Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. John Kiernan


Active Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., D.Sc. University of Birmingham
M.A. University of Cambridge
M.B., Ch.B University of Birmingham
B.Sc. University of Birmingham

Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext. 83014
Dr. Kiernan's Home Page

Research Interests:

My long-term research interests include cellular and vascular responses to injury in the nervous systems of vertebrate animals, the neuropathology of human motor neuron diseases, and the physical and chemical mechanisms of fixation and staining of tissues for subsequent microscopy. Recent work has been largely confined to the last of these fields. Since 2008 I have been the Secretary of the Biological Stain Commission (BSC), a non–profit organization that exists to ensure the quality of dyes through independent testing according to appropriately rigorous chemical and performance criteria, to promote cooperation and dialogue among manufacturers, vendors and users of dyes for histochemical applications, to educate users of biological stains about sources of reliable dyes, and to publish information concerning biological staining and related histochemical techniques. I maintain the BSC’s web site,

Selected Publications:

  1. Kiernan, J. A. 2015. Histological and Histochemical Methods: Theory and Practice. 5th edition. Banbury, UK: Scion Publishing. (ISBN 9781907904325).

  2. Kiernan, J. A. & Rajakumar, N. 2014.  Barr's The Human Nervous System: An Anatomical Viewpoint. 10th edition. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.  ISBN 9781451173277.

  3. Owen, M. A., Schauwers, W., Hugh-Jones, M. E., Kiernan, J. A., Turnbull, P. C. B. & Beyer, W. 2013. A simple, reliable M’Fadyean stain for visualizing the Bacillus anthracis capsule. Journal of Microbiology Methods 92: 264-269.

  4. Kiernan, J. A. 2012. Anatomy of the temporal lobe. Epilepsy Research and Treatment  Vol. 2012: Article ID 176157, 12 pages. 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/176157.

  5. Dapson, R. W., Fagan, C., Kiernan, J. A. & Wickersham, T. W. 2011. Certification procedures for sirius red F3B (CI 35780, Direct red 80). Biotechnic & Histochemistry 86: 133-139.

  6. Kumar, G. L. & Kiernan, J. A. (eds) 2010. Education Guide: Special Stains and H & E. 2nd ed. Carpinteria, CA: Dako North America. 300 pages. Printed hard cover book available on request from or download PDF files from either (whole book) or (individual chapters).

  7. Dapson, R., Horobin, R. W. & Kiernan, J. A. 2010. Hematoxylin shortages: their causes and duration, and other dyes that can replace hemalum in routine H & E staining. Biotechnic & Histochemistry 85: 55-63.

  8. Kiernan, J. A. 2009. Training and education in histotechnology and histochemistry for graduate students and research workers. Journal of Histotechnology 32: 115-118.

  9. Kiernan, J. A. 2009. A system for quantitative evaluation of morphological effects of fixatives for light microscopy, using paraffin sections of kidney and brain. Biotechnic & Histochemistry 84: 1-10.

  10. Kiernan, J. A. 2009. Barr's The Human Nervous System: An Anatomical Viewpoint. 9th edition. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 9780781782562.

  11. Kiernan, J. A. 2008. Histological and Histochemical Methods: Theory and Practice. 4th edition. Oxford: Scion Publishing. ISBN 978904842422.

  12. Dapson, R.W., Frank, M., Penney, D. P. and Kiernan, J. A. 2007. Revised procedures for the certification of carmine (CI 75470, Natural red 4) as a biological stain. Biotechnic & Histochemistry 82: 13-15.

  13. Frank, M., Dapson, R. W., Wickersham, T. W. and Kiernan, J. A. 2007. Certification procedures for nuclear fast red (Kernechtrot), C. I. 60760. Biotechnic and Histochemistry 82: 35-39.

  14. Kiernan, J. A. 2007. Indigogenic substrates for the detection and localization of enzymes. Biotechnic & Histochemistry 82: 73-103.

  15. Kiernan, J. A. 2007. Histochemistry of staining methods for normal and degenerating myelin in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Journal of Histotechnology30: 87-106.

  16. Kiernan, J. A. 2006. Dyes and other colorants in microtechnique and biomedical research. Coloration Technology 122: 1-21.