After reading all of histology expert René J. Buesa’s publications, I was curious to know more about him. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to ask him so many questions, and appreciate all the time he spent answering them. Below is a portion of our interview about his preferences in the histology lab and his hobbies outside the lab. I hope you enjoy the last post in this series!
What was your favorite laboratory task as a histotech?
Doing special stains and being able to troubleshoot processing problems to obtain the correct color and chemical reaction in the tissues being stained.
Are there any tasks that you don’t like?
Not really, because each has intrinsic importance and needs to be done accurately. But if I have to select one, it would be inventory.
What is the most unique or interesting tissue you’ve ever cut?
Serial sections of embryology material all at exactly the same thickness (10 µm) to prepare a Maziarski’s wax three dimensional model.
What is the most difficult tissue to cut?
Tissues that are difficult to cut are the result of improper infiltration. The problem arises with the turnaround time (TAT) imperatives requiring the shortest TAT possible. Designing protocols with only TAT in mind ALWAYS produces poor infiltration in some tissues types “Modern histology” (meaning “ASAP histology”), is pressed by money imperatives determined by insurance companies and their reimbursement rates to hospitals and pathologists. These protocols dictate that histology is done on schedules that are not based on the time required for a perfect infiltration, but on how fast the diagnosis can be made. They ignore the fact that the diagnosis itself can be compromised by a deficient protocol. Any tissue processor now operates with processing programs that will be applied to all tissues in it, in a “one program fits all” approach which is undesirable at best.
Any tissue correctly infiltrated will cut well. but with this “ASAP approach” decalcified bone, tendons, toe nails, breast, uterus, and lymph nodes will have their quality compromised. Each one of these tissues, when processed improperly, will require some “special” treatment (a “trick of the trade”) when they are sectioned. Referring to my work in particular, arthropods (because of the chitin) and some plant tissues (because of the lignin) are difficult to infiltrate and hence difficult to section.
What is your favorite tissue type to cut?
A perfectly infiltrated lymph node because it allows the thinnest of sections.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are photography, reading, and traveling (whenever I can!) and attending classical music concerts. The photomicrographs in the article you said you liked were all taken by me at home.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Read, take photographs, and write. I am always writing and either processing data or preparing a draft for something I think is worth publishing. I also watch TV (Public Television mostly because I really dislike commercial interruptions!).
Thank you so much, Rene! It’s been such a pleasure to learn more about histology from you! You can find all previous posts about my interview with René by clicking here.