Dissection with a twist of royalty


Most students have no idea that it even exists, but they walk by it on a daily basis. The anatomy lab, located on the first floor of the health building, holds inside it something that may disturb some and interest others.“We have five bodies just chilling in there right now,” said Andy Royalty, a first-year UNF graduate student for physical therapy.

The bodies he’s referring to have been donated to science and are used in his Gross Anatomy class, where he and his fellow classmates dissect them.

“It is called gross, not because it’s necessarily gross, but because we go into a lot of detail when dissecting and marking the bodies,” Royalty said.

Royalty spends four hours a day, three days a week, cutting open and learning about the human anatomy.

“At first, a lot of people think it’s weird,” he said. “The first day, I’m like, ‘I’m actually going to cut these people open?’ But I love it; it’s one of my favorite classes.”

The bodies are shipped to UNF from Gainesville, where they collect bodies that have been donated and ship them out to several schools in the area for students practice on.

“The people we see are usually older, in their 80s and 90s, that have died from cancer, natural causes or other reasons,” Royalty said.

Cutting open these human bodies is not taken lightly by the students or teachers. The class’ curriculum required each enrolled student to watch videos and to do a great deal of preparation before the first day of class.

“We all come prepared. That’s grad school. You have to be familiar with it, but it’s not a big deal if you mess up. No one is perfect,” Royalty said.

Despite preparations, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, especially when dealing with the intracacies of the human body.

“You have people accidentally cutting nerves and arteries and stuff,” Royalty said. “We have lab practicals where we get tested on what we have cut and marked, so you want to make sure you cut everything right.”

The anatomy class works on five bodies throughout the fall semester, but the bodies remain in the lab. The students carefully place them in freezers until the spring when the athletic training program goes in and studies the dissected bodies.

Although Royalty spends much of his time in the lab or working on other aspects needed to reach his degree in physical therapy, he keeps just as busy outside of class.

Not only does he lead a men’s Bible study on Monday nights, play in a softball league on Tuesday nights and lead campus ministry Converge on Wednesday nights, he also goes to Worship night at UNF on Thursday nights. He spends his precious free time catching up on homework over the weekend.

“It’s ridiculous, my schedule is so crazy. I have no life.”