Mark J. Holterman, Medical

Examining the Virtual Human Embryo Project


Virtual Human Embryo Project pic
Virtual Human Embryo Project

As part of his work as a professor of surgery and pediatrics with the University of Illinois, Mark Holterman, MD, educates medical students and residents. Beyond this work, Dr. Mark Holterman serves on the Endowment for Human Development’s (EHD) scientific advisory board. The EHD hosts the Virtual Human Embryo (VHE) project, which is a compendium of the 23 Carnegie stages of embryo development that occur during the initial eight-week pregnancy period.

Featuring over 14,000 pages of diagrams, images, written content, and videos, the VHE took 11 years to develop. It was created via a collaboration between the Human Developmental Anatomy Center, which is part of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and a team overseen by Dr. Raymond Gasser, one of the world’s leading embryologists.

The VHE project received $3.2 million in funding from organizations including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, resulting in the production of almost 34 gigabytes of imagery that acts as the most comprehensive gallery of embryonic development in the world.

The VHE is available to view at