The Virtual Labs Project: Topics in Physiology

3 stars

Course: Anatomy
Ownership: Stanford University
Cost: Free

This free resource serves as excellent supplemental study material for students. The content is comprehensive and well organized, and includes useful interactive diagrams and quizzes at the end of each topic. This resource does not replace any portion of an anatomy lecture. The site runs very slow, and may require a high bandwidth connection.


This website, created by Stanford University, features an interactive visual and simulation-based teaching approach. Each topic provides detailed diagrams, allowing the student to highlight and click for more information. The content is comprehensive and at a medical student level. Though it is well organized and easy to navigate, the site is very slow. Some of the more detailed pictures require a longer loading time.

Topics include Cardiovascular, Cranial Nerves, Gastrointestinal, Medical/Pharmacy, Neuro, Renal, Respiratory, Visual System, and Anatomy. Under the Anatomy topic it has sections on Anatomical Terms, Skeletal Anatomy (skeleton, pelvic girdle, femur, tibia, fibula, knee joint, scapula, humerus, radius and ulna), and Muscle Anatomy (anterior thigh, posterior thigh, anterior calf, posterior calf, chest, back, anterior arm, and posterior arm).

This resource also provides detailed quizzes that could be very helpful for students to test their knowledge and prepare for exams.


This resource would enhance the students understanding of physiologic principles at the level of detail required of a medical student. It does not replace the need for lecture on these topics.


The site has a Google Speed score of 98/100, however this score is deceiving, and the site requires a very high bandwidth connection. Adobe Shockwave Player is required to run the entire site, so although the website is extremely fast as a whole, the Shockwave program runs rather slow. Adobe Shockwave is a free player, but requires downloading.

The system requirements for Adobe Shockwave Player are:

For Windows: Intel Pentium IV 600MHz or higher, Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 3 or later, Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or later, Microsoft Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or later, or Microsoft Windows 8. Browser versions are Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or later, or Mozilla Firefox.

For Mac: Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 with Intel processors, and Safari Browser.

Once the Shockwave Player is running, the site recommends using IE in order to optimally view the videos. The best viewing resolution is 800x600.