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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 hand carved slate and stone pieces. Martin is still very much involved in Bitesize Bio and is a regular contributor to the magazine. You can find out more about his stone carving on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/hatchburnandcarve), or visit his website.

Articles by Martin Wilson:

How History Shaped Modern Optical Microscopes, Part One: Simple and Compound Microscopes

Having some knowledge of microscope history can be beneficial to understanding and appreciating specific configurations and components, and how they produce an optimal image. For example, practically all laboratory microscopes use achromatic objectives to partly compensate for chromatic aberration. For high-quality imaging, fluorescence microscopy, and photomicroscopy, fluorite and apochromatic objectives are used to largely overcome…

17 Jul 2019 Microscopy and Imaging

Microscope Finder Slides: Their History, Development, and Use

Have you ever been looking through a box of slides and found something that you want to image or look at later, or even show to one of your colleagues or supervisor? Finding that exact spot on the slide at a later date can prove to be difficult- using a marker pen on the coverslip…

03 Apr 2019 Microscopy and Imaging

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 and 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 and 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

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 and Imaging

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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 Leica&Microscopy and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and Imaging

The Joy Of Shared Microscopes – 10 Things Which Really Piss Me Off!

The theory behind the idea of having shared microscopes is a good one, but, in reality, this can sometimes mean you have to put up with the dirty habits of your fellow scientists and researchers. And some of your lab mates turn out to be really mucky! Here’s my Top 10 of things which really…

24 Sep 2013 Microscopy and Imaging

Five Tiny Microscopy Pleasures

Following on from five tiny histology pleasures where you (hopefully) created the perfect slide, now comes those moments in viewing and imaging which (almost) restore your faith in research. 1. Free! It’s free! Turning up at the microscope you have booked in the imaging suite to find it both free and clean. I often dreamt…

30 Jul 2013 Microscopy and Imaging

Five Tiny Histology Pleasures

You know – the things which make your day in the histology lab just whiz by as you push forward the frontiers of science! Here’s my top five happy histology handiness; 1.    Molten wax I guess we’ll start at the beginning of the life of a microscope slide and this usually starts with a paraffin wax…

25 Jun 2013 Microscopy and Imaging

10 Uses For An Old Microscope

Following on from our previous article, here are some suggestions for an old microscope (should you happen not to destroy it!). 1. Museum piece Start your own mini scientific instruments museum. Before you know it, you be raking through the old skips and dumpsters at your institute looking for exhibits. 2. Teach kids Teach your…

11 Jun 2013 Microscopy and Imaging

From Bench To Bedside- How Next Generation Sequencing Is Changing The Lives Of Cancer Patients

Next Generation Sequencing is to play a central role in a £2.7 million funded by the Wellcome Trust in the UK. The ‘Mainstreaming Cancer Genetics Programme’ is a truly translational collaboration which aims to take research from the lab bench to the clinic via industry. Testing more genes in more people The three year study…

06 Jun 2013 Genomics and Epigenetics

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at Bitesize Bio have a; -Happy Holiday -Merry Christmas -Cool Yule * (* delete as appropriate) Or, if you don’t celebrate this season in your country, have a productive day and good luck in your research!  

25 Dec 2012 Microscopy and Imaging

How to Transform Your Images from Mediocre to Publication Quality with Köhler Illumination

You’ve spent days, perhaps weeks or months squirrelling away tubes of preserved tissue in the dark drawers under your laboratory bench like the trophies of a demented serial-killer. Hours have been spent in histology in the processing, embedding and sectioning onto slides. Finally, like a warrior victorious in battle, you hold aloft your thin glass…

24 Jul 2012 Microscopy and Imaging