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Northumbria experts navigate the human body

Press release   •   May 19, 2014 00:00 BST

This weekend, Northumbria University anatomy expert, Stephen Boddy, will guide visitors through a world-famous exhibition that strips the human body bare.

From 17 May, Stephen, an Anatomy Demonstrator at Northumbria, will give presentations at Newcastle’s Life Science Centre as it hosts the world-famous Body Worlds Vital exhibition.

The show, visiting the UK for the first time, brings together a collection of real human bodies and organs, willed by donors and preserved through plastination – a ground-breaking specimen preservation process invented by scientist Dr Gunther von Hagens.

Vital tells the fascinating story of how best to fight life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart ailments, through healthy choices and lifestyle changes.

Throughout the course of the exhibition’s six-month stay in Newcastle, Northumbria academics will participate in the programme of events, debates and lectures that will be accompanying the exhibition. During the summer holiday period Dr Sian Lawson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching at Northumbria, and her colleagues will be at the Life Science Centre to demonstrate motion capture and balance tests used to assess the musculo-skeletal system.

As Anatomist in Residence, Stephen will take part in a panel debate on the ethical aspects of Body Worlds. Over My Dead Body – The Ethics of Displaying Corpses takes place on Wednesday 21 May at Life Science Centre, Newcastle, between 7pm to 8pm.

Stephen said: “Body Worlds Vital will be an eye opening and insightful exhibition enabling the general public to discover what lies beneath their skin. The specimens on show at the exhibition offer an honest demonstration of how lifestyle choices affect us all.

“I feel it is important to educate people about how their bodies work in order for them to be able to make informed decisions regarding their lifestyle. Also, whilst it is important to remember that a little of what one likes isn’t always a bad thing, it is equally important to appreciate that there are consequences to overindulgence.

“I am really excited about being involved and look forward to sharing my knowledge with an eclectic audience.”

The involvement of Northumbria colleauges in Body Worlds Vital is part of a wider partnership between the University and Centre for Life that aims to engage the public with the world of science.

Launched in March, the partnership sees the two institutions work together on public engagement events, research projects and the joint delivery of a new MSc Public Engagement with Science degree.

Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, added: “Northumbria University’s burgeoning partnership with Centre for Life is centred on our joint ambition to create initiatives that encourage people to think about science in a new light.

“Body Worlds Vital, which will no doubt have visitors travelling from across the UK, is the latest example and one that I’m delighted to say will see my colleague Stephen Boddy involved as ‘Anatomist-in-Residence’”.

Over 38 million people have experienced BODY WORLDS in over 90 cities worldwide including Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Highlights of the showcase include a relay runner posed mid-handover to display the muscular system and a gymnast posed mid-air in a spread-eagle jump.

Stephen Boddy will be Anatomist-in-Residence at Life Science Centre on Saturday 17 May, from 11am to 4pm, and at regular intervals throughout the course of the Body Worlds exhibition.

Over My Dead Body – The Ethics of Displaying Corpses takes place on Wednesday 21 May at Life Science Centre, Newcastle. Tickets to the debate includes time to explore Body Worlds Vital from 5pm. The panel debate begins at 7pm and includes anatomist Stephen Boddy (Northumbria University, Newcastle), artist Rachael Allen and writer Jane Wildgoose. The debate will be chaired by Simon Woods from Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre (PEALS) at Newcastle University.

To find out more information or book your ticket for the panel debate, visit

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