Dr. John A. 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

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, connective tissue mast cells, 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, https://biologicalstaincommission.org 

Selected Publications:

  1. Ali, S., Dapson, R. W., Kiernan, J. A., Horobin, R. W. & Kazlaunicias, A. 2022. At least four distinct blue cationic phthalocyanine dyes are sold as “alcian blue”. So, what is alcian blue? Biotechnic & Histochemistry 97(1): 11-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/10520295.2021.2018497

  2. Fagan, C. & Kiernan, J. A. 2020. Certification procedures used by the Biological Stain Commission for eriochrome cyanine R (C.I. 43820, Mordant blue 3). Biotechnic & Histochemistry 95(5): 396-402. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10520295.2020.1748229

  3. Fagan, C., Dapson, R. W., Horobin, R. W. & Kiernan, J. A. 2020. Revised tests and standards for certification of alcian blue dyes by the Biological Stain Commission.  Biotechnic & Histochemistry  95 (5): 333-340. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10520295.2019.1699163

  4. Dunmore-Buyze, P. J., Cruje, C., Nong, Z., Lee, J., Kiernan, J. A., Pickering, J. G. & Drangova, M. 2019. 3D vessel-wall virtual histology of whole-body perfused mice using a novel heavy element stain. Scientific Reports 9 (1): Article number 698. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-36905-z

  5. Dapson, R. W., Horobin, R. W., Kiernan, J. A. 2019. Glossary of staining methods, reagents, immunostaining, terminology and eponyms. Biological Stain Commission, Inc. https://biologicalstaincommission.org/bscglossary.html

  6. Kiernan, J. A. 2018. Does progressive nuclear staining with hemalum (alum hematoxylin) involve DNA, and what is the nature of the dye-chromatin complex? Biotechnic & Histochemistry 92 (2): 133-148.  

  7. Carriel, V., Campos, F., Aneiros-Fernandez, J. & Kiernan J. A. 2017. Tissue fixation and processing for the histological identification of lipids. Chapter 14 in: Pellicciari C, Biggiogera M, eds. Histochemistry of Single Molecules: Methods and Protocols. (Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1560) New York: Springer Science+Business Media LLC. pp. 197-206. (ISBN 9781493967889)

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Kumar, G. L. & Kiernan, J. A. (eds) 2010. Education Guide: Special Stains and H & E. 2nd ed. Carpinteria, CA: Dako North America. 300 pages. Free PDF file available from either https://www.agilent.com/en/dako-pathology-education-guides or https://www.agilent.com/cs/library/technicaloverviews/public/08066_special_stains_eduguide.pdf

  14. 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.