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The following project contains graphic imagery, consisting of photos of the deceased who have donated their bodies to science. 

The intention for this project is to shed light on a neglected facet of human existence: interacting with the dead. This topic is explored through the eyes of first year medical students at the University of Southern California, who are required to take a gross anatomy course that involves dissecting human cadavers.  


Mikel Snow - Professor of Anatomy, Chairman of the Dept. of Cell and Nuerobiology, University of Southern California

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White buckets are used to collect tissue scraps used on the donors, which are cremated along with their bodies in at the Donor Appreciation Ceremony at the end of the year..  

Students share:

Doing the dissection helps you understand why things in our body go wrong and how things work the way they do. This has definitely given me a greater appreciation for life and the fact that I am healthy.
— Sana Amed
When I was talking to friends from home...it blew their minds that we were actually cutting open dead bodies. That made me realize what we’re doing is kind of insane.
— Mark Portman
I think the biggest ‘Oh wow’ moment for me was holding a heart. You definitely reflect on it, and you think ‘I had my hand inside a donor’s body’.
— Omeed Alipour