Biolucida®Medical Education

View, manage and share image stacks and 2D & 3D whole-slide images
MBF Bioscience > Biolucida®Medical Education

Product Overview

Biolucida is interactive learning software developed in collaboration with leading medical educators. Biolucida simulates the experience of using a microscope that can focus through Z, and gives educators a vehicle to reach more students and deliver more dynamic and rich content. Hundreds of students can use Biolucida simultaneously, so you can use it even in your largest class.


Many medical educators use virtual slides (high-resolution digital images of tissue specimens) instead of microscopes to teach histology and histopathology. However, many different methods are used to acquire virtual slides, and distributing the slides to students for lectures, course work, and tests can be cumbersome and slow. Here are some unique ways that Biolucida goes above and beyond to create a learning environment where communication thrives.

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Key Benefits

Biolucida allows students and educators in the smallest or largest classes to collaborate and simultaneously access microscopy slides over the web. Educators can create reusable and sharable collections of annotated slides and control student access with Biolucida’s intuitive but powerful web interface. Content from existing educational content can be enhanced with these slides using simple web links.

Biolucida easily integrates with an institute's IT architecture using secure and current standard web technologies. Biolucida utilizes extensive client and server optimizations to ensure the fastest viewing experience even at peak internet usage times.

System Requirements for Biolucida Viewer

Operating System

  • Windows 10, 64-bit
  • OSX 10.9 or later

At least 6 GB

System Requirements for Biolucida Server

Operating System

  • Linux (CentOS 6 or 7)
  • Windows server 2016 or later

minimum 4-cores for 2D whole slide images


minimum 8 GB with connectivity of 1 Gbps or great

Biolucida exists as a standard, easily maintained WAMP/LAMP stack and proprietary C++ derived software.

Case Study
American Association of Anatomists Launches Virtual Microscopy Database powered by Biolucida
>> Learn More

Case Study
Medical Schools Take Learning Online with Biolucida During COVID-19
>> Learn More

Castro, A., Becerra, M., Jesús Manso, M., & Anadón, R. (2015). Neuronal organization of the brain in the adult amphioxus (Branchiostoma lanceolatum): A study with acetylated tubulin immunohistochemistry. Journal of Comparative Neurology, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/cne.23785.

Chen, C.-C., Winkler, C. M., Pfenning, A. R., & Jarvis, E. D. (2013). Molecular profiling of the developing avian telencephalon: Regional timing and brain subdivision continuities. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 521(16), 3666-3701. doi: 10.1002/cne.23406.

Condro, M. C., Matynia, A., Foster, N. N., Ago, Y., Rajbhandari, A. K., Jayaram, B., . . . Waschek, J. A. (2016). High-resolution characterization of a PACAP-EGFP transgenic mouse model for mapping PACAP-expressing neurons. Journal of Comparative Neurology, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/cne.24035.

Daniel, H., Ester, D., P., U. J. F., L., J. A., Timothy, S.-G., A., D. G., . . . Scott, K. J. (2018). A 3D MRI-based atlas of a lizard brain. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 0(ja). doi: doi:10.1002/cne.24480.

Gerfen, Charles R., Paletzki, R., & Heintz, N. (2013). GENSAT BAC Cre-Recombinase Driver Lines to Study the Functional Organization of Cerebral Cortical and Basal Ganglia Circuits. Neuron, 80(6), 1368-1383. doi.

Haeussner, E., Aschauer, B., Burton, G. J., Huppertz, B., Edler von Koch, F., Müller-Starck, J., . . . Frank, H.-G. (2015). Does 2D-Histologic identification of villous types of human placentas at birth enable sensitive and reliable interpretation of 3D structure? Placenta. doi:

Hannibal, J., Christiansen, A. T., Heegaard, S., Fahrenkrug, J., & Kiilgaard, J. F. (2017). Melanopsin expressing human retinal ganglion cells: Subtypes, distribution and intraretinal connectivity. Journal of Comparative Neurology, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/cne.24181.

Hof, P. R. (2014). Passages 2014. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 522(1), 1-5. doi: 10.1002/cne.23474.

Hooks, B. M., Papale, A. E., Paletzki, R. F., Feroze, M. W., Eastwood, B. S., Couey, J. J., . . . Gerfen, C. R. (2018). Topographic precision in sensory and motor corticostriatal projections varies across cell type and cortical area. Nature Communications, 9(1), 3549. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05780-7.

Iacono, D., Lee, P., Edlow, B. L., Gray, N., Fischl, B., Kenney, K., . . . Perl, D. P. (2019). Early-Onset Dementia in War Veterans: Brain Polypathology and Clinicopathologic Complexity. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlz122.

Karten, H. J., Glaser, J. R., & Hof, P. R. (2013). An important landmark in scientific publishing. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 521(8), 1697-1698. doi: 10.1002/cne.23329.

Lipovich, L., Hou, Z.-c., Jia, H., Sinkler, C., McGowen, M., Sterner, K. N., . . . Wildman, D. E. (2015). High-throughput RNA sequencing reveals structural differences of orthologous brain-expressed genes between western lowland gorillas and humans. Journal of Comparative Neurology, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/cne.23843.

O'Connor, N., Tappan, S., & Glaser, J. (2014). How to Prepare Neuroanatomical Image Data Current Protocols in Neuroscience (Vol. 69): John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Ogilvie, R., Sawyer, R., Greenwold, M., Bao, W., & Thompson, J. (2014). Evolution of a cross-institutional asynchronous online 500 level college histology course with interactive lectures and virtual lab component (530.1). The FASEB Journal, 28(1 Supplement). doi.

