Digitising pathology teaching

Assoc Prof Nga (seated) with National University Health System Pathology residents (from left) Dr Gideon Tan, Dr Nicholas Tan, Dr Gwyneth Soon, Darren Chua (Medicine ’21) and Dr Tan Hui Min

Students learning pathology at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will benefit from a new initiative that sees preserved specimens of human organs and tissue being digitised and uploaded for personalised learning opportunities, leaving behind the days where students waited their turn to view the specimens in class or borrow them for self-study.

In a “labour of love” that began over six years ago, Associate Professor Nga Min En and her colleagues at the School’s Department of Pathology painstakingly digitised more than 700 specimens, and made more than 250 of these available online to medical students. The carefully orchestrated process involved taking a total of 24 photographs of each specimen from multiple angles, editing the images and combining them into a single file to produce a clear 360-degree view of the diseased body part in its container, which can be viewed alongside microscopic images to help students better understand the morphology of the disease. Assoc Prof Nga hopes to digitise a further 1,000 specimens by the end of 2019 and will continue to do so until all of the Department’s more than 5,000 specimens have been digitised.   

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