An interdisciplinary team of researchers, including MBF Bioscience’s Dr. Susan Tappan and Maci Heal, have created a fully reconstructed, virtual 3D heart, digitally showcasing the heart’s unique network of neurons for the first time. The investigators in this study–appearing May 26 in the journal iScience–created a comprehensive map of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system at a cellular scale using MBF Bioscience’s Tissue Mapper and TissueMaker software. This map also allows for gene expression data to be superimposed within it, which can help determine the functional role that specific neuron clusters play. The researchers say this map will allow neurologists and cardiologists alike to more precisely study the neuroanatomy of the heart and lays the groundwork for developing virtual maps for other major organs.
Free resource for educators and researchers features thousands of downloadable histology slides
Educators and researchers around the world now have free access to a database of whole slide images (also known as virtual slides) for histology and pathology. Featuring thousands of virtual slides contributed by 15 universities, The Virtual Microscopy Database, VMD, (http://www.virtualmicroscopydatabase.org/) is an online resource that allows educators to view and download virtual images and share their own.
Powered by MBF Bioscience‘s Biolucida® for Medical Education solution, VMD gives educators an overview of individual slides and allows examination of various parts of the image at magnifications up to 40x. The users can take a screenshot or download the file at any time.
Funded by an Innovations Program Grant awarded by the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the resource was developed by researchers from the University of Colorado, Drexel University College of Medicine, and the University of Michigan with corporate support from MBF Bioscience. With thousands of freely accessible virtual microscopy images, the VMD helps meet a growing need for better access to histology slides among educators and non-profit research organizations. The AAA foresees the images being used in a variety of educational ways such as for lectures, exams, and for creating supplementary course material as well as for non-profit research initiatives.
“The greatest strength of the VMD is the availability of a large number of high quality virtual microscopy images to its users. The diversity and multiple examples of histological variations available in the VMD collections will enable histology and pathology educators to elevate the quality of their teaching by exposing their students to a broader variety of images and by experimenting with new pedagogical techniques in their classrooms.” (Lisa Lee, Ph.D., University of Colorado)
“We are proud to be part of the AAA’s efforts to improve the access of histology and pathology digital slides for medical educators and students by providing the underlying technology for this important resource. Any of the virtual slides in this new resource can be downloaded and used on an organization’s Biolucida on-premise or cloud-based server,” says Jack Glaser, president of MBF Bioscience.
Individuals affiliated with educational or research institutions may register to access the database. Once approved, users can browse files, or search for specific types of tissue. Currently, the VMD site includes over 2,600 virtual microscopy files, but as new users join the VMD file sharing community that number will grow as will the diversity of tissue and species type.
The American Association of Anatomists was founded by Joseph Leidy in Washington, D.C. in 1888 for the “advancement of anatomical science.” Today, via research, education, and professional development activities, AAA serves as the professional home for an international community of biomedical researchers and educators focusing on the structural foundation of health and disease.
About MBF Bioscience:
MBF Bioscience produces advanced microscopy imaging and analysis systems for biomedical research and education. The award-winning company was co-founded in 1988 by Edmund and Jack Glaser.
Nathan O’Connor, Ph.D.
Product Manager/Technical Sales
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Aspiring medical doctors and life science researchers in the U.S. learn histology to understand the cellular organization of tissues and organs. In the past, microscopes were the only equipment available for viewing cells and other microscopic structures in tissue specimens. Now, more and more students are learning histology with virtual microscope slides – high-resolution digital images of tissue specimens that can be viewed on a computer over the Internet.
Dr. Robert Ogilvie has been teaching histology with virtual slides for over 15 years. He is a pioneer in the field of virtual microscopy; striving to make learning histology more active and accessible to the next generation of doctors and researchers.
Dr. Ogilvie has won numerous teaching awards throughout his 45 year teaching career, including the most recent one – the 2016 Henry Gray Distinguished Educator Award which is the American Association of Anatomists’ highest education award. He will accept the award on Tuesday, April 5 at the 129th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Anatomists that is meeting at the same time as many other societies as a part of the Experimental Biology Meeting (EB2016) in San Diego, CA. After accepting the award he will present a lecture titled ‘On the Way to Virtual’ where he will discuss his experiences using virtual microscopy to teach histology. The talk will culminate with an example of a fully online histology course he teaches using Biolucida, Blackboard, and WebMic – a virtual microscopy program he helped develop. Enrollment doubled when the course was offered online, and it remains popular for students from a wide range of majors.
Watch a six minute video that illustrates and describes the essential components of the online histology course offered by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina
Watch this 3 minute video of Dr. Ogilvie teaching histology with virtual slides and Biolucida
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Dr. Paul Manger, Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, studies the brain anatomy of various animals to better understand the relationship between brain structure and function. Some of the mammals he studies have very large brains that don’t fit under a conventional research microscope. A team of scientists and microscopy experts at MBF Bioscience developed a new microscope system that enables Dr. Manger to analyze and image whole sections of large brain tissue. This system is the first for imaging and analyzing entire tissue sections of large mammalian brains. It will give Dr. Manger unprecedented analyses of African mammal brains and a way to share large images of tissue specimens with collaborators or a global audience. Continue reading “First System for Imaging and Analyzing Large Mammalian Brain Tissue Installed in South Africa” »
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We are happy to announce that Biolucida, our learning management software, is now hosting the Iowa Virtual Slidebox. This vast repository of digitized tissue specimens is open to the public and is free of charge. Virtual slides in this collection are used by educators around the world to teach histopathology and histology.
“Educators and students will now have easier and quicker access to virtual slides from the Iowa Virtual Slidebox,” said Dr. Nathan O’Connor, Biolucida product manager. “In addition, MBF can offer fully annotated versions of these slides that highlight specific structures or areas of interest within the specimens.”
The collection was curated by Fred Dee, MD, a pathologist at the University of Iowa who is a pioneer in using virtual slides for medical education. “We created this virtual slide collection with a grant from the National Library of Medicine to provide an efficient open source alternative for histology and histopathology course directors around the world, as traditional laboratory based glass slide microscopy was beginning to disappear from curricula,” said Dr. Dee. “The Iowa Virtual Slidebox has been hosted by MBF Bioscience since 2001. We are extremely pleased that MBF Bioscience will continue that tradition with their new Biolucida software.”
Biolucida is a learning platform that uses virtual slides ̶ high-resolution digital images of tissue specimens ̶ to simulate the experience of using a light microscope, complete with the ability to focus in z through specimens. It supports images that are hundreds of gigabytes in size, and it is web-based so educators and students can view the slides from any computer with an internet connection.
To download the app and view the Iowa Collection on Biolucida at full resolution, free of charge, please fill out this short form.