research Facilities: Anatomical Sciences

The Department of Anatomical Sciences has a variety of research facilities based within faculty laboratories and in special laboratories. The facilities cover preparation and molding/casting of fossil material, analysis of comparative anatomy and functional morphology, and microscopic analysis of tissue samples.

The Vertebrate Fossil Preparation Laboratory, built in 2002, is state-of-the-art and contains, among other equipment, an industrial air compressor and dust collector (both in a s pecially designed soundproof room), Nikon stereomicroscopes, two fume hoods, three work stations, custom-built workboxes, rock saws, hydraulic lift, a broad range of pneumatic, airbrasive, and manual tools, and a vacuum system for molding and casting specimens. Equipment and space are also available for the chemical preparation of fossils. Facilities for the storage of Cretaceous vertebrate fossil collections from Madagascar, Mali, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and China, as well as specimens from the Paleocene of the western U.S. are located in the laboratories of various researchers.

Morphometric data capture is possible in three or two dimensions via a portable Microscribe 3-DX digitizer and an Altek Datalab backlit X-ray digitizer, respectively. Mainframe computing (e.g., IBM-VM) is possible via an Ethernet connection. Commercial and customized software packages for statistical analysis and for phylogenetic reconstruction are available. Development of the new online collaborative workspace for morphological phylogenetics,, is based at Stony Brook.

The department has a dedicated workstation for volumetric digital data processing. The workstation is equipped to handle large datasets generated from CT, micro-CT, or laser scans, with a number of visualization and quantification software including Avizo, Meshlab, and Landmark. CT and MicroCT scanning facilities are available on campus, in the hospital and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

A Zeiss stereo zoom (Discovery.V12) and an upright compound (Axioskop 2 Plus) microscope, an American Optical rotary and a sliding microtome, and other histological equipment for the microscopic study of tissue samples are available in an individual faculty laboratory.

The Functional Morphology and Primate Locomotion Laboratory contains the equipment necessary to conduct EMG, kinematic, kinetic, and cost-of-locomotion studies. The equipment for EMG recording is composed of two four-channel electromyographic telemetry systems (Bio-Sentry Telemetry, Inc., Torrance, CA) and a digital high-speed video camera. EMG signals are digitally converted, are synchronized with the video images, and streamed onto hard drive using the Xcitex ProCapture software. Equipment for kinetic studies includes four AMTI BP400600 force platforms. Kinematic data are captured with a four high-speed camera system that streams images directly onto hard drives where they are synchronized with the force data using ProCapture software. The ProAnalyst software package (Xcitex) is installed on 3 work stations for data analysis. A Vishay Measurements Group multi-channel amplifier set for measurement of strain is available for recording signals from custom-built force transducers as well as from strain gages implanted on bones. A VO2 analyzer in conjunction with a treadmill allows determining the energetic costs of locomotion. The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources provides facilities for housing and maintenance of experimental animals. It provides equipment for administration of anesthesia and renders excellent veterinary care. Surgical suites and radiographic equipment are available in the facilities.

In addition to the research facilities listed above, the Department of Anatomical Sciences houses an anatomical museum containing an assortment of comparative osteological material and an extensive collection of fossil casts documenting primate and human evolutionary history.