Virtual libraries of tissue and clinical samples: potential role of a 3-D microscope.


Our international innovative teaching group from different European Universities (De Montfort University, DMU, UK; and the Spanish University of Alcalá, University Miguel Hernández and University of San Pablo CEU), in conjunction with practicing biomedical scientists in the National Health Service (UK) and biomedical researchers, are developing two complete e-learning packages for teaching and learning medical parasitology, named DMU e-Parasitology (accessible at:, and biology and chemistry, named DMU e-Biology (accessible at:, respectively. Both packages will include a virtual microscope with a complete library of digitised tissue images, clinical slides and cell culture slides/mini-videos for enhancing the teaching and learning of a myriad of techniques applicable to health science undergraduate and postgraduate students. Thus, these packages include detecting human parasites, by becoming familiar with their infective structures and/or organs (e.g. eggs, cysts) and/or explore pathogenic tissues stained with traditional (e.g. haematoxylin & eosin) or more modern (e.g. immunohistochemistry) techniques. The Virtual Microscope (VM) module in the DMU e-Parasitology package is almost completed (accessible at: and contains a section for the three major groups of human-pathogenic parasites (Peña-Fernández et al., 2018) [1]. Digitised slides are provided with the functionality of a microscope by using the gadget Zoomify®, and we consider that they can enhance learning, as previous studies reported in the literature have reported similar sensitivity and specificity rates for identification of parasites for both digitised and real slides. The DMU e-Biology’s VM, currently in development, will provide healthy and pathological tissue samples from a range of mammalian tissues and organs.
This communication will provide a description of both virtual libraries and the process of developing them. In conjunction, we will use a three-dimensional (3D) super-resolution microscopy, 3D Cell Explorer (Nanolive, Lausanne, Switzerland), to incorporate potential 3D microscopic photographs/short videos of cells to provide students with information about the spatial arrangement and morphologies of cells that are essential for life.



DMU e-Parasitology, DMU e-Biology, Virtual microscope, 3D microscope.


Peña-Fernández A., Izquierdo, F., Acosta, L., Peña, M.A., Magnet, A., Evans, M.D., Torrado, G., Young, C. (2019) Virtual libraries of tissue and clinical samples: potential role of a 3-D microscope. 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain, March 2019. INTED2019 Proceedings.


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)