Five years of experience teaching pathology to dental students using the WebMicroscope
Virtual microscopy encompasses the high-resolution scanning of tissue slides and cell preparation and derived technologies including automatic digitalization and computational processing of whole microscopic slides, cytological preparations and tissue arrays, and web-based easy accessibility and analyses. For the first time, it enables highthroughput imaging and quantitative measurements of tissue structures. By integrating mass tissue data and derived analyses, virtual microscopy creates novel synergies between technological disciplines such as pathology/ histology, bioinformatics, medical informatics, image analysis, as well as cell and molecular biology. These technical synergies may pave the way for new structures in research, clinical diagnostics, education, and training and fundamentally support newly arising disciplines like medical systems biology. The 1st European Workshop on Tissue Imaging and Analysis, held in Heidelberg on 13th and 14th February 2009 intended to provide a discussion forum for multiple disciplines related to virtual microscopy, like pathology, systems biology and pathology, computer-assisted highthroughput diagnostics, cell-based cancer diagnostics, bioinformatics and image processing, and the scientific exchange of key players in the field. Over 140 participants from 10 European countries as well as USA and Japan took part in the meeting.