Bio class travels to UCSD to perform endoscopies on pigs

Pig stomachs shine a light on human stomach disorders

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Bio class travels to UCSD to perform endoscopies on pigs

Rose Lipner

Rose Lipner

Rose Lipner

Junior Yonah Feld and senior David Lorell look onward at a monitor as a scientist shows them what the inside of a pig’s stomach looks like.

By Mati Davis

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to look inside a pig’s stomach? On February 24, nine Shalhevet biology students joined students from YULA, B’nos Devorah and Yavneh at UC San Diego’s Imflammatory Bowel Disease Center. There, professional scientists led the students through the process of performing endoscopies on pig stomachs. (The stomachs had been removed from the animals in advance.)

An endoscopy is a procedure in which a tube with a camera (endoscope) is inserted into the esophagus, stomach and small intestine to look for signs of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other conditions. “At first it was a little startling, but it was just the stomach, so it didn’t look like a pig,” said junior Rose Lipner. “By the end of the endoscopies the pig stomach was sort of a separate entity, and didn’t really have any association with an animal.”

Students took turns maneuvering the machine’s camera, with the image displayed on a monitor above the table. Junior Daniella Banafshea especially enjoyed this part. “I was able to learn about the illness and how to do a endoscopy,” said Banafshea. “The most fascinating part was doing the endoscopy myself.”

University staff even let the students play a game, in which small objects were inserted into the stomach and removed with a special tool attached to the endoscope.

Before the endoscopy, the students attended a lecture on a the describe the effects of IBD. Later a professor from UCSD explained its causes. Junior Daniel Shoham said, “I originally thought we would just be learning how to perform an endoscopy, but I found it interesting to also learn more about IBD and Crohn’s disease.”

Biology teacher Dr. Melissa Noel said the trip helped helped fill the gap caused by Shalhevet’s building being under construction. “We haven’t had the opportunity to do any labs this year, so this was the students’ opportunity to do hands-on work.”