Staff Collaborate Conference Room

Teresa Patitucci, PhD

Teresa Patitucci, PhD

Teresa Patitucci, PhD

Assistant Professor

Locations

  • Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy

Contact Information

Education

BS, Major: Biomedical Sciences; Minors: Chemistry, Fine Art, St. Norbert College, 2008
PhD, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, & Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2016
Anatomy Teaching Certificate: American Association of Anatomists, 2017, Anatomy Training Program

Biography

I teach Human Anatomy and Neuroscience to learners across multiple disciplines including pharmacy, graduate, and medical students. I strive to cultivate an innate interest in the subject matter in each of my students. I use alternative teaching tools such as drawing and plastination to engage students with the anatomical sciences.

Plastination is a preservation technique used to infuse polymers or plastics into body parts, converting them into hardened, odorless specimens that do not decay. This technique was pioneered by Gunther von Hagens and made world-famous through the traveling “Body Worlds” exhibit. I began a plastination lab on the MCW-Milwaukee campus in 2018-19 for the long-term retention of anatomical specimens to use as educational tools in MCW courses and community education across the state.

I conduct educational research with the goal of optimizing the learning experience for students. A primary focus of my research is to develop emotional intelligence, teamwork skills, and well-being strategies during the first semester of medical school by having students reflect on experiences with teammates and human body donors in their Clinical Human Anatomy course. Other research includes analyzing efficacy of in-class teaching methods such as blended learning and assessment methods such as digital lab practicals.

Learn more about Dr. Patitucci in the MCW Magazine article "From Grad Students to Faculty Members" (PDF)

Research Interests

I have had the opportunity to teach multiple groups of students including college undergraduates, pharmacy students, graduate students, and medical students across a range of subjects including human anatomy, regenerative medicine, and neuroscience. I believe the role of an educator is to prepare students for their life rather than just for one class. As a result, I strive to design learning sessions to be relevant to what the learners will need after they move on, whether that be into clinical medicine, research, or some other focus. People learn the best when they are actively engaged with the material and have a genuine interest in learning about the subject. Therefore, I try to cultivate an innate interest in each of my students. I use alternative teaching tools such as drawing and plastination to engage students with anatomy.

Drawing or making other visual diagrams can be a fun way to summarize complex material while showing relationships between topics. I utilize drawing to make educational resources, learning activities during active learning sessions, and as a tool to summarize material in review sessions. Drawing a diagram can help a student summarize vast amounts of detail into a simple schematic in a relatively short time.

Additionally, I plastinate human organs to use as educational resources for MCW courses as well as for community outreach projects. Plastination is a preservation technique used to infuse polymers or plastics into body parts, converting them into hardened, odorless specimens that do not decay. This technique was pioneered by Gunther von Hagens and made world-famous through the traveling “Body Worlds” exhibit. Specimens are fixed with formalin, then fatty tissue and water are replaced with acetone. The acetone is subsequently replaced with a plastic or polymer under vacuum conditions. Finally, the polymer is cured with light or gas to harden the specimen.

Publications

Teresa Patitucci, PhD

You’ve heard of body art? Teresa is using bodies AND art to teach anatomy.