Pathology Museum Opens on Brunswick Campus

Area physicians now have a resource for borrowing pathology samples, while area science teachers and their students have somewhere to view and study professionally displayed pathology specimens now that Southeast Georgia Health System has opened a pathology museum on its Brunswick Campus.

Mark Hanly, MD, a pathologist with Southeastern Pathology Associates, says the museum is a first in the area. “This is a real gem for our area and a tremendous resource for students and physicians,” says Hanly, who says the museum is open by appointment only. “If a physician is doing a presentation on, for example, the dangers of smoking, drinking too much, or abusing drugs, he or she could borrow specimens to show exactly what these things do to the body. We can also bring in students to view the specimens in a properly regulated, safe environment.”

Hanly says the establishment of the museum was made possible by the hard work of two local students—Wells Ellenberg, a senior this fall at Frederica Academy, and Bridget Staab, a Brunswick High School graduate now starting her junior year as a pre-med major at the University of Georgia. “We have collected specimens from autopsies for the past 10 years,” Hanly says. “Wells and Bridget painstakingly went through hundreds and hundreds of specimens. Once they had gone through everything and we selected the ones we should keep, they mounted them and did a truly professional job, making sure the specimens are mounted correctly so the pathology can be observed."

Ellenberg, who has worked with Hanly on school science projects as far back as middle school, says he and Staab spent almost three months on the project and both thoroughly enjoyed the undertaking. “The work was very interesting and Bridget and I even got to sit in on several autopsies,” says Ellenberg, who wants to pursue a career either in law or in medicine as either a pathologist or neurosurgeon. “I wish I could continue working here.”

Staab agrees that their labors over the summer were well spent. “We got to see samples of conditions that students normally don’t get to see, such as a calcified heart valve—there are only one or two cases documented in the United States and we got to see one,” Staab says.

Now instead of the specimens being hidden away, they can be viewed in Plexiglas boxes with the specimens labeled with the organ’s name, the age and sex of the deceased patient, and the cause of death. “Of course, this will be an evolving project as we add more and new specimens, but this would not be possible without Wells and Bridget,” Hanley says. “They are both extremely intelligent and talented young people. I’ve been very proud to work with both of them.”