Lab Manager, Gross Anatomy Lab
February 2023 BIOCAPS Spotlight goes to … Matthew Tinney, the Gross Anatomy Lab Manager!
Matt was born in Burns Lake, BC, and his family moved to the Lower Mainland in 1991. He comes from a big family (4 siblings), and the family always looked forward to camping trips each summer. Growing up, his main interests were science, music, and outdoor recreation. After high school, Matt studied cell and molecular biology at SFU and worked in various labs in Montreal, Germany, and Vancouver. He joined the UBC Body Donation/Gross Anatomy team in 2014. Music continues to be a big part of his life as he plays multiple instruments in professional bands.
1. Tell us about the Gross Anatomy Lab and your role.
The Gross Anatomy lab is where students of medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy, and many other allied disciplines learn human anatomy. The Body Donation Program is the engine that keeps it all running. I’ve been Manager of the Body Program and the Gross Lab since 2017, a role I feel very privileged to have. I get to interact with bright young students, world-class teaching faculty, and leaders in surgical training, and no two days are the same.
2. What is the best part of your job?
Every year we hold a memorial event for the family and friends of our body donors to honour their loved ones. Medical students express their gratitude, family members share their stories, and it’s such a powerful demonstration of the deep and far-reaching impact the Body Program and the Gross Anatomy Lab has on our communities. Like many jobs, this one can sometimes feel thankless and out-of-sight, and of course the sensitive nature of my work requires much discretion. However, I get this very moving annual reminder that I’m part of something incredible, and that’s something I think others might envy.
3. What were the highlights of 2022?
A highlight of 2022 for me was definitely traveling to Ireland with my wife and two daughters. We visited the town where we got married 6 years ago and just had an amazing time driving through the country, walking the streets, taking in the scenery, playing on beaches, and watching dolphins. Plenty of Guinness and whiskey were also responsibly consumed.
4. Who inspires you and why?
I often find myself most inspired by children, and not just my own! Their feelings, their curiosity, and their love is so completely honest, and their perspectives can really make you challenge your own assumptions and beliefs, which I think is a very good thing. My kids inspire me to be better every day.
5. What is your best vacation ever?
When my wife and I were dating we visited Southeast Asia. In 2 short weeks we traveled through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, by means of plane, train, bus, foot, taxi, ferry boat, longtail boat, river cruise, tuk tuk, even elephant. Our trip also included layovers in Singapore and Seoul which gave us a few hours to see some sights there. There were so many unique and exotic experiences packed into that time, which is why we will always remember that vacation as one of our favourites.