Pastrana, E. (2014). A genetic handle on brain circuits. Nature Methods, 11, 128. doi.

Sakano, H., Zorio, D. A. R., Wang, X., Ting, Y. S., Noble, W. S., MacCoss, M. J., . . . Wang, Y. (2017). Proteomic analyses of nucleus laminaris identified candidate targets of the fragile X mental retardation protein. Journal of Comparative Neurology, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/cne.24281.

Samal, N., & Prakash, R. V. K. (2019). Randomized cross-over study and a qualitative analysis comparing virtual microscopy and light microscopy for learning undergraduate histopathology. Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology, 62(1), 84. doi. 

Download Biolucida Medical Education product sheet here.


Biolucida® Version 5.0 

New Features and Enhancements:

  • Images can now be viewed with any standard web browser using a new cross-platform HTML5 web viewer that doesn’t rely on Java or Flash. This feature can be enabled or disabled for any slide collection to control data access. Hyperlinks to images regions can also be shared and embedded within external documents and pages for integration with lab manuals and educational platforms.
  • GOTO functionality allows users to easily view and toggle annotations in slides from a clickable list.
  • Added a “Filmstrip” that shows and navigates individual planes for image stacks in the web viewer.
  • Added support for new whole slide image formats: Zeiss CZI, Olympus VSI, and BigTiff.
  • If given permission, users can upload slides and images from the Biolucida viewer or web browser directly to server.
  • If given permission, users can download full images from a Biolucida server to their local systems.
    New MBF built Jpeg2000 streaming technology with robust support for huge 3D slides viewed by large numbers of concurrent users.
  • New security framework for Biolucida server processes.
  • Added a new WAMP installer by MBF Bioscience with the most recent updated from Apache and PHP.
  • A new logging system with improved UI and use metrics added for administrators.
  • Viewer support for the latest operating systems (Windows 10, OSX 10.11 El Capitan, Linux CentOS 7)
  • Administrators can now view users’ access permissions for all slide collection in one table.
  • Support for all images formats served by Biolucida can be enabled or disabled by configurations on the server.
  • Slide collections can now be titled with descriptions. Descriptions live at the top of the slide collection and can contain experimental, case, and instructional information.
  • Search and navigation results are now presented instantly in a scrolling, rather than paged, format. Searches can also be restricted to specific slide collections, or performed across all slides a user has permission to view.
  • YouTube videos can now be viewed directly in the Biolucida Viewer.
  • Redesign of the image page and image edit interfaces.
  • Added the ability to show either filename or user specified image name for thumbnails.
  • Improved scrolling to accommodate large scale file, directory, and collection listings.


View Full Version History Here.

Who Is Using Biolucida?

More than 150,000 students have used Biolucida for Medical Education to study histology and histopathology

Cited in Peer Reviewed Scientific Publications

Biolucida’s utility is underscored by the number of references it receives in the worlds most important scientific publications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does Biolucida work?

Biolucida consists of 3 parts: a server computer, Biolucida server software, and the Biolucida viewer. Together, the server computer and server software constitute a virtual central library where your slides are maintained and served. Biolucida can integrate into existing IT infrastructure, it can be set up in another location, or it can be hosted in the cloud with Amazon Web Services.

The Biolucida server software allows educators and students to navigate through large images quickly — there is no waiting for images to download. This
software runs behind the scenes and is not visible to users.

The viewer is the software application that instructors and students use to view, access, and share virtual slides. The viewer can run on any computer (PC or Mac) connected to the internet.

How large can the files be?

Biolucida efficiently serves very large virtual slides. A typical single image size is 10-50 gigabytes, but Biolucida can easily handle an image that exceeds of

Which computer platforms do you support?

The Biolucida viewer runs on Mac and PC, and the Biolucida server software runs on Windows and Linux. The Biolucida web browser viewer also allows viewing
slides on mobile platforms such as iPads.

Can I use images acquired with my slide scanner or my confocal microscope?

Yes, Biolucida supports images acquired with slide scanners from companies such as Huron, Aperio, Leica, Olympus, Zeiss and Hamamatsu. It also supports
images and image stacks acquired with confocal microscopes from companies such as Zeiss, Olympus, and Leica.

Can I easily compare images?

Yes, Biolucida lets you easily compare multiple images simultaneously.

Can I focus through 3D virtual slides?

Yes, Biolucida supports 3D virtual slides and allows users to focus through image planes just like a microscope.


Robust Professional Support

Our service sets us apart, with a team that includes Ph.D. neuroscientists, experts in microscopy, stereology, neuron reconstruction, and image processing.  We’ve also developed a host of additional support services, including:

  • Forums
    We have over 25 active forums where open discussions take place.
    >> Learn More
  • On-Site/Training
    We’ve conducted over 750 remote software installations.
    >> Learn More
  • Webinars
    We’ve created over 55 webinars that demonstrate our products & their uses.
    >> Learn More

Request an Expert Demonstration

We offer a free expert demonstration of Biolucida. During your demonstration you’ll also have the opportunity to talk to us about your hardware, software, or experimental design questions with our team of Ph.D. neuroscientists and experts in microscopy, neuron tracing, and image processing.

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Recorded Webinars and Videos

Webinar: Using Biolucida to Create Histology Classes from Whole Slide Images

Using Biolucida Cloud for Creating & Utilizing Educational Material for Medicine & Science

Exploring Big Data in Microscopy