MAFAC Announces New Collaboration With Dr. Von Hagens’ Plastination Laboratory

The Gubener Plastinate Company near Berlin, Germany, which was founded by legendary Dr. Gunther von Hagens, is considered the world leader in the art/science of plastination. The plastinarium has accepted to work with MAFAC on the production of a series of sheet plastination slices which will be invaluable for the ongoing research done by MAFAC.

Sheet plastination will be invaluable for the research done by the MAFAC research team as it provides additional evidence to support the cadaver dissection findings. The advantage of sheet plastination is that it can study much larger areas than conventional histology, while preserving and demonstrating the connective tissue and colour which is not the case in conventional CT or MRI.

Invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977, plastination is a technique that allows body parts or even slices of body parts to be preserved forever. It involves five steps: fixation, dehydration, defatting, forced impregnation in a vacuum, and hardening. After fixation, the tissues can be dissected (to perform whole-body or body part plastination) or sectioned into slices (to perform sheet plastination). Water and lipid tissues are eventually replaced by curable polymers, which include silicone, epoxy, and polyester-copolymer.

In 2006, Dr. von Hagens established the Gubener Plastinate GmbH, a plastination laboratory in Guben, approximately 2 hours from Berlin, Germany. It is considered the world’s leading plastination research, development, and preparation facility. This Company is managed by his son Rurik von Hagens. In the laboratory, the plastination process and the anatomical directorate is under the lead of Dr. Vladimir Chereminskiy, the right hand of Dr. von Hagens, who has continued to advance the techniques of plastination.1

MAFAC’s ongoing research has seen some setbacks in the past year due to government restrictions for COVID-19. One of the problems that this has created was that the different labs in Australia were not able to perform the required sheet plastination studies. Faced with this holdup, we contacted the Gubener Plastinate Laboratory hoping that they would be able to help us obtain high-quality sheet plastination.

The Gubener Plastinate Company accepted our request, and a collaboration with MAFAC was started. What is even more exciting is that we will be amongst the first researchers to benefit from the vastly improved new technique of plastination, which demonstrates the connective tissue within the different layers much better than the sheet plastination currently available in the literature. Finally, the physical plastination slices are estimated to be delivered to Melbourne by the beginning of October, just in time for the next MAFAC course.

Stay tuned for more information to follow soon! Please visit the Gubener Plastinate GmbH website for more information:

  1. Iliff S, Concha I, Chereminskiy V, Henry RW. Coloring plastinated specimens. Anatomia Histologia Embryologia. 2019;48(6):552-556. doi:10.1111/ahe.12506


Image Credit -Gunther von Hagens and his wife, Angelina Whalley, in Berlin this year at the opening of the first Bodyworlds museum (Getty Images)