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The University of Southampton

BIOL1023 Cell and Tissue Histology

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to give first year students understanding of the various principles and applications of cell and tissue imaging, providing an opportunity to become familiar with the appearance and functional aspects of a number of different types of cells, tissues, organs and systems. This will involve the various microscopic ways of examining tissue and cell structures at cellular and subcellular levels including ways of processing and staining tissues. It will introduce students to the ultrastructural features of tissues and cells. It will also introduce the major microscopic changes occurring in cell, tissue and organs which underlie the major forms of pathology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the different methods of microscopy and tissue preservation and the limits of magnification and resolution
  • Recognise the organization of the cell and the function of its constituent organelles
  • Understand the organisation and structure of the four basic tissue types and their association into organs and systems
  • Understand the structural organization the various types of muscle
  • Develop the skill of using a light microscope
  • Develop the skill of being able to “read” an unknown slide, including the ability to identify normal tissue types in various contexts
  • Begin to acquire the ability to recognize the changes observed with light microscopy and at ultrastructural levels in various forms of common pathology


Lecture Contents 1. Description of light and electron microscope Contrast/ phase contact/ DIC 2. Tissue and cell processing and staining –artefacts from microscopy 3. Immunological based methods of studying tissue and cell and associated problems (quenching, incompatibility/ auto-fluorescence ) Immunofluorescence (other markers – eg phalloidin/ lectin conjugates) Confocal microscopy Sorting cells Immunogold labelling 4. Cell structure at light and ultrastructural level Visible structure of the major organelles 5. The tissue structure- epithelia/ muscle/ nerve/ nervous tissue/connective tissues 6. System organisation at a histological level (extending the physiology core modules) -Digestive tract -Excretory -Reproductive tracts -Skin -Immune system -Blood and bone marrow -Nervous tissues 7. Pathology – patho-histology -Cellular pathology- examples of diseases showing changes in the main organelles - Cell responses to injury (regeneration, repair, degeneration, death) -Tissue pathological events -Acute inflammation -Chronic inflammation -Changes in growth- hyperplasia. hypoplasia, aplasia, dysplasia, neoplasia -Amyloidosis -Vascular changes – Atherosclerosis, thrombosis, infarct, embolism -Infections (examples of histological / EM changes on bacterial, viral and parasite infections). 2. New visualisation methods - Limitations of light- diffraction barriers- SIM /STED -other forms of microscope- Xray tomography/ AFM - 3D visualisation- light sheet/ 3D block face SEM -Live cell and live animal imaging -Molecular imaging- Negative stains, Rotary shadow -FRAP/FRET/ FILM- In situ/ FISH -High throughput microscopy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures. Web based quizzes Practical session.

Practical classes and workshops9
Wider reading or practice117
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Class practicals 10%
Web-based assessment 15%
Written exam 75%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: BIOL1007 or BIOL1010

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