Caroline Erolin (Needham)

Erolin (Needham)

Lecturer, MSc Medical Art
Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, Dundee

Lecturer in Medical Art (Teaching and Scholarship). Programme Leader MSc Medical Art

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 holds a BA (Hons) in Art and Design, an MPhil in Medical Art and PGCert in Higher Education. She is professional member of numerous professional bodies including the Medical Artists Association, the Institute of Medical Illustrators, the British Association for Human Identification and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 
Caroline is course coordinator for the MSc in Medical Art and also runs a number of modules across both the MSc’s in Medical and Forensic Art & Facial Identification.  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 an exhibition of their artwork as part of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art ‘Masters Show’:
  • Validation of a computer modelled forensic facial reconstruction technique using CT data from live subjects: A pilot study.  Short, LJ, Khambay, B, Ayoub, A, Erolin, C, Rynn, C & Wilkinson, C. 2014. Forensic Science International.
  • What did Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 980-1037A.D.) look like?  Erolin, C., Shoja, M. M., Loukas, M., Shokouhi, G., Rashidi, M. R., Khalili, M., & Tubbs, R. S. 2013. International Journal of Cardiology, 167(5), 1660-1663doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.09.178
  • Preference for detail in medical illustrations amongst professionals and laypersons'.  Strong, J & Erolin, C. 2013. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, vol 36, no. 1-2, pp. 38-43.
  • Virtual reality haptic human dissection.  Needham C, Wilkinson C, et al. Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 18 – NextMed, 2011. James D. Westwood, Susan W. Westwood, Li Felländer-Tsaiet al, IOS Press. 163: 397- 399. (
  • Virtual reality haptic human dissection.  Erolin C, Wilkinson C, et al.  Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 34 (4), 2011, pp. 193-199.

Caroline is actively involved in many community and educational outreach projects and was a member of the human identification research group who were awarded the Stephan Fry Award for Public Engagement in 2012.

Selected exhibits