Use of virtual microscopy for didactic live-audience presentation in anatomic pathology

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2003 Feb;7(1):67-72. doi: 10.1053/adpa.2003.50021.


Didactic presentations on the topic of anatomic pathology in front of a live audience have been largely dependent on the use of standard 2 x 2 inch projection slides (Kodachromes) of selected still images from the topic at hand. Because of the highly visual nature of the specialty of anatomic pathology, this method has had some serious limitations. With the advent of digital imaging techniques and the availability of new electronic software for the projection of images, new possibilities have become available for didactic presentations in anatomic pathology in front of a large, live audience. We describe a method whereby large digital images or "virtual slides" were produced from digitally scanned whole-mount sections of histologic glass slides and projected using a combination of PowerPoint (Microsoft Corp, Redmond, WA) and virtual microscopy in front of a live audience. To provide a seamless transition between the two presentation formats, the personal computer-based PowerPoint slides were hyperlinked to a browser-based virtual microscope viewer. The presenter, with the use of a mouse, was able to "move" the image of the scanned slide on the screen, to transition seamlessly among various magnifications, and to rapidly select from the whole-mount scanned slide among any areas of interest pertinent to the topic. Thus, the visual experience obtained by the audience simulated that of viewing a glass slide at a multi-headed microscope during a glass slide tutorial. Because this most closely approximates the experience of reviewing glass slides under the microscope for practicing pathologists, the educational experience of the presentation is greatly enhanced by the use of this technique. Also, this method permits making this type of presentation available to a much larger group of individuals in a live audience.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy / instrumentation*
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Pathology* / education
  • Pathology* / instrumentation
  • Photomicrography*