Prof. Richard Levenson

Richard Levenson, MD, FCAP, is Professor and Vice Chair for Strategic Technologies, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UC Davis, where he develops novel imaging technologies for pathology.

Prof. Levenson received his MD at University of Michigan and pathology training at Washington University, becoming Board-certified in Anatomic Pathology. A faculty position at Duke was followed by appointment at Carnegie Mellon University. He subsequently joined Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (now part of PerkinElmer), becoming VP of Research, before returning to academia.

Prof. Levenson has helped develop multispectral microscopy systems and software for molecular pathology and diagnostics, multispectral and three-dimensional small-animal imaging systems, optical dynamic contrast techniques, orientation-independent birefringence microscopy, and multiplexed ion-beam imaging. He serves on multiple review panels, is section editor for Archives of Pathology and on the editorial board of Laboratory Investigation. Regrettably, he also successfully taught pigeons histopathology and radiology. He is co-founder and interim CEO of MUSE Microscopy, Inc.

Title: “Path, Present & Future. Novel Microscopies, Novel Insights”


How microscopes work in actual clinical pathology has not really changed in well over a century. Recently, however, a number of new approaches that can bypass the need to create microscope slides are beginning to emerge, and some may eventually find their way into the mainstream. Two will be described in detail: Microscopy with Ultraviolet Surface Excitation (MUSE), and a SCICam, an approach for obtaining additional information from standard H&E-stained slides.

(1) MUSE is a rapid non-destructive approach for obtaining high-resolution, diagnostic-quality histological images from unsectioned thick tissue specimens. Although conventional histology requires extensive tissue processing and thin physical sectioning, this requirement can be circumvented if optically sectioned images can be acquired free from the blur contributed by out-of-focus regions. with MUSE, micron-deep images of the specimen surface (which can be arbitrarily large in extent) are generated with 280-nm UV excitation from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) after the sample has been briefly (seconds) exposed to common fluorescent stains. The resulting high-resolution images can be captured using ordinary microscope optics and standard color cameras. The multicolor results have novel contrast but are also convertible in real-time to faithfully resemble conventional hematoxylin- and eosin-staining. This can be accomplished using simple math or with artificial intelligence (AI)-based methods, which work well if applied with caution. In addition, novel en-face images and extension into 3-dimensions represent promising avenues.

(2) PhasorCam is new microscopy technique for extracting special-stain-like information from standard, H&E-stained slides, potentially replacing trichrome, PAS, elastin stains, and which is compatible with frozen-section specimens.  It is fast, inexpensive, non-destructive and appropriate for use with archival slides, enabling retrospective studies for correlation with long-term clinical outcomes.

Major developments in pathology raise many questions. Be part of the discussion on the way forward.

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