Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Olson, Daniel R.

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences


The pancreas is an organ responsible for producing hormones that regulate blood sugar levels as well as producing enzymes that assist in the digestive process. Despite these important roles in sustaining life, the pancreas is not covered in much detail in undergraduate-level gross anatomy courses. To develop a better understanding of the structure of the pancreas, two pancreata, one with pancreatic cancer and one without, were obtained through dissection of cadavers donated to the NIU Anatomy program. These pancreata were then serially sectioned by hand and scanned in a flatbed scanner to produce a series of images of their internal structures. Several open-source image visualization programs, including ImageJ and 3D Slicer, were used to produce 3D volume renderings of the pancreata. These renderings were then compared to those produced from CT scans of the pancreata taken prior to sectioning. While multi-detector CT scanning is by far superior to scanning sections by hand, it is an impractical approach to anatomical study at the undergraduate level. Flatbed scanning can produce sequential images and even 3D models of the interior structures of organs, helping to enhance anatomical education.


9 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

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