Throughout her visit to the Anatomy Department laboratory at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, Dr. Aniko Szabo has offered the department the possibility of digitalizing their microscopic slides to be utilized for Virtual Microscopy teaching strategy. A memorandum of collaboration, dated May 16, 2017, requesting for partnership between Alfaisal University college of medicine represented by the Dean Prof. Khaled Alkattan and Sultan Qaboos University College of Medicine and Health Sciences, represented by the Dean Prof. Omar Awadh Al-Rawas, has been released, approved, and supported as a very important initiative between the two institutions.
Accordingly, on May 21, 2017, Dr. Szabo picked up 100 microscopic “home-made” glass slides created from scratch by Sultan Qaboos University, covering all normal histology tissues of all organ systems from the Department of Human and Clinical Anatomy. Oman has a very unique set of microscopic slides created with special stains that cannot be purchased anywhere. After digitalizing them in a meticulous process that took around one year to be completed, on March 18, 2018, Dr. Szabo delivered the digitalized slides stored in a USB. Following that, she held a workshop at Sultan Qaboos University, represented by Dr. Omar Habbal (Head of Department of Human and Clinical Anatomy) and the Dean Prof. Omar Al-Rawwas, on how to use the Olympus-OlyVIA Virtual Microscope.
Virtual microscopy involves digitizing microscope images, and posting them into an online network where they can be shared across the internet with a diverse group of people.
Microscopic slide sharing is the future and brings an abundance of benefits for all. Through this project, both parties are able to save money. Sultan Qaboos University was able to get scanned slides without a scanning microscope and we at Alfaisal were able to receive more slides without purchasing any. Now both universities hold the copyrights of these slides for education, research and publication. Dr. Aniko Szabo is in process of creating a digital microscopic slide library at Alfaisal University, and this collaboration was very important to obtain high quality microscopic slides for this project.
Alfaisal University admires this unique effort put by Dr. Szabo for making this project be live, and will continue to develop similar collaborations with medical schools both locally and internationally, always for better medical education practices.