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Robert Porteous

Histology is the study of microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues. Histology services prepare samples for analysis using a variety of techniques for subsequent examination.

The Otago Histology Services Unit is a specialty facility housed in the Department of Pathology in the University of Otago. The unit provides a well-equipped laboratory for performing histological analysis for diagnostic and research purposes, as well as staff with the necessary expertise to offer advice and guidance on histology and cytological techniques.
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Whether you would like advice on your research project, or independent use of our facilities, we are here to help.

Initial advice and consultation

Contact for initial advice and consultation:

For advice on the latest academic advances contact:
Associate Professor Tania Slatter
Academic Leader, Histology

Booking our services

New users must fill out an online registration form, and then fill out a work request form for each new request.

There are separate registration forms for University of Otago staff/students, and for users who do not belong to the University (external users):

Online registration form for University of Otago users

Online registration form for external users

Registered users must then bring a completed work request form with your samples:

OMNI Histology work request form (PDF)

For advice on services and costs, contact:

Tel +64 3 479 7152  

Services and techniques

We are happy to discuss your potential project and provide advice and assistance on:

  • Collection of tissue and specimens
  • Storage and processing
  • Strengths and limitations of different histological experimental approaches

We can carry out the 'wet lab' aspects of your project and perform processing, tissue embedding, sectioning, and routine and specialised staining.

With our specialised equipment and expert team of scientists and technicians, we have the flexibility to tailor our histology techniques to suit any research project.

We offer:

  • Advice on fixative use
  • Decalcification
  • Frozen sectioning
  • Histological supplies
  • Histological training and advice
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microtomy and cryostat training
  • Opal multiplex fluorescent immunohistochemistry
  • RNAScope
  • Routine and specialist staining
  • Slide scanning
  • Wax processing and sectioning



If you have previous experience and would prefer independent use of our facilities, we can offer training:

OMNI equipment use policy (PDF)

Aperio Imaging Systems

The unit has two slide scanners.

  • The Aperio CS2 (Aperio) Digital Slide Scanning System provides whole slide imaging with 20x and 40x magnification capabilities in brightfield. This is newly installed and replaces our previous CS scanner. The Aperio is available to trained users and can be booked online once training is complete
  • The Aperio Versa 8 (Versa) digital slide scanning system provides whole slide scanning at up to 40x dry and 63x oil magnification in brightfield as well as up to 10 colours in fluorescence. Currently we have filter cubes for the following:
    DAPI/350, Cy5/640, Gold/546, Red/580 and Green#2/485 (avoids Gold crossover)

    The Versa is not available for users to use themselves, but unit staff will be happy to scan your slides for you.

Automatic Immunostainer

The Bond RxM is an open-system immunostainer designed specifically for research. Capabilities include chromogenic and fluorescent immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridisation and RNA view. All reagents can be provided, with the option of providing your own antibodies. Optimisation of antibodies is available. Slides specifically designed for immunohistochemistry are also provided.

Automatic Staining

If you have large quantities of slides for staining, we have an automatic staining machine capable of staining up to sixty slides at a time, as well as being able to accommodate specific staining protocols if required.


Our cryostat is a Thermo Fisher Microm HM525 Research Crysostat. With this piece of equipment, sections can be cut from any frozen tissue. A disposable blade holder is used, blades, slides and OCT are available if required.


Once your tissue is processed to wax, it can be embedded in any orientation you require using our Arcadia Embedding Machine.


The Unit has five rotary microtomes. Two are kept available specifically for our clients' use. All consumables and associated equipment are provided.

Register for training

If you have previous experience and would prefer independent use of our facilities, we can offer training on different techniques and the use of equipment such as:

  • Immunohistochemistry (double-staining; fluorescent or chromogenic)
  • In-situ hybridisation (fluorescent or chromogenic) resin embedding and cutting
  • Microtomy and cryostat training
  • Routine and specialised staining
  • Slide scanning


User Group

The User Group consists of members that represent University of Otago departments that use the Histology unit and it advises the OMNI Academic Advisory Group on direction and strategy.

Visit About us for information about how our user groups work and how to make contact.

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