The digital microscope

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Practical works are essential for the understanding of histology and pathology lectures. They illustrate the true nature of tissues.

The use of a microscope closely relates to the diagnostic pathway in medicine. During this exercise, the student is looking for and is gathering various pictures ("symptoms") from an histological slide, leading to the accurate diagnosis of the tissue.

The maintenance of a teaching dedicated histology/pathology lab is very expensive. The constitution of a basic tissue slides library does take many years. Under some tropical conditions, microscopes have a very short life expectancy.
These three considerations explain the huge problems encountered by academics in emerging countries for establishing such histology labs. This is why we decided to build a digital microscope which could simulate (although not replace) the histology/pathology laboratory exercises. The interface of the digital microscope should allow the user to zoom in and out in the digital slides and also to move around the slide. Like an actual microscope...

A complete collection of histological and pathological slides, gathered by Professor Robert Leloup along a 35-year career at  UNamur (formerly FUNDP), has been scanned at very high resolution (Aperio technologies). These digital slides are yelding gigabytes files. Jpeg compression and Zoomify visualization tools allow to view these slides from an Internet server. Since most emerging countries do not benefit from broadband, the digital microscope will be installed on local servers in academic institutions.
As a side effect, what is of benefit for students from emerging countries should be of benefit for our students too...

This project has been supported by CUD for the scanning of the slides (TRIBVN).

digital atlases