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USM KUBANG KERIAN, KELANTAN, 29 September 2023 – SPICES, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)'s Medical Science Interactive Gallery, is one of the most ambitious and largest ArtScience projects in Malaysia.

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Driven by doctors, designed by artists, SPICES was thoughtfully curated and developed at a cost of RM2.4 million to house over 200 human specimens that will be used as teaching and learning aids for medical students as well as students in other related fields.

Situated at the USM’s School of Medical Sciences (PPSP), Health Campus here, SPICES was officially launched recently by the USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed.

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In his address at the launching ceremony, Abdul Rahman said, the interactive gallery, being the first of its kind in Malaysia that fuses the ideas of science and art, is equipped with three-dimensional (3D), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) teaching and learning methods.

“Aside from that, it is also equipped with QR code scanners for visitors to access displays, interactive panels, audio systems, VR and AR as well as 3D-mapping of human organs, of which all these will surely provide an immersive and out of this world experience to the users.”

Elaborating on the real human specimens on display, he said, “natural organs and specimens were taken through the process of tissue biopsy or by taking patients’ tissues from body parts, then preserved and exhibited, including cancer cells and tumours.”

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"These organs and specimens were taken from patients who received treatment at the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) Kubang Kerian, since it began operating for almost 40 years in 1984," said Abdul Rahman.

He added, “SPICES is expected to serve as an interesting teaching and learning space that has become iconic for PPSP, and it offers a difference not only to USM but also to other medical science study centres in Malaysia."

“The gallery is not restricted to USM's medical degree programme students only, but is also a suitable teaching and learning space for the Master's degree students at the USM Health Campus, as well as the public, to attract them to have a deeper interest in science and health, especially medicine.

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“SPICES was developed based on the original idea to establish a pathology museum, besides it being proof of USM's commitment to innovation and excellence in education and research,” said Abdul Rahman, beaming with pride.

He further explained, "it is indeed a very important achievement for the university – the convergence of technology, medical knowledge and the art of learning – and it symbolizes USM's commitment in providing a more creative and dynamic learning experience for students.”

“Last but not least, I wish to thank the collaborative efforts of the team of designers, led by the former Director of USM Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Gallery (MGTF), Associate Professor Dr. Hasnul Jamal Saidon and the team from PPSP headed by Professor Emerita Dr. Nor Hayati Othman and Associate Professor Dr. Sharifah Emilia Tuan Sharif,” said Abdul Rahman. 

The name 'SPICES' was coined from PPSP's philosophy which included: S (Student-centred) P (Problem-based), I (Integrated), C (Community-based), E (Electives) and S (Systematic and Spiral). SPICES also stands for 'SPAce for interaCtivE medical studies'.

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The inauguration ceremony was also attended by the USM Health Campus Director, Professor Dr. Shaharum Shamsuddin; PPSP Dean, Professor Dr. Abdul Razak Sulaiman; Hospital USM Director, Dato’ Professor Dr. Nik Hisamuddin Nik Ab Rahman; INFORMM Director, Associate Professor Dr. Aziah Ismail; Deputy Deans; Deputy Directors of Hospital USM; and Chairperson of the SPICES Inauguration Ceremony Organising Committee, Associate Professor Dr. Sharifah Emilia Tuan Sharif.

Text: Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Abdul Hasib Abdul Rahman 

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