Martin Wilson

Martin started off his early career investigating contraceptive vaccines. He eventually gained his PhD in nanotoxicology from Edinburgh Napier University. A return to reproductive biology followed working with the MRC in endometrial pathology research. Following a brief detour into global pharmaceuticals, Martin joined the Bitesize Bio team and set up the Microscopy and Imaging Channel. Now a completely free-range human, Martin runs his own arts and crafts business creating award-winning slate art and bespoke slate and wood items for home and garden. Martin is still very much involved in Bitesize Bio and is a regular contributor to the magazine. You can find out more about his arts and crafts work on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/hatchburnandcarve), or visit his website.

Articles by Martin Wilson:

Scientific Cyber Fraud: Nobody Move—We’re Taking Over This Journal!

Keeping up to date with the scientific literature is a large part of the work-load of any researcher. Love it or loathe it, this means of sharing research findings with the larger scientific community is still the way in which most of us inform ourselves of the latest findings in our fields of research, or…

09 Jan 2017 Writing, Publishing & Presenting

Microscope Cameras: From SLR to CMOS Devices

Photography has undergone great improvements in the last few decades. In times gone past, photographic film was used. Now most researchers use digital means to capture their images. But not all digital cameras are the same. For optimal results you need to know the different types of microscope cameras and how they work. Before the…

03 Aug 2016 Microscopy & Imaging

Microscope Condensers: Don’t Forget Those Parts Underneath!

When you first start out using a microscope, you might only adjust the eye pieces, objectives, and the focus controls. However, you shouldn’t overlook the microscope condensers as they are an important part of the whole optical system of a microscope.

09 Jul 2016 Microscopy & Imaging

Just This Moment. Introducing the Science Behind Mindfulness and Meditation

How often have you looked at slides down the microscope and your thoughts have been miles away? Have you ever been sitting at the bench pipetting and preparing a PCR and wondered if you had really added your forward primer to all your samples (I’ll put my hand up to this one!)? Or spent time…

09 Jul 2016 Personal Development

The Why and How of Oil Immersion Microscopy

Do you know why immersion oil and objectives are used for high power magnification? Do you know how to use an immersion objective correctly? Then review with me the why and how of immersion objectives. The quality of your image depends on your Numerical Aperture (NA) and resolution. To very briefly recap, NA relates to…

31 Mar 2015 Microscopy & Imaging

Vitamin H and Egg White: Streptavidin-Biotin for Immunohistochemistry

If you want to make molecules stick together you need to know about streptavidin/biotin. This article follows on from Mike’s article looking at ‘sandwich’ and ‘amplification’ methods of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and covers how streptavidin-biotin works in IHC, including protocols. Streptavidin-Biotin What is it? Avidin is a natural biotin-binding protein found in egg whites. Streptavidin is similar…

06 Jan 2015 Microscopy & Imaging

PIER, HIER and Mannich: Antigen Retrieval in Immunohistochemistry

When you fix your tissue samples with paraformaldehyde (PFA) the proteins in your sample become covalently cross-linked. This is good to preserve the ‘architecture’ of your tissue sample. However, this cross-linking can become a problem when you carry out immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cross-linking can ‘mask’ or hide your antigens-of-interest and make them ‘invisible’ to your IHC…

16 Dec 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Looking good! A Guide to Adjusting and Maintaining Microscope Eyepieces

The magnification and viewing of samples using a microscope relies on both the objectives and the eyepieces working harmoniously together. If you buy a ready-to-use microscope, then the objectives and the eyepieces which are fitted as standard will be designed to complement each other. On the other hand, if you are designing and building a…

23 Sep 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Taken for Granted: Position and Setup of Your Microscope

Although I say ‘taken for granted’, over the years of working in and managing microscope facilities, it quickly became clear that the position of the microscope, user position and set-up were aspects which were not considered by many users. These are fundamental points which not only take strain from your eyes, back and so on,…

21 Sep 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

I Can See (See Dee)! CCD and CMOS Cameras for Micoscopy

Two different sensors are generally used in cameras for microscopy: Charge Coupled Devices (CCD) or Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors (CMOS or sCMOS). Although there are a number of similarities between the two sensors, differences in the way they function can have an effect on image capture time as well as signal-to-noise ratio. Let’s take a…

12 Aug 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

An Objective View: What do These Abbreviations Mean on Microscope Objectives?

