Put simply, histology is the study of the structure, composition, and function of human, animal, and plant tissues seen under a microscope. The tissues and cells have been sectioned, stained and mounted on a microscope slide for examination and study. This process allows trained physicians, commonly pathologists to obtain diagnostic information from what they observed under the microscope. Pathologists would not be able to detect anything if the specimen on the slides were not stained. The most common type of stain used for histology slides is a hematoxylin and eosin stain (H&E stain).The hemalum (a product after hematoxylin is oxidized) binds to the DNA within the nucleus, dying it blue. Meanwhile the aqueous solution of eosin Y stains the cytoplasm of cells and extracellular proteins in shades of red, orange, and pink. This allows pathologists to detect any abnormalities and will therefore understand treatment options further help the patient.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has recently acquired a massive 20,000 plus histology slide collection donated from a local pathologist by the name of Dr. Robert H. Shikes. As a former professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, he has used many of his slides for teaching. Dr. Shikes’ extensive knowledge on the subjects of pathology and histology were highly recognized by the international community of doctors. His collection includes a great variety of different tissues, ranging from the heart, to the kidneys and from the skin to the nerves.Volunteers, interns, as well as experts have been tediously organizing the slides and associated paperwork to provide future researchers the opportunity to pursue further study and research of his work. After careful revision and filing, the museum will decide a future plan for the collection.