ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
ACTIVITIES - RESEARCH

A one-day workshop on "Techniques and Applications of Transmission Electron Microscopy" was organized by the Department on 22nd August, 2014. This is the first of its kind in Chennai after more than 3 decades. There were lectures from eight eminent electron microscopists covering various aspects of EM including its varied biological applications followed by demonstrations. More than 70 research scholars and scientists participated in this workshop.


Tissue samples


  • Ultrastructural studies and role of EM in the differential diagnosis of lymphomas, poorly differentiated tumors, Malignant round cell tumors were studied and compared with IHC results. The studies showed that in conjunction with LM and IHC, the fine structural features can classify these types of tumors.

  • Comparison of ultrastructural changes in connective tissue of tobacco users - smokers and chewers: The physical state of collagen, overall fibroblastic response and inflammatory response in oral submucous samples from smokers and chewers were studied ultrastructurally.

  • Oral pigmentation in tobacco users - smokers and chewers: The difference in pigmentation in chronic smokers and chewers were studied ultrastructurally.

  • Ultrastructural studies on muscle degeneration in oral submucous fibrosis: Ultrastructural changes in different stages of restriction of mouth opening were studied using the electron microscope.

  • Cases of Kartegeners syndrome and Hermensky Pudlok syndrome were confirmed using the ultrastructural features in nasal mucosal biopsy and platelets respectively

  • Viral etiology of several human and animal tissue samples were also confirmed using this instrument.

  • Renal biopsy samples of various renal diseases from the Madras Medical Mission Hospital, Chennai are screened regularly for the ultrastructrual diagnosis.

  • Other samples:


  • Cultured cells, FNACs and Cell suspensions

  • Particulate specimens like Nanoparticles, pigments etc.

  • Suspended particles like viruses, sperms etc.

  • Processing Techniques

  • Paraffin embedded sections for use in electron microscopy: When fresh tissues are not available, formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections prepared for histopathology (light microscopy) can be used for EM. After removal of paraffin using xylene, the paraffin sections can be reprocessed for EM and the ultrastructural features utilized for diagnosis.

  • Use of plastic (resin) embedded semithin sections for light microscopy: The resin embedded blocks prepared for EM, can be used for LM also. Since these sections are thinner than the routine histopathological sections, they are useful for diagnosis.

  • Use of fine needle aspirates for EM: Fine needle aspirates can be used for EM studies in place of biopsy specimens. The aspirate is spinned and the sediment is treated like a piece of tissue and processed further for EM.

  • Plans for Future

  • To evaluate the application of rapid processing for early diagnosis

  • Immunoelectron microscopy

  • In-situ preparations of cultured monolayers for transmission electron microscopy

  • Cryoelectron microscopy

  • Elemental composition, particularly in metallosis

  • ACTIVITIES - EDUCATION

    Dr. Pushpa Viswanathan, Head of the department, is recognised as a research guide for PhD in the field of Oncology by the University of Madras, Chennai.


  • Awarded the Fellowship Title "FABMS" (Fellow of the Association of Biomedical Scientists) by the Indian Association of Biomedical Scientists .

  • Obtained the title PGDHM (Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital Management) after successfully completing the one year distance education course offered b y the Annamalai University, Chidambaram