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Digital morphology network for effective teaching of cytology, histology and histopathology for medical and biology curriculum. VM3.0 Erasmus+ project

Cornelia Amalinei1, Andrei Daniel Timofte1, Irina Draga Caruntu1, Piotr M. Wierzbicki2, Michal A. Żmijewski2, Spiros Sirmakessis3, Jose L. Girela4, Noemí Martínez-Ruiz4, M. Flores Vizcaya-Moreno4, Rosa M. Pérez-Cañaveras4, Zdravka Harizanova5, Ferihan Popova5, Cintia Colibaba6, Zbigniew Kmieć2

Abstract

Introduction. Digital microscopy transformation, the basis for the virtual microscopy applications, is a challenge but also a requirement in modern Medical Education. This paper presents the scope, background, methods, and results of the project ”Digital Transformation of Histology and Histopathology by Virtual Microscopy (VM) for an Innovative Medical School Curriculum”, VM3.0, funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ framework (ref.no.2022-1-RO01-KA220-HED-000089017). The project was initiated at Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iași, Romania, with the support of Euroed Foundation, Iași, and cooperation of University partners from Gdansk (Poland), Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Alicante (Spain), and Patras (Greece) aimed to implement digital histology and histopathology teaching in a common network.

Materials and methods. The backbone of the project was the development of a Digital Slide Platform based on the scans of histological slides collected from all the partners of the participating universities and the creation of a simple and fast digital/internet communication tool that could be used to improve histology and histopathology teaching of medical and natural sciences students. The construction of a Virtual Microscopy Library (VML) has been based on the acquisition of whole scans of high-quality histological slides stained by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and other classical staining methods and description of the details in English as well as respective languages of the project’s partners. The VML can be used for different approches, both for students’ instruction in classes as well as for individual students’ work and self-testing. Universities from other countries could use the modal structure of the developed VML system on the condition that more slides are provided and the implementation of national language(s) is implemented.

Conclusions. The combined efforts of all university partners allowed to establish the dynamic low-cost virtual microscopy educational system. The VM system could help unify the standards of cytology, histology, and histopathology teaching in a quest for the digital transformation of the European educational system.

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