Nicola Parry

Articles by Nicola Parry:

Go For Gram! Staining Bacteria for Light Microscopy

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,…

09 Jul 2016 Microscopy and Imaging

A Beginner’s Guide to Haematoxylin and Eosin Staining

Once a tissue specimen has been processed by a histology lab, and transferred onto a glass slide, it needs to be appropriately stained for microscopic evaluation. This is because unstained tissue lacks contrast: all of the fixed materials have a similar refractive index and a similar color. If you viewed an unstained tissue section under…

09 Jul 2016 Microscopy and Imaging

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

What is Verhoeff-van Gieson’s stain? Ira Van Gieson first described the Verhoeff-van Gieson (VVG) staining protocol in 1889 as a method of evaluating collagen fibers in neural tissue. Frederick Herman Verhoeff, an American surgeon and pathologist, then modified the stain in 1908, as a method to differentiate collagen and other connective tissues, and highlight elastic…

15 Apr 2014 Microscopy and Imaging

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

What is Toluidine Blue? Toluidine blue (TB) is a polychromatic dye which can absorb different colours depending on how it binds chemically with various tissue components. It first emerged in 1856, courtesy of a British chemist called William Henry Perkin. Although he was working on the synthesis of quinine, Perkin instead produced a blue substance…

28 Jan 2014 Microscopy and Imaging

Special Stains for Histology: An Introduction and Basic Overview

Routine tissue staining Haematoxylin and eosin (or H&E- see our H&E 101 articles here and here) is the most commonly used stain in histology labs, representing the ‘bread and butter’ stain for most pathologists who diagnose disease, and for researchers who work with many tissue types. It highlights the detail in tissues and cells, using a…

14 Jan 2014 Microscopy and Imaging