Anatomy Department donates Histology slides

The Department of Anatomy has been responsible for teaching histology to medical students since the inception of the UCSF School of Medicine. Over the years, we have prepared a very large collection of glass microscope slides, which are primarily of human tissues. Generations of our medical students have benefited from this collection, which is renowned for its quality and comprehensiveness (217 different specimens).

Due to the adoption of virtual microscopy as the major tool for laboratory teaching, microscopes are no longer emphasized in our histology labs. Our Department therefore decided to donate a major part of our collection to teaching institutions, which would make the best use of them for health sciences education. Steven Rosen (Professor Emeritus of Anatomy) and Maggie Millett (MSO of the Department) have been responsible for this project.

The availability of the slides was announced to the American Association of Anatomists membership through a post by Kimberly Topp (Professor of Anatomy and President of AAA). There was an immediate and very large response from institutions in the US and Canada. Over the past 4 months, Maggie Millet has taken on the enormous task of organizing the slides into sets and arranging for shipping. In total, we have now donated over 10,000 slides to 29 colleges (mostly 2-year 4-year institutions) and 1 SF high school. We have received many genuine expressions of gratitude from the recipients.

Two examples follow:

Dear Steve,

We now have the slide collections which you donated to us on behalf of UCSF. Thanks to Maggie and Justin, the transfer was made between our institutions.

Thank you again for thinking of us and entrusting us with a part of your marvelous collection, which can neither be bought nor duplicated. Again, I express my appreciation for this generous gift and what it will provide to our students’ education in histology. 

Best regards,


Jennifer Breckler, PhD Professor, Department of Biology San Francisco State University


I wanted to let you know that the slide boxes arrived today. I just opened the first one: oh, my, what a treasure trove! I wish I could drop all my other chores for a few weeks and just immerse myself in looking at these beautiful slides - honestly, just in the few I’ve looked at so far, some are more beautiful than any slides  I’ve seen in over 30 years of teaching Histo.  Thank you for such a wonderful gift: it  will give me (and my students, I hope!) a wealth of  wonderful learning and viewing  experiences for many years to  come. …

Truly, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Thanks again! Nina Nina Zanetti, Professor of Biology Siena College Loudonville, NY