FORENSIC CYTOLOGY AND HISTOLOGY

FORENSIC CYTOLOGY AND HISTOLOGY

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iten
Last update 09/05/2021 11:13
Code
104225
ACADEMIC YEAR
2021/2022
CREDITS
6 credits during the 1st year of 11158 APPLIED AND EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY (LM-6) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
BIO/06
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (APPLIED AND EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The Module regards the knowledge of histology of some tissues, body fluids and methods to analyze them, especially in a forensic framework. The histological analysis together with molecular studies represent the laboratory approach to the detection and identification of different forensic biological samples.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The forensic cytology and histology focus on body fluids and tissues of interest in forensic science including blood, menstrual blood, semen, vaginal material, saliva, skin and their derivates (hairs and nails). The course aims to provide key competences on presumptive and confirmatory tests used in the identification of the body fluids. The structure and organization of hairs, scales, teeth from different species but with special focus on human, as well as the histology of bone tissue and of forensically relevant soft tissues, will be illustrated. The students will be able to acquire the main cytodiagnostic techniques (immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, light and electron microscopy, etc.) that can be used to identify the various types of physical injuries or trauma. Some case reports and in-depth analysis on specific topics (e.g. neurotraumatology and forensic aspects of fetal deaths) will be also reported. The course is intended to endow the student with useful knowledge and methods in the event reconstruction in investigations and in providing microscopic confirmation of macroscopic findings, facilitating a more comprehensive reporting. The approach of the course will allow the student to apply the knowledge to a wide range of forensic cases, from violent crime to fraud.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Attending lessons and individual study will allow the student to:

  1. describe, deeply and with appropriate language, the histological features of a selection of tissues of forensic interest, mostly from human, comparing them with those of other animals.
  2. describe, deeply and with appropriate language, the microscopic features of body fluids, mostly from human, comparing them with those of other animals.
  3. illustrate histological indicators of tissue degradation, physical injuries and alteration due to interaction with chemical substances, in different animal tissues and specifically in human.
  4. describe the main methods for identifying and characterizing tissues and body fluids found in the environment.
  5. provide examples of the applying of histological investigation in cases of study in the forensic field.

PREREQUISITES

Knowledge in basic cytology, histology, microscopy, and histological techniques. 

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures and seminar activities organized by the students

 

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Theory of histological techniques, of in situ hybridization, of samples preparation for light, fluorescence and electron microscopy. 

Histological assessment of cellular and tissue changes in postmortem samples.

Skin and muscle tissue: general features of epidermis, derma, hypoderm, skeletal muscle tissue, histology of hematoma and different types of traumatic damages.

Skin annexes: hair and hair follicle structure. Microscopic evaluation of hair degradation. Identification of hair from different mammalian species. Other skin annexes: elements of nails and claws, feathers, and scales of vertebrates.

Body fluids: cytohistologic features of body fluids of forensic interest such as blood, menstrual blood, sperm, saliva, vaginal fluids and cells, waste products (urine and fecal material) from human and other animal species. Presumptive tests based on chemical and enzymatic assays, confirmatory tests based on microscopy and immunology to identify body fluids. Description of the most up-to-date technologies used to identify body fluids such as: mRNA and microRNA analysis, epigenetic approaches, biosensors, immunochromatographic methods (ELISA) and of immunoprecipitation, cytofluorimetry and proteomic. Tests for the identification of body fluids on different environmental surfaces. Species determination using body fluids. Characterization of microbial communities in order to identify body fluids and their gender and age.

Changes in cell and tissue morphology after exposure to different environmental agents or toxic substances such as ethanol, cocaine, drugs and others.

Fetus analysis in murder, infanticide, and in provoked abortion: histological and embryological developmental features of organs and tissues in order to understand the cause and age of fetal death. Intrauterine or postpartum death.

For each topic, cases of study will be illustrated.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Slides of the lessons, scientific articles and other teaching material will be provided on Aulaweb

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: The students are able to book an appointment by phone, by mail or by aulaweb

Ricevimento: Students can book appointments with the professor

Ricevimento: The reception of the students will be agreed by e-mail : tiziana.bachetti@unige.it

LESSONS

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures and seminar activities organized by the students

 

LESSONS START

The lessons timetable and academic calendar will be available on the dedicated website

EXAMS

Exam description

Oral assessment + presentation of a case of study. Three exam dates will be available in the winter session (January-February) and four in the summer session (June, July, September).  

Assessment methods

The oral exam regards the topics seen during the lessons. Questions can be posed verbally or by asking to describe histologic and microscopic photographs. The ability of the student in indicating the most suitable methods to analyze different samples of forensic interest will be also evaluated. Furthermore, the use of correct terminology will be considered.

The level of detail required for each topic is clarified during the lessons.

The preparation and presentation of a case of study are requested in order to evaluate the interpretive ability of the student regarding the scientific literature regarding the exam topic.