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MELS305 Elements of Histotechnology

An introduction to the theory and practice of histotechnology, cytology and diagnostic electron microscopy.

Histology is the microscopic study of normal tissue. Histopathology is the discipline concerned with producing accurate diagnostic information from patient tissue samples. Diseases such as infection, inflammation and cancer are recognised by typical microscopic changes in tissues. Histotechnique is the technical procedure used to preserve cells and tissue as close as possible to their living state so that they can be visualised under a microscope. The study of structure, function and chemistry of cells is known as Cytology. It is a branch of biology that deals directly with the structural and functional organisation of cells. Cytopathology studies the microscopic appearance of cells, especially for the diagnosis of abnormalities and malignancies.

Paper title Elements of Histotechnology
Paper code MELS305
Subject Medical Laboratory Science
EFTS 0.125
Points 15 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,099.50
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
Passed all second-year Medical Laboratory Science papers.

Teaching staff

Paper Convener: Dr Tania Slatter
Amanda Fisher
Paul Spek

Paper Structure
Lectures and practicals address the following issues:
  • Fixation and preservation of tissue
  • Tissue processing and microtomy
  • H&E and special staining to identify specific tissue components
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy
  • In-situ hybridisation of tissue slides
  • Electron microscopy
  • Examination of gynaecological, urinary tract, respiratory tract and body cavity cell preparations
  • Liquid-based cytology
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and practical laboratories.

Required: Histotechnology: A Self-Instructional Text. Authors: Carson, F.L. & Hladik, C.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successsfully complete this paper will:

  • Understand processing of tissue
  • Understand and practise staining of tissue to achieve diagnosis
  • Understand molecular histological methods used on tissue

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 12, 22
Monday 09:00-10:50 9-11, 13-14, 16-21
Monday 10:00-10:50 22
Tuesday 09:00-10:50 16
Thursday 09:00-09:50 12-14, 16
Thursday 10:00-10:50 11, 16


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
B1 Monday 13:00-16:50 9-14, 16-21
B2 Wednesday 13:00-16:50 9-14, 16-21
B3 Thursday 13:00-16:50 9-14, 16-21


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 09:00-10:50 11, 16-22