Manual or automatic staining

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From:"Todd Walker" <>
To:"'HistoNet Server'" <>
Date:Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:25:16 +1000
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


Small quick question for my learned colleagues. I am revising the curriculum
for a subject I teach called Histotechniques. This subject teaches the
basics of histology and techniques used in processing, microtomy and

My question relates to staining techniques. The theory covers quite
comprehensively the theoretical aspects of staining principles however
during the practical sessions, we ask the students to manual stain using
coplin jars. Each student has their own set of stains and 'experiments'
getting the H&E stain right for sections they have cut.

As workers at the coal face / prospective employers / future teachers should
these students abandon their manual staining and revert to an automatic
alternative. Is automatic staining preparing them better for industry, after
all I do test their staining 'troubleshooting' in assignments and exams.

Before the howls, I might add that in support of some arguments on this
listserv, I too feel that not enough attention is given to histology at the
university level, and that many students 'hate' histology even before they
have completed their degree. I want to add more exciting things to my course
(special stains, immunostaining etc .. I'll leave this for later posts). So
is it better to move up to automatic staining, thereby using the students
limited time more efficiently to make room for more advanced material.

I would especially like to hear from Australian Histonetters.

Thanks in advance.

Todd L. Walker
Lecturer in Cytology / Histology
School of Biomedical Sciences
Charles Sturt University
PO Box 588
Wagga Wagga

Tel: 61 2 69332541
Fax: 61 2 69332587

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