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Introduction to Basic Human Body Tissues (1557)


Course schedule: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., all three days

This three-day course, taught by Dr. Lynne Herold, will introduce the seven basic human body tissues: bone, cartilage, muscle, epithelium, connective tissue, nerve and blood. The instructional methods will include lectures, viewing of prepared and unprepared slides of body tissues, and individual hands-on laboratory exercises that will introduce students to the simple preparations and observations of body tissue at macroscopical and microscopical levels.

Criminal or civil forensic science practitioners, accident reconstructionists, food and other contamination analysts, wildlife biologists and art/archaeological artifact examiners will benefit from this course. The human body tissue identification skills learned in this course also apply to much of the animal kingdom and other sciences and these analysts may need to identify and/or distinguish chips of animal and human hard tissues such as bone, teeth or horn.

This course was developed to bridge the gap between the traditional trace evidence examinations and DNA analysis. Identification of basic human body tissues, either as trace materials or as the corollary data with DNA analysis, is an often unattained piece of information that could be significant in many instances. While DNA can identify the person from whom a sample came, it cannot determine from where in the body the sample originated. Identifying the type of tissue and its location in the human body can help develop investigative leads and assist in crime-scene reconstruction.

An extensive biological sciences background is not required, as foundational information will be provided during the course. Students should know how to use a stereomicroscope and a basic compound light microscope.

Lynne Herold has a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and a B.S. from Kent State University, both degrees in biological sciences. Herold was a forensic scientist with Los Angeles County (California) from 1982 to 2014, assigned to the Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner‘Coroner Department Laboratory Division from 1982 to 1989, and subsequently with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services Bureau from 1989 to 2014. In addition to her biological sciences background, she has always practiced traditional trace evidence analyses, including the sub‘disciplines of physical matches, hairs, fibers, paint, polymers, impressions, general unknowns, arson, explosives and gunshot primer residues. Herold is an active member of the California Association of Criminalists (CAC), and was a member of the Scientific Working Group for Materials Analysis (SWGMAT) member from 1995 through 2012.

There is no prerequisite for this course.

Day 1
• Overview of the biological world, hierarchy of the body systems and conceptual construction
• Case studies to illustrate the potential significance of obtaining tissue identifications
• Presentation of the seven basic animal tissues types and the subtypes of each at the microscopical level
Laboratory exercises:
• Basic staining and preparation techniques with various biological samples
• Examine various live biological materials (stained and unstained) to acquire observational skills for comparative size, color, texture, orientation, structural features of identification or exclusion
• Make blood smears and begin learning to recognize the seven basic tissue types and sub-types of each using prepared histological slides
• Macroscopically examine the tissues and subtypes as covered in the lecture on animal samples

Day 2
• Organize tissues into organs, particularly the organ skin
• Review the basic animal organs and tissues that compose them, particularly those available for the laboratory exercises
Laboratory exercises:
• Examine prepared slides for tissue types and sub-types continued
• Examine macroscopical organs and microscopical skin
• Section and stain tissue samples from gross samples
• Prepare and examine typical casework-sized samples

Day 3
• Sample processing and sample preservation guidelines
• Report writing guidelines
• Review resources and recommendations
• Review other material by request
Laboratory exercises:
• Complete or review prepared slide samples
• Complete wet sample preparations and examinations
• Compare previously viewed prepared slides
• Prepare, examine and identify unknowns