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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.

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Articles by Wilson

A bookshelf of old books to represent the history of histology

A (very) Short History of Histology

By Martin Wilson | August 6, 2021

Discover the history of histology, from the first mention of a cell in 1665 to the identification and development of various stains.

An image of microscope objectives with a scientist's hands to represent common microscope objective abbreviations

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

By Martin Wilson | July 9, 2021

There are a large number of microscope objective abbreviations relating to optical aberrations; here we’ll shed some light on some of the most common ones to get you up to speed in no time!

Man holding a lens up to the light to represent lenses and objectives

How History Shaped Modern Optical Microscopes, Part Two: Corrected Lenses and Objectives

By Martin Wilson | April 13, 2021

Discover how chromatic and geometric imaging aberrations have been corrected over the last few centuries with the development of corrected lenses and objectives.

Vintage microscope to represnet the history of simple and compound microscopes

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

By Martin Wilson | April 1, 2021

Discover the history of simple and compound microscopes in this first of our two-part series on the history of microscopes.

Image of histology slides to represent tissue processing for histology

Tissue Processing For Histology: What Exactly Happens?

By Martin Wilson | November 10, 2020

Tissue processing for histology is a key step between fixation and embedding. We take you through the steps of tissue processing in this simple guide.

Microscope Finder Slides: Their History, Development, and Use

Microscope Finder Slides: Their History, Development, and Use

By Martin Wilson | April 3, 2019

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…

scientific cyber fraud

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

By Martin Wilson | January 9, 2017

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…

Microscope Cameras: From SLR to CMOS Devices

Microscope Cameras: From SLR to CMOS Devices

By Martin Wilson | August 3, 2016

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…

microscope condensers

Microscope Condensers: Don’t Forget Those Parts Underneath!

By Martin Wilson | July 9, 2016

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.

Just This Moment. Introducing the Science Behind Mindfulness and Meditation

Just This Moment. Introducing the Science Behind Mindfulness and Meditation

By Martin Wilson | July 9, 2016

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…

The Why and How of Oil Immersion Microscopy

The Why and How of Oil Immersion Microscopy

By Martin Wilson | March 31, 2015

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…

Vitamin H and Egg White: Streptavidin-Biotin for Immunohistochemistry

Vitamin H and Egg White: Streptavidin-Biotin for Immunohistochemistry

By Martin Wilson | January 6, 2015

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…

PIER, HIER and Mannich: Antigen Retrieval in Immunohistochemistry

PIER, HIER and Mannich: Antigen Retrieval in Immunohistochemistry

By Martin Wilson | December 16, 2014

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…

Looking good! A Guide to Adjusting and Maintaining Microscope Eyepieces

Looking good! A Guide to Adjusting and Maintaining Microscope Eyepieces

By Martin Wilson | September 23, 2014

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…

Taken for Granted: Position and Setup of Your Microscope

Taken for Granted: Position and Setup of Your Microscope

By Martin Wilson | September 21, 2014

Working at a microscope for long periods of time is a daily feature of many individuals, both those performing research and those undertaking point-of-care microscopy. And while 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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | August 12, 2014

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | March 25, 2014

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | March 11, 2014

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | February 18, 2014

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | February 4, 2014

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | December 3, 2013

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…

An image of colors to depict care for your pH meter.

Haematoxylin and Eosin 101: Part Two- Recipes and Materials

By Martin Wilson | November 12, 2013

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…

Haematoxylin And Eosin 101: Part One - Method And Tips

Haematoxylin And Eosin 101: Part One – Method And Tips

By Martin Wilson | November 5, 2013

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…

An image of colors to depict care for your pH meter.

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

By Martin Wilson | September 24, 2013

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…

An image of test tubes to depicts how to clean a water bath.

Five Tiny Microscopy Pleasures

By Martin Wilson | July 30, 2013

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…

Image of melted was representing some of the simple histology pleasures

Five Tiny Histology Pleasures

By Martin Wilson | June 25, 2013

Histology offers some simple yet fulfilling moments. Find out our top 5 simple histology pleasures and see if you agree!

10 Uses For An Old Microscope

By Martin Wilson | June 11, 2013

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…

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

By Martin Wilson | June 6, 2013

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…

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

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

By Martin Wilson | July 24, 2012

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…

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