In one of the previous articles from the Microscopy and Imaging Channel, we took a look at ‘that other number’ which you’ll find on a microscope objective: namely numerical aperture. The information you’ll find on objectives doesn’t stop there though- another piece of information to be found on the barrel of the objective is the…

29 Apr 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Dots, Probes and Proteins: Fluorescent Labels for Microscopy and Imaging

If you remember from one of my previous articles (if not, you can read it here!), we introduced ‘fluorophores’. These are basically substances (natural or synthetic) which have the ability to absorb light at a low wavelength and re-emit at a higher wavelength. In other words- they fluoresce! In this article, I’ll introduce the three…

25 Mar 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Fluorescence 101: A Beginners Guide to Excitation/Emission, Stokes Shift, Jablonski and More!

You may already use fluorescence as a tool in your microscopy and imaging work, but, do you know exactly what it is? Why are certain proteins and probes fluorescent? What causes this light emitting property? We’ll have a look at these and more questions in this article. Start with a definition We’ll start with a…

11 Mar 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Light Through Crystals: What Exactly is Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy?

Although his name could fit in easily to the early 1980’s Hip-Hop Scene, Jerzy Nomarski (or ‘George’) was actually a Polish physicist with an interest in optical theory. Born in 1919, he eventually became a member of the Polish Resistance fighting in the Second World War. He was captured by enemy forces and held as…

18 Feb 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

Catching Waves: What a Microscopist Ought to Know About Phase Contrast

Phase contrast microscopy is a light microscopy technique which is primarily used to visualise live cells. Using various filters and condensers, the image produced by phase contrast allows us to see greater detail in live cells and can highlight aspects such as intracellular structures. Keep your cells alive! The best way to view cells is…

04 Feb 2014 Microscopy & Imaging

A (very) Short History of Histology

Some recent conversations I have had got me to thinking about bioscience students and their first encounter with the word and the world of ‘histology’. In pursuing the study of biology and carving out a career in the life sciences, then each of us will no doubt need (or want) to use histology in our…

21 Jan 2014 History of Biology&Microscopy & Imaging

Tissue Processing For Histology: What Exactly Happens?

A procedure which needs to take place between tissue fixation and the embedding/sectioning of paraffin blocks is tissue processing. You simply can’t take fixed tissue and embed it! We have already introduced fixation in this article and embedding/sectioning in this article. Following fixation, tissue is transferred to a tissue cassette- see the multicolored examples below!…

10 Dec 2013 Microscopy & Imaging

This One’s Upside Down! Inverted and Stereo Microscopes in Bioscience Laboratories

Most of the microscopes you will encounter in your laboratories will be ‘upright’. In other words, they are assembled (from top to bottom) in the order of; eyepieces, objectives (on revolving nosepiece), stage, sub-stage condenser, diaphragm and base. However, there are two other types of light microscopes you will perhaps encounter (and use) and it…

03 Dec 2013 Microscopy & Imaging

Haematoxylin and Eosin 101: Part Two- Recipes and Materials

Following on from the first part of the H and E 101 articles, here are the materials and recipes you’ll need for your own H and E workstation (assuming you don’t have access to a histology lab). Many of the chemicals listed below are toxic and/or harmful. Use PPE when handling/storing, follow SOP’s in your…

12 Nov 2013 Microscopy & Imaging

Haematoxylin And Eosin 101: Part One – Method And Tips

Haematoxylin and Eosin staining is the most common staining in the modern (and old!) histology lab. This staining technique gives an overview of the structure of the tissue and can be used in pathological diagnosis. This article follows on from Nicola’s introduction, but we’ll take an in-depth look at the stains, chemistry and method to…

05 Nov 2013 Microscopy & Imaging