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Nicola Parry

After graduating from veterinary school at the University of Liverpool, Dr Nicola Parry spent several years working in mixed general practice in the UK before moving to the USA to pursue residency training and board certification in Anatomic Pathology at the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). Her career has predominantly centered on academia, including serving as Chief of Pathology in the Division of Comparative Medicine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Head of Pathology at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. After almost 22 years working in the USA, Dr Parry returned to the UK in 2021 to join the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey.

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Articles by Nicola Parry

Image showsing some of the tools required for histology slide preparation

How Histology Slides are Prepared

By Nicola Parry | November 19, 2020

Ever wondered what magic happens to turn your samples into histology slides? Find out the 5 simple steps for histology slide preparation.

Go For Gram! Staining Bacteria for Light Microscopy

Go For Gram! Staining Bacteria for Light Microscopy

By Nicola Parry | July 9, 2016

The Gram stain is another commonly used special stain in the histology lab. Why use a Gram stain? The Gram stain is a type of differential staining technique which represents an important initial step in the characterization and classification of bacteria using a light microscope. It is named after a Danish scientist, Hans Christian Gram,…

Image of Haematoxylin and Eosin Staining

A Beginner’s Guide to Haematoxylin and Eosin Staining

By Nicola Parry | July 9, 2016

Discover what haematoxylin and eosin staining is used for and how it works in this concise guide to H&E staining.

Verhoeff-van Gieson Stain: A Special Histology Stain for Elastic Fibers

Verhoeff-van Gieson Stain: A Special Histology Stain for Elastic Fibers

By Nicola Parry | April 15, 2014

If you want to visualize elastic fibers in your sample, you need to use Verhoeff-van Gieson stain. Find out more about this stain, including how to use it.

Blue watercolor painting with bubbles mimicking toluidine blue stain

Toluidine Blue – A Histology Stain for Mast Cells (and Other Things!)

By Nicola Parry | January 28, 2014

Discover the magic of toluidine blue – a polychromatic dye that changes color depending on which tissue component it is staining.

Image of colorful stains highlighting the various special stains for histology

Special Stains for Histology: An Introduction and Basic Overview

By Nicola Parry | January 14, 2014

Get introduced to some of the special stains for histology and learn some top tips for getting great results.

Don’t See Red! Use Oil Red O- A Histological Stain For Fats And Lipids.

By Nicola Parry | May 21, 2013

What Does Oil Red O Stain? Oil Red O (‘ORO’) is used to demonstrate the presence of fat or lipids in fresh, frozen tissue sections. Introduced by French in 1926, ORO is a fat-soluble diazo dye, and is classified as one of the Sudan dyes which have been in use since the late 1800s. Like…

Image of an iron as a pun of how prussian blue detects iron in samples

Prussian Blue- A Histology Stain For Iron

By Nicola Parry | May 7, 2013

Want to detect iron in your samples? You need Prussian blue! Discover the incredible sensitivity of this stain and how to use it.

Image of a red powder to represent the color of congo red stain

Congo Red – A Special Stain For Alzheimer’s Disease

By Nicola Parry | March 26, 2013

Discover interesting facts about Congo red and it can help us understand Alzheimer’s disease.

Image of bacteria to represent how to detect bacteria with acid-fast stain

Acid Fast: A Histology Tool To Detect Bacteria and TB

By Nicola Parry | March 5, 2013

Acid-fast stain (AF) is a special staining technique used in the histology lab. Discover which bacteria this stain detects, the history behind it, and how it works.

Image of Fungi representing fungi detection with Gomori’s methenamine silver stain

How To Find Fungi In Your Histology Samples- Go For GMS!

By Nicola Parry | February 19, 2013

Gomori’s methenamine silver is a special histology stain for detecting fungi. Find out how and why you might want to use this stain in the lab.

Starry Starry Night? No, Warthin-Starry Stain!

By Nicola Parry | December 18, 2012

Continuing in our series, the Warthin-Starry (WS) stain is another type of special stain often in the histology lab to detect certain types of organisms. Why Use Warthin-Starry? Some Gram-negative organisms do not stain well by the Gram stain technique. These include spirochaetes (such as Helicobacter, Leptospira, Borrelia, and Treponema species), as well as small…

Image of a young man showing his back to highlight how periodic acid Schiff stains polysaccharides such as glycogen

Why Pick PAS for Histology?

By Nicola Parry | October 9, 2012

Periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) is a commonly used special stain in the histology lab. Find out more about what this stain detects and how to use it.

Microscopists: Have you Tried Trichrome?

By Nicola Parry | September 11, 2012

Have You Tried Trichrome? The trichrome stain is one of the most commonly used special stains in every histology lab. The pedantic meaning of the word trichrome is “three-coloured”, referring to how the technique differentially stains tissue samples in three colors. However, the term is now actually used to describe any staining method using two…

An Introduction to Special Stains

By Nicola Parry | August 7, 2012

It’s unclear exactly how the term ‘Special Stains’ first arose in the world of histology, but it refers to empirical and histochemical staining techniques that significantly contributed to the advancement of histology in the late 19th century. In a nutshell, these stains are ‘Special’ because they are not routine – simple as that. Therefore, Special…

The Poor Man’s Polariser...Got Shades?

The Poor Man’s Polariser…Got Shades?

By Nicola Parry | February 20, 2012

I recently introduced you to the concept of polarising microscopy. Naturally, if evaluating refractile material is an everyday part of your research, it is definitely worth investing in a professional polariser modification for your microscope. But if you only use a polariser occasionally, this might not be the best use of your lab’s money. In…

What You Ought To Know About Polarising Light Microscopy

What You Ought To Know About Polarising Light Microscopy

By Nicola Parry | February 8, 2012

Polarising microscopy involves the use of polarised light to investigate the optical properties of various specimens. Although originally used predominantly in the field of geology, it has recently become more widely used in medical and biological research fields too. Polarising light microscopy is a contrast-enhancing technique to allow you to evaluate the composition and three-dimensional…

How Köhler Illumination Can Help You See The Light

How Köhler Illumination Can Help You See The Light

By Nicola Parry | December 5, 2011

Although the microscope is probably the most commonly used biological instrument, it is frequently used improperly. The rate-limiting step to getting high quality microscopic images is illumination of your specimen. When you examine a specimen under the microscope, the intensity and distribution of light must be clear and equal to enable you to evaluate all…

What Everybody Ought to Know About the Light Microscope

What Everybody Ought to Know About the Light Microscope

By Nicola Parry | November 16, 2011

If you’re starting your PhD or post-doctoral work, chances are you’ll need to use a light microscope at some stage during your research. Some of you may be seasoned microscopists. For many of you though, this might be the first time you’ve ever plugged in a microscope, or at least the first time you’ve used…

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