New Building Move Requiring Equipment Changes

Microscope Lab

Less storage space in the new dental school building, combined with state-of-the-art technology throughout the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building where the dental school will be located, means significant changes to basic science lab equipment and, subsequently, profound changes to how courses will be taught. This month, for example, new software was unveiled in the first-year general histology lab that offer a glimpse into how image-based courses like histology, pathology, and even aspects of anatomy, microbiology, and radiology will be taught in the fall of 2014 when the dental school moves to its new location on South Waterfront.

"We don't have room in the new teaching space for 75-plus microscopes and all the microscopic slides needed," said Michael Danilchik, Ph.D., professor of integrative biosciences. "Since the new building will be entirely wired for high-speed Internet, we purchased software that will enable students to view scans of our slides directly from their personal computer." 

In November, the basic scientists who rely on conventional microscopes for teaching—Dr. Danilchik, David Morton, Ph.D., associate dean for research and professor of integrative biosciences; Karla Kent, Ph.D., professor of integrative biosciences; Jeffery Stewart, D.D.S., associate professor of pathology; and Jim Kratochvil, D.D.S., assistant professor and chair of pathology and radiology—asked Interim Dean Gary Chiodo, D.M.D. `78, F.A.C.D., for funds to connect room 520 to the Student Learning Center's high-speed server. A digital slide and multimedia management system, Digital SlideBox, was purchased that will enable students to log in via their personal computer to view scans of what is being taught. The software enables students to zoom in on various features, annotate, and email questions about what they're seeing.

"For teaching, this will be a gold mine," said Dr. Danilchik. "Eventually, we'll be able to conduct exams using the program." He noted that the machines used to scan slides in high quality have only advanced recently enough to make the switch worthwhile. A consortium of units across the OHSU Marquam Hill campus, including the Knight Cancer Institute, the SOM pathology department, as well as the basic science teaching missions in the SOM and SOD, organized to purchase a slide scanner and high-speed image-distributing infrastructure. So, early in December, the week before finals, Digital SlideBox was introduced to first-year dental students in the general histology lab.

"I really like it," said first-year dental student Kevin Berg, who says looking through microscopes sometimes gives him a headache and is a strain on the eyes. "We can work together to look at the images on the computer at the same time and bounce ideas off each other."

Dr. Danilchik said he's appreciative that both students and faculty will get a taste of the system before the move. "We didn't want to go into a fresh space using a new system cold, so it's great that we're getting a chance to see it in action before we move. It's also great that Dr. Chiodo gave us the opportunity to retrofit this old building to help us with this transition."