Welcome to Digitised Diseases
This project, supported by Jisc, will use 3D laser scanning, CT scans and high resolution photography together with new clinical descriptions and historical illustrations to create a web-accessible archive of photo-realistic digital 3D models of pathological type-specimens. The skeleton collections used in the project will be from internationally renowned collections that have restricted access and are therefore usually only seen by students and researchers.
The project will create a unique educational tool that will appeal to various disciplines including clinicians, medical trainees, medical historians, archaeologists, osteologists and palaeopathologists, as well as enriching the public understanding of anatomy and medical science.
Project leader Dr Andrew Wilson, senior lecturer in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford, said: “The project will also play a crucial role in conserving a resource that is otherwise under threat from damage. Pathological specimens are often the most handled bones within skeletal collections and yet they are also the most fragile.
“Archaeological and historical skeletal collections are important because they offer the opportunity to observe pathologies in an era before effective therapy. The University of Bradford, Museum of London Archaeology and Royal College of Surgeons of England house internationally important skeletal collections and will each be providing pathological type-specimens for the project.”
Paola Marchionni, programme manager at Jisc, said: “Digitised Diseases builds on the pilot project From Cemetery to Clinic, where the University of Bradford experimented with 3D digitisation of bones affected by leprosy. The team has now taken this approach further by setting up new partnerships, broadening the scope of the collections to include other chronic diseases and experimenting with innovative ways of delivering the models online.
“This project promises to have a wide-ranging impact by opening up access to material that has been so far the preserve of bona fide researchers. The opportunity for pathologists to look back in time at archaeological remains in order to make assertions about future illness will, we hope, prove invaluable.”
The project is a collaboration between Archaeological Sciences and the Centre for Visual Computing at the University of Bradford and project partners Museum of London Archaeology and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Scanning took place between November 2011 and July 2013. The web site will launch in the evening of 9th December 2013, at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.