Histology Study in Undergraduate Medical Education

Main Article Content

Pakpoom Thintharua
Permphan Dharmasaroja


Histology is an essential field in the education of medical students, and competent knowledge in histology is very important when studying pathology. Current teaching methods for histology in medical schools involve using a conventional light microscope (CM) with or without a virtual microscope (VM). This review aims to present advantages and disadvantages of using CM and VM in terms of teaching and learning histology in the context of undergraduate medical education. One major advantage of the traditional CM histology learning method in laboratory practice is that this allows students to practice using a light microscope; however, study flexibility is limited as the students cannot take the microscope back home for self-study after the histology class has finished. Costly repairs and maintenance must also be considered when using CM. By contrast, VM technology can provide flexibility and convenience for both students and staffs. This method allows students to both self-study and group-study almost anywhere at any time. This review emphasizes that histology learning in undergraduate medical education using VM is no longer confined to the classroom. However, the basic skill of how to operate a conventional light microscope is still important for medical students because CM is commonly used in the hospital laboratories and some hospitals may not be equipped with VM technology.


Article Details

How to Cite
Thintharua, P., & Dharmasaroja, P. . . (2020). Histology Study in Undergraduate Medical Education. Ramathibodi Medical Journal, 43(3), 34–40. https://doi.org/10.33165/rmj.2020.43.3.242429
Review Articles


Cotter JR. Laboratory instruction in histology at the University at Buffalo: recent replacement of microscope exercises with computer applications. Anat Rec. 2001;265(5):212-221. doi:10.1002/ar.10010.

Ordi O, Bombí JA, Martínez A, et al. Virtual microscopy in the undergraduate teaching of pathology. J Pathol Inform. 2015;6:1. doi:10.4103/2153-3539.150246.

Parker EU, Reder NP, Glasser D, Henriksen J, Kilgore MR, Rendi MH. NDER: a novel web application for teaching histology to medical students. Acad Pathol. 2017;4:2374289517691061. doi:10.1177/2374289517691061.

Pereira E Silva A, Nicolau Campos SM, Guimarães IM, Agate Platais Brasil Teixeira G. Comparison between digital and optical microscopy: analysis in a mouse gut inflammation model. Biomed Rep. 2017;7(3):247-250. doi:10.3892/br.2017.950.

Di Gianfrancesco A. Technologies for Chemical Analyses, Microstructural and Inspection Investigations. In: Di Gianfrancesco A, ed. Materials for Ultra-Supercritical and Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Power Plants. Woodhead Publishing; 2017:197-245. doi:10.1016/C2014-0-04826-5.

Ahmed R, Shamim KM, Talukdar HK, Parvin S. Light microscopy for teaching-learning in histology practical in undergraduate medical education of Bangladesh-a teachers’ perspective. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education. 2018;12(1):26-31. doi:10.4038/seajme.v12i1.39.

Becerra D, Grob M, Assadi JL, et al. Academic achievement and perception of two teaching methods in histology: light and digital microscopy. pilot study. Int J Morphol. 2018;36(3):811-816. doi:10.4067/S0717-95022018000300811.

Foad AFA. Comparing the use of virtual and conventional light microscopy in practical sessions: virtual reality in Tabuk University. J Taibah Univ Med Sci. 2017;12(2):183-186. doi:10.1016/j.jtumed.2016.10.015.

Hortsch M. From microscopes to virtual reality - how our teaching of histology is changing. J Cytol Histol. 2013;4(3): e108. doi:10.4172/2157-7099.1000e.108.

Muñoz AL, López JL. Use of Virtual Microscopy to Promote Histology Learning. In: Méndez-Vilas A, ed. Microscopy: Advances in Scientific Research and Education. Badajoz, Spain: Formatex Research Center; 2014:1210-1213.

Histology Guide. University of Minnesota. http://www.histologyguide.com. Accessed August 27, 2020.

Michigan Histology and Virtual Microscopy Learning Resources. University of Michigan. https://histology.medicine.umich.edu. Accessed August 27, 2020.

Felszeghy S, Pasonen-Seppänen S, Koskela A, Mahonen A. Student-focused virtual histology education: Do new scenarios and digital technology matter? MedEdPublish. 2017;6(3):40. doi:10.15694/mep.2017.000154.

Vainer B, Mortensen NW, Poulsen SS, et al. Turning microscopy in the medical curriculum digital: experiences from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at University of Copenhagen. J Pathol Inform. 2017;8:11. doi:10.4103/2153-3539.201919.

Pratt RL. Are we throwing histology out with the microscope? a look at histology from the physician's perspective. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2(5):205-209. doi:10.1002/ase.100.