Surgical Skills Lab - Neurosurgery ResidencyThe Skull Base & Spine Dissection Simulation Center is located in the Thurston-Bowles building across from the main hospital. The facility supports over 1,000 hours of educational activities each year including several inter-professional continuing medical education events like the 360º Advanced Operative Techniques in Skull Base Surgery course with UNC Otolaryngology.

Neurosurgery Skills Curriculum

The weekly Neurosurgery Skills Curriculum was updated in 2017. The curriculum includes intensive 3D and hands-on anatomy experiences coupled with cadaveric dissections and surgical simulation to improve their technical skills.

With the reserved and protected weekly time, all UNC neurosurgical faculty dedicate time to mentoring residents through detailed dissections and surgical approaches.  Post Graduate Year (PGY) specific objectives are set and tracked to meet the level specific needs of individual residents.

Skills Lab Leadership

The Skills Lab is directed by Dr. Carolyn Quinsey and managed by Mr. Matthew Pillsbury.

Dr. Quinsey in the Skills Lab
Drs. Barnett and Quinsey in the Skills Lab

Dr. Carolyn Quinsey is a board-eligible pediatric and adult neurosurgeon and assistant program director with a strong passion for medical education.  As a previous UNC neurosurgery residency graduate she has first-hand knowledge of what laboratory or simulated learning experiences are valuable to our residents.

Miracles in Sight Surgical Skills Laboratory

The Miracles in Sight Surgical Skills Laboratory brings together the Departments of Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology.

The lab is a 3,800 square foot facility with sixteen surgical skills stations and an additional three spine specific stations. The stations are fully integrated with a high definition camera and sound system.

There is an array of specialty-specific equipment available to further enhance the learner experience including a Mimic Technologies Robotic Surgery Simulator (dV Trainer). The Mimic has over 40 exercises of various skill level objectives and is customizable for each user and/or specialty. In addition to using the robotic simulator in future surgeries, the Mimic continues to be beneficial for simulation training.

The lab was initially funded in 2013 when the Department of Otolaryngology and School of Medicine received a one million dollar gift from the North Carolina Eye Bank to create a surgical skills lab.


For more information, please contact the simulation lab manager, Matt Pillsbury: matthew_pillsbury@med.unc.edu or (919) 843-6417.