**This post was inspired by the other LV's that followed their hosts to work! I think it is so interesting to see what everyone does.
I brought Poundcake along to work one day to show him what I do. I am a histotechnician at the vet college for Michigan State University. Basically, I receive tissue samples that I make into slides for a pathologist to look at and determine what the animal maybe suffering from or has died of.
We obtain the tissue in a formaldehyde solution to preserve it. The tissue gets trimmed down to a small section and gets processed so that we can embed it into wax.
*No worries, Poundcake is safe. We do not have any biological hazards in our lab so the tissue is non-infectious and 'clean'.
1) Tissue in cassettes sitting in a bath of paraffin wax waiting to be embedded. (This embedding machine is ancient. We call it the Starship Enterprise because of it's shape.)
2) Open cassette with tissue.
3) Embedded tissue cooling on cold plate. We will pop these out of the metal molds and prepare them to cut.
Once in wax we can cut it into very thin slices and affix them to a slide. To do this we need a special machine called a microtome. It can cut very thin sections so that when a pathologist looks under the scope he can see the tissue at about the thickness of a cell.
1) The tissue cassette (now called a block) is securely placed here.
2) The bar is rotated forward moving the block holder up and down to shave off a section of tissue. Think roast beef slice, in a sense.
3) The knife is held here. It's a very sharp disposable razor blade.
The tissue is set to float on a water bath and picked up on a slide. The slide is stained with special stains and sent to the pathologist for review. They are also used as teaching for the students at the veterinary collage.
Poundcake was pretty helpful. He may have nodded off a bit once or twice but what can you expect, he is used to taking a nap mid-day!