3D printing models advance teaching and testing initiatives for USDA and CWD

March 3, 2023

bovine head

Recognition of a great idea

A newly developed 3D-printed model of a bovine head attracted the attention of top personnel from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) earlier this year. Mr. Paul Kiecker, USDA FSIS Administrator, requested a meeting to examine the model bovine head. In late January, VBS Associate Professor Roxanne Larsen, and Dr. Shana Tanenbaum hosted Mr. Kiecker and others from the Washington, DC FSIS offices. The model was developed by Roxanne Larsen, Marc Schwabenlander, and Shana Tanenbaum.

For the USDA, the bovine head model would assist in training meat inspection personnel about lymph tissues and specified risk materials that need to be identified and assessed during the processing and inspection of carcasses. The 3-piece model has transparent skin and colored lymph and glandular tissue to help visualize the location of these difficult to find structures. Already, the model has many purposes, including assisting our own veterinary students in learning the anatomy of the bovine head, describing food safety processes to the public, and training veterinarians or others that work with meat inspection personnel to improve food safety.

The 3D reconstructions of the head can be used as a stepping stone to creating additional educational tools, including virtual and digital videos of the bovine head, as well as augmented reality interfaces that can be used in simulations. All of which bring our educational tools into the 21st century by harnessing the next generation of educational technology. (Photo credit - Tonya Seiler, MNPRO)

3d deer head

MNPRO Team creates 3D printed deer head prototype

VBS Associate Professor Roxanne Larsen, VBS Assistant Professor Peter Larsen, and Marc Schwabenlander, along with members of the Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach (MNPRO) team, have created prototype 3D printed anatomical models of a deer head. These novel tools can be utilized to demonstrate the removal of lymph node and brainstem samples for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing. The models are also highly useful in educating hunters, cervid farmers, students, and professionals who may need to sample target tissues for CWD testing.

There are currently two versions of the 3D printed deer head model. The first version is a single piece 3D model with accessible and removable medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The second is a two piece 3D model with accessible and removable medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes and brainstem. For more information please visit the MNPRO website.