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Min En Nga

As a medical student, I struggled to study pathology. I enjoyed looking at pretty cells, but the science behind it felt too cerebral for me. Fast forward a couple of years, and – to my own surprise – I entered pathology residency and had to teach pathology to students of my own! My past struggles prompted me to create mind maps – the messier, the better – for my students. Mind maps helped to stitch disembodied facts together and allowed a logical flow of thought that anchored those troublesome bits of information.

As a teacher, I have been blessed with generous colleagues who have shared ideas and opened up new worlds to me. Amanda Charlton, a brilliant ex-colleague, introduced me to Explain Everything, an App which allowed me to capture these mind maps in video format. Gang Wang, then a research assistant in the radiology department, suggested I try out multi-angle photography of pathology specimens, leading to the birth of our first batch of Virtual Pathology Specimens. 

Back in 2014, we piloted these digitized specimens in our tutorials and the students loved visualizing every nook and cranny of each specimen in high definition on a large screen. Three years later, Pathweb – our free pathology online resource – was born. Pathweb features more than 50 video mind maps, interactive quizzes, more than 300 talking pots and slides, and a virtual pathology museum housing more than 750 fully annotated virtual pathology specimens. 

The journey wasn’t easy, but the response has been affirming! As of June 2023, Pathweb has users from over 125 countries and 6 continents. To know that this free resource is making a difference at home and abroad is all that I could wish for. 

Along the way, the Pathweb Teacher YouTube channel was created, featuring both undergraduate and postgraduate videos. We have close to 19,000 subscribers. Throughout this affirming journey, I have been patiently schooled in digital wonders by my very own students and residents, so much so that the pathology teacher becomes the digital novice, and the pathology novice the digital expert!

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