Caroline Erolin (Needham)

Erolin (Needham)

Lecturer, MSc Forensic & Medical AArt/Part-Time PhD Student
Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, Dundee

Digital Anatomy models, Medical Art teacher and practitioner

Three dimensional digital models of human anatomy are increasingly being used in medical and anatomical education.  More recently, the development of Haptic feedback (the sense of touch) has been integrated into surgical simulators, allowing for a much greater sense of realism.  This research aims to study the potential benefits of integrating new technologies with existing methods of teaching.  It aims to create a three-dimensional digital model of a localised region of human anatomy (the hand and wrist) which can be virtually ‘dissected’ through a haptic interface.  Tissue properties will be added to the various anatomical structures to replicate a realistic look and feel.  The project will explore the role of the medical artist, and investigate cross-discipline collaborations in the field of virtual anatomy.  The software will be used to train anatomy students in dissection skills, before experience on a real cadaver.  A haptically enabled version of the model, allowing for real-time cutting will be compared with a non-haptic version, using instead a mouse and keyboard ‘point and click’ style interface.  Both versions will be tested on gross anatomy students in relation to test results and student experience. 

Caroline runs a number of modules on the MSc’s in Medical and Forensic Art including Medical Art 1 & 2 and Life Art.  Having been involved with the courses since their inception in 2007 she has helped develop and refine them over this time.  Caroline has supervised a number of Masters research projects on topics including; developing a patient communication iPad application, Medical Illiteracy and the development of e-learning tutorials for medical and anatomy students.  

At the end of each academic year Caroline helps the students put on a exhibition of their artwork as part of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art ‘Masters Show’:

  • Virtual Reality Haptic Dissection.  Needham, C., Soames, R., Wilkinson, C.  Poster Presentation at Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 18, Newport Beach, California. February 2011. 
  • Reconstructing Visual Manifestations of Disease from Archaeological Human Remains. Needham, C. Journal of Audiovisual Media in Medicine, 26(3), 2003, pp. 103 -107.


Caroline is actively involved in many community and educational outreach projects and was a member of the forensic anthology research group who were awarded the Brian Cox award for public engagement in 2010. 

Selected exhibits