Michael Hortsch

Michael Hortsch

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Medical education, histology, e-learning, educational technology, virtual microscopy

3063 BSRB
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200 


Areas of Interest

Modern technologies play an increasingly important role in teaching the biomedical sciences to today’s generation of students. For many years our department has been at the forefront of adopting and developing novel and exciting teaching resources. However, are these new technologies really effective in educating tomorrow’s scientists and health care professionals? How can we use these new teaching modalities to help our students learn better and gain a deeper understanding of the expanding volume of scientific knowledge? My current research program is investigating how modern electronic teaching resources are used by students and what impact they have on students’ learning success. In addition, I am developing effective new electronic teaching resources. My most popular learning tool is a series of mobile applications called SecondLook™ (http://secondlook.med.umich.edu(link is external)). It represents a self-review instrument that helps students to evaluate their proficiency before taking quizzes or examinations. The SecondLook™ resource allows students to use their study time more effectively as it directs their learning efforts towards gaps in their knowledge and skill sets.

Associated Grad Programs

Cell & Developmental Biology


  • Stanford University and University of California-Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1987-91
  • University of Heidelberg, Germany, Ph.D., 1987 
  • Free University of Berlin, Germany, Diplom, 1983 

Published Articles via Michigan Experts or PubMed

Published Articles or Reviews

Recent publications:

  1. M. Hortsch: Virtual Biology: Teaching Histology in the Age of Facebook. FASEB J. 27:411-413, 2013.
  2. L. Holaday, D. Selvig, J. Purkissand M. Hortsch: Preference of Interactive Electronic Versus Traditional Histology Learning Resources by University of Michigan Medical Students During the First Year Histology Component. Med. Sci. Educ., Vol. 23 (4), 607-619, 2013.
  3. D. Selvig, L. Holaday, J. Purkissand M. Hortsch: Correlating Students’ Educational Background, Study Habits and Resource Usage with Learning Success in Medical Histology. Anat. Sci. Educ. Vol. 8 (1), 1-11, 2015.
  4. S. Johnson, J. Purkiss, D. Selvig, L. Holaday, and M. Hortsch: Learning histology – Dental and medical students’ study strategies. Eur. J. Dent. Educ. Vol. 19 (2), 65-73, 2015.
  5. M. Hortsch and R.S. Mangrulkar. When Students Struggle with Gross Anatomy and Histology – A Strategy for Monitoring, Reviewing and Promoting Student Academic Success in an Integrