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An Introduction to Medical Histology

This project was conducted by Dora Habib, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Wainman and Dr. Gabriella Gohla.

This short series of modules is designed to help you learn medical histology in an interactive manner. The idea is that you will learn the basics of histology, without the pains of reading through several chapters of a textbook. Everything presented is within the context of the skin, the largest organ, but you will be able to apply the principles you learn to other tissues and organs.

NOTE: It is recommended that you first read the instruction manual in order to learn how to operate the player.

There are 8 mini-modules, ranging from 3-15 minutes in length.

Start with the Visual Perception module and proceed through the rest in the order below. Below is a brief summary of each module, along with the link to view it (the link will open in a new window or tab):

Visual Perception

This module will address two common perceptual challenges that students face when learning histology.

Link to Visual Perception Module

Virtual Lab

This module outlines the steps of a cytological and histological laboratory preparation.

Link to Virtual Lab Module

There are four basic types of tissue, and the next four modules cover each type in depth.

Epithelial Tissue

This module will introduce you to epithelial tissue in the context of epithelial structures in the skin.

Link to Epithelial Tissue Module

Connective Tissue

This module will feature structures in the skin that are composed of connective tissue.

Link to Connective Tissue Module

Muscle Tissue

This module will feature structures in the skin that are composed of muscle tissue.

Link to Muscle Tissue Module

Nervous Tissue

This module will feature structures in the skin that are composed of nervous tissue.

Link to Nervous Tissue Module

Diversity of Skin

After examining the four types of tissue, you will apply your knowledge by viewing histological images from different surfaces of the skin throughout the body. In this module, you will have the opportunity to identify and compare structures in different skin samples. Note that several images also have corresponding illustrations, which purpose to show you an approximation of each cells’ boundaries. These boundaries are often not very clear in normal histological images after the normal staining techniques.

Link to Diversity of Skin Module

Build an Organ

Using the analogy of interlocking bricks, this is a demonstration of how the skin is constructed from the arrangement of smaller structures made from basic tissue types.

Link to Build an Organ Module


  • Young, B., Lowe, J. S., Stevens, A., Heath, J. W. Wheater’s Functional Histology, A Text and Colour Atlas. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier, 2006.
  • Tallitsch, R.B., Gustaferri, R. Histology, an Identification Manual. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier, 2009.
  • Tortora, Gergard J, and Bryan Derrickson. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.
  • Saladin, K.S. Anatomy and Physiology; The Unity of Form and Function. 4th Edition. New York: The McGraw Hill Companies, 2007.

Images and Illustrations

  • Histological images taken from Halton Region Laboratory Medicine facilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON
  • Illustrations by Merry Wang


If you have any questions or comments regarding the module, please email Dr. Wainman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .