Alan J. Detton, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at CUMC


Alan J. Detton Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Columbia University Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.  He received his Doctorate and Master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in anatomical education.  Before his appointment at Columbia, he has held teaching positions at Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, and University of the University of California San Diego.  He has also been a Visiting Professor and lab instructor t Albert Einstein College of Medicine, St. Georges University St. George’s University in St. George Grenada, and at the American University of the Caribbean in Cupecoy St. Martin.

In addition to his academic appointments, he was the Vice President of Anatomical Education with 3D4Medical, and has consulted with Anatomage and BioDigital, leaders in digital anatomical education resources and platforms.  Dr. Detton has also served on advisory boards with Elsevier and 3D4Medical, and currently acts as Senior Advisor to Wolters Kluwer publishing house.  Due to his educational experience, content building, and industry relationship he has been an invited speaker at National and International conferences on the use of technology and educational resources for anatomical education.

Dr. Detton is the current author of Grant’s Dissector as well as the award-winning companion series of Grant’s Dissection Videos.  He has authored numerous digital resources including courses and materials within the Apple Design Award winning platform Complete Anatomy, as well as the recently published educational tours powered by BioDigital aligned with Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy 9e Online Tours (2022), available through Wolters Kluwer’s Lippencott Connect product.


Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Associate Director, CUIMC/NYP Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2006 Exercise Science, College of Health and Human Performance, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • MS, 2010 Biomedical Informatics, The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Columbus, OH
  • PhD, 2012 Biomedical Informatics, The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Columbus, OH

Honors & Awards

  • P&S Class of 2024 Fundamentals Outstanding Teacher Award, Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
  • Digital and Online Resources First Prize for Grant's Dissection Videos, Digital BMA Medical Book Awards 2018, London UK.
  • Certificate of Appreciation, The American Association of Clinical Anatomists
  • The Margaret H. Hines and Richard J. Hines Memorial Scholarship Fund in Anatomy, The College of Medicine Scholarship Committee
  • Sandy C. Marks Jr. Poster Presentation Award, Educational Research, Association of Clinical Anatomists
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Anatomy 200; The Ohio State University


My current research efforts relate to the identification of essential anatomical terms as related to clinical fields of practice.  Through a multi-institutional research endeavor a dynamic survey tool has been developed to ask residents, fellows, and attending physicians which anatomical structures are deemed essential from a condensed list of over 2,300 anatomical terms derived from a list of bold terms in Grant’s Dissector 17e.  It is the intention to utilize the results of the survey to develop data driven review materials and courses appropriate per specialty in an expanded new curriculum.

In addition to creating an expanded library of educational videos, I am also implementing techniques for 3D model creation from cadaveric dissection for use is clinical and surgical simulation and education.  I have a strong interest to develop augmented reality resources for anatomical education, particularly with VR and AR technologies.  Below are two examples of recent collaborations with students here at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

  1. Humanism in Anatomy Module
  2. CUIMC Foundations of Clinical Medicine
    Self-Directed Physical Exam Teaching Modules for Pre-Clerkship Students


  • Office of the Provost Innovation Course Design Grant. Proposal for a Novel Elective Bridging 3D Printing and Medical Educator Skill Development. Detton, A., Bates T.
  • Stanford Media X grant, publish on demand
  • Mercy College, Advancing Curricular Change to Enhance Student Success (ACCESS) grant award from the U.S. Department of Education under the Title V Developing Hispanics Serving Institutions program, Ferdinand A. Esser, D.C., Assistant Professor, Health Sciences Program Director, Project Consultant and Advisor

Selected Publications

Books/Textbooks for Medical or Scientific Community:

Peer-Reviewed Research Publications:

  • *Detton, A. (2012) The Creation of a 3D Interactive Neural Development Resource and Its Evaluation Through a Video Analytic Usability Study.  PhD Dissertation The Ohio State University.

Other Peer Reviewed Publications in Print or other Media:

  • *Detton, A., Kenz, E., Lee, L. (2012) Regional Dissection of the Human Female Pelvis. MedEdPORTAL.
  • *Sachire, J., Detton, A., Gould, D.J. (2011) Human Breast Anatomy, A Gross Perspective. MedEdPORTAL.
  • *Detton, A., Lee, L. (2011) Regional Dissection of the Human Brain. MedEdPORTAL.

Instructional/ Educational Materials used in Print or Other Media: