Here is our doggo, Abby. She’s a half Border Collie, half Red Australian Heeler. She’s really smart and knows lots of tricks! And is my ever faithful helper when I do public outreach about the importance of biomedical research to children. I absolutely adore doing public outreach, especially to children from the ages of 10-12.  This is one of “her” classes! We go to schools, take part in the Expanding Your Horizons conference each year, also doing the STEM program, and quarterly go to Houston’s Public Health Museum where children get to choose a profession for a day: Biomedical Research Veterinarian! We cover a large variety of topics from:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Finding and calculating their own heart rates
  • Have students listen to lungs / breath
  • Have students come to view a wide variety of skulls and discuss teeth types, etc.
  • Comparative anatomy and physiology and how this plays a large part in what researchers do when looking at cures for diseases; and, how those cure are not only helping people but other animals too! They get to briefly see the invisible mouse brain video.
  • Recognizing signs of disease
  • Have them calculate CRT
  • Explain the “paws down” (normal) verse dragging / “paws-up” (problem).
  • Have the students do an examination on Abby
  • Learn how to calculate drug dosages using empty injection boxes and excerpts from the Plumb book
  • The students get to perform a mock surgery, learning about some basic common surgical instruments
  • The students get to learn about injection techniques, covering needle construction, gauges, lengths; as well as covering syringe sizes and appropriate pairing with needle size / patient. They even get to see various types of catheters used with animals.
  • I have an old Koken rat that I use to show various drips rates, how to calculate the rate and why it's important, and using colored water show drug delivery through the IV line. Give each student is then given a 10cc syringe and have them deliver an amount of fluid to Koken rat.
  • There is a suture lab, where some of the simpler patterns are shown and explain why the various patterns are used. They then must use forceps, scissors, and hemostats to make 10 perfect continuous throws.
  • Of course, Abby is “helping” throughout all of this. She especially likes to try and steal the femur bones.  But her true time to shine is through a Clicker Training exercise. Each child is given a clicker and allowed to go nuts for a bit. We then play the Clicker game all while I am explaining its importance in biomedical research for cooperation, choice over their environment, and examples of positive affiliation. Abby then demonstrates all her tricks that the kids just love!
  • We end the day with dressing up like lab animal personal and look at a wide variety of “weird” X-rays I’ve collected over the years.


Additional Information



  1. Diane McClure

    I love this pic. All about the PPE right now!

    • Jamieson Greaver

      That was an event last year: and- WOW!- who knew!

      • Charles Thomppson


        • Jamieson Greaver

          THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH, Mr. Thompson! WOW! I am touched!


Leave a Reply