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Laboratory of Forensic Histopathology and Microbiology  

Scientific Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Riccardo Zoja, Full Professor of Legal and Insurance Medicine

Laboratory Supervisor: Dr. Guendalina Gentile, Biologist

Co-workers: Dr. Salvatore Andreola, Specialist in Legal and Insurance Medicine, Specialist in Pathology, Histopathology and Laboratory Techniques

Graduate and Specialty Students, and Passionate Specialists 


The Laboratory of Forensic Histopathology and Microbiology of the Milan University works in hundreds of cases within the competence of Italian and Lombard Judicial Offices. Its activity is focused on macroscopic/microscopic studies, applied to forensic pathology, in an area where autopsies exceed one thousand units per year.

Over 5000 histological slides from autoptic tissues are yearly prepared. Slides are often examined in optical microscopy (polarization and immersion), and in some cases electron microscopy (scanning and transmission) and/or immunohistochemistry are used too.

This activity gives an important contribution in judicial cases regarding the full area of competence (homicide, suicide, traffic or work injuries) as well as in the field of Health Professional Liability.

Nevertheless the activity of this Laboratory deals with thanatochronology and vitality of injuries for the wide application in Forensic Medicine.

This Laboratory represents a noteworthy tool for general and specialistic medical training and it is a centre of exercise for the official courses of the Schools of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Biology. This Laboratory receives students and undergraduates of these Schools for the strengthening of their knowledge. It is a studying centre for graduates, PhDs and residents of the School of Legal and Insurance Medicine. Lessons, seminars and refresher courses of forensics techniques take place with qualified personnel so as to support the education of medical technicians in the dissecting room.


Research Lines

Revelation and interaction studies of inorganic materials with human tissues/decayed material (gun shot residues, hanging rope neck traces) for differential-diagnostic purposes.

Studies on bone tissue modifications in presence of metallic prosthesis and fixation devices.

Studies on the persistence of exogenous poisons even after the acute phase and on the possible differential diagnosis of deposited materials on the skin in case of traumatic-contusion injury.

Use of rehydration solutions for histological evaluation of human skin samples in an advanced state of post-mortal transformation (mummified bodies and in case of corification), histo-morphological analysis and study of respiratory complications as a diagnostic proof of acute death by drugs of abuse poisoning.


Recent/Relevant Pubblications

  1. Mobilia F, Andreola S, Gentile G, Palazzo E, Rancati A, Zoja R. Lethal Bochdalek hernia in a three-year-old: pathological findings and medicolegal investigation in accusation of malpractice. Med Sci Law. 2013;53(1):51-4.
  2. Gentile G, Clerici C, De Micheli A, Merzagora I, Palazzo E, Rancati A, Veneroni L, Zoja R. Analysis of 16 years of homicides and suicides involving the use of weapons recorded at the Milan Medicolegal Bureau. J Interpers Violence. 2013;28(2):386-415.
  3. Casali MB, Lazzaro A, Gentile G, Blandino A, Ronchi E, Zoja R. Forensic grading of myocarditis: an experimental contribution to the distinction between lethal myocarditis and incidental myocarditis. Forensic Sci Int. 2012 30;223(1-3):78-86.
  4. Palazzo E, Andreola S, Battistini A, Gentile G, Zoja R. Release of metals from osteosynthesis implants as a method for identification: post-autopsy histopathological and ultrastructural forensic study. Int J Legal Med. 2011;125(1):21-6.
  5. Zoja R, Gentile G, Giovanetti GF, Palazzo E. Death by complete decapitation of motorcyclist wearing full face helmet: case report. Forensic Sci Int. 2011 15;207(1-3):e48-50.



Prof. Dr. Riccardo Zoja, MD, PhD, tel. 02-50315685  e-mail: riccardo.zoia@unimi.it

Dr. Guendalina Gentile, Bsc  tel. 02-50315720  e-mail: guendalina.gentile@unimi.it

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