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Subspecialties Microscopy and imaging, Histology

The Picture of Health


Scanning hematoxylin and eosin stain of the small bowel.

Tangled Web

Several laboratories in the Philippines are behind the latest advances in slide labeling. This micrograph features tissue stain caught up in the tangles of micropore tape fibers.

Credit: Othaniel Philip R. Balisan, The Philippine Heart Center, Manila, Philippines.

Cytology Thin Prep Slide

Mucin-Stained Stomach Cells

Striking slide scans captured on the MoticEasyScan One digital scanner with a 40X objective.

Credit: Casey Wahl, Motic Digital Pathology, San Francisco, USA.

Heart Shapes of a Nucleus

It's easy to be impressed by hidden images in pathology, such as this heart hidden within a nucleus.

Credit: Lara Pijuan, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona.

Van Gogh

Bright yellow flecks of hematoidin crystals are strewn across this colonic wall in a patient with aortoenteric fistula, redolent of the post-impressionist painter's most iconic work, "The Starry Night."

Credit: Randell Arias, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Philippines.

Stream of Fire During Fall in Wilderness

This picture depicts a fragment of bone tissue with tyrosine-like crystals that refract on a polarizing microscope using H&E stain. Colors were enhanced by filters.

War in Heaven

This formation by Aspergillus species portrays the battle between angels and demons who are defeated and thrown down to Earth.

Credit: Franz Jobert L. Sebastian, The Philippine Heart Center, Manila, Philippines.


This negative image of a H&E section of the cerebellum reflects the balance between the arts and the sciences.

Credit: Michaela Nguyen (@Neuygn), Baptist Health South Florida Department of Pathology, USA.


Hyaline Sky


Three Tables

Digital collages inspired by memories of the North Shore of O'ahu. Made with Adobe Photoshop.

Credit: Cooper Schwartz, Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, USA.

A Wild Doggo Appears

A Pap-stained cytologic smear from a CT-scan guided fine needle aspiration biopsy of a right lower lobe lung mass, which turned out to be adenocarcinoma.

Credit: Felipe S. Templo, Jr., Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City, Philippines.

Funny Face From Urine

Credit: Sarah Kelting, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, USA.

Epithelium's Fungal Fate

Candida and cells.

Credit: Keenan Hogan, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, USA.

SKY Illustration

A SKY picture of mouse cancer models showing extensive chromosomal rearrangements.

Credit: Murty Vundavalli, Associate Professor, Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, New York, USA.

Pathology of the Eye

A pretty stain of the retina showing vessels.

Credit: Paula Keene Pierce, President, Excalibur Pathology, Inc., Norman, USA.

Abnormal Lymphocytes

A sample from an acute lymphoblastic leukemia patient stained with Wright's stain, showing anisocytosis and macrocytosis.

Credit: Nina Simonini, Medical Laboratory Technician, AdventHealth Oncology and Hematology Lab, Orlando, USA.

Almost Blue

This image was created from a Pap smear background containing spermatozoa.

Et Lux Perpetua

Epidermis stained with Alcian blue.

None of Us Are Free

Heart and lung dissection.

Credit: Luis Humberto Cruz Contreras, Hospital Materno Infantil, Irapuato, Mexico.

Tick Bite

This microscopic image is a skin biopsy showing a tick bite, with the tick's mouth part attached to the skin in its entirety. You can even see the microanatomy of the insect.

Credit: Rola H. Ali, Associate Professor of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, and Pathologist, Cytogenetics/Molecular Lab, Kuwait Cancer Control Center, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

The Art of Fluorescence Deconvolution Imaging, Part III

A series of artistic images created using fluorescence deconvolution microscopy

Adrenoreceptors in cultured heart cell.

Astrocyte connective tissue.

Cubist fat.

Normal skin follicle.

Credit: Brian J. Poindexter and Roger J. Bick, Multi-User Fluorescence Imaging and Microscopy Core Lab, UT McGovern Medical School, USA.


Arizona wine crystals photographed through a microscope.

Tropospheric Ornaments

Polarized phenylethylamine crystals photographed through a microscope.

Credit: Scott Taft, Tucson, USA.

Kissper & When the Cat Is Away, the Blue Mouse Will Play

The image on the left is from a fibroadenoma, H&E-stained, 100X magnification. The image on the right is from a cervicovaginal Pap smear and shows aggregates of parabasal cells.

Credit: Rico P. Lasaca, Our Lady of Porziuncola Hospital Inc., Calbayog City, Western Samar, Philippines.

Basic Fuchsin Five

This image is an IshiharaGram, an aesthetic concept series I created by merging the Gram stain and the Ishihara test, two different techniques in medicine that use color as a primary mechanism for determining clinical criteria. The pink five is composed of colored dots representing microscopic fields of GNRs or PMNs, whereas the surrounding purple dots represent microscopic fields of GPCs, GPRs, or yeast.

Gram Stain Flash

This animated image is a GIF that uses apparent motion to reveal various microorganisms observed in bronchoalveolar lavages and blood cultures.


The cells/organisms featured in this animated GIF are Candida albicans, PMNs with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Weissella confusa, Streptococcus parasanguinis, Micrococcus luteus, Geotrichum capitatum, Streptococcus gallolyticus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella aerogenes, spermatozoa, Bacillus cereus, MSSA, VRE, Cutibacterium acnes, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Streptococcus sp., Eggerthella lenta, and squamous epithelial cells. Specimen sources featured include sputum, BAL, vaginal swab, blood culture, urine, tracheal aspirate, pelvic fluid, and biliary fluid. Slides and stains are ubiquitous in laboratory medicine, so much so that they can be easily overlooked. While they can be aesthetic, that quality is secondary to their utilitarian function. By disorienting the familiar microscopic image through an unfamiliar rollercoaster of kaleidoscopic blinks, rotations, and hops, their diagnostic power spins out of focus, and out of control of the viewer. There is not enough time to fixate on any particular image, which may be unusual for the seasoned laboratorian. The process of creating this GIF is equally paradoxical; to create seamless rapid successions, the construction and deliberation of each frame has to be painstakingly slow.

Credit: Ansel Oommen, Clinical Laboratory Technologist, New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, and Research Assistant, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA.

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About the Author
Michael Schubert

While obtaining degrees in biology from the University of Alberta and biochemistry from Penn State College of Medicine, I worked as a freelance science and medical writer. I was able to hone my skills in research, presentation and scientific writing by assembling grants and journal articles, speaking at international conferences, and consulting on topics ranging from medical education to comic book science. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing new bacteria and plausible superheroes, though, I’m more pleased than ever to be at Texere, using my writing and editing skills to create great content for a professional audience.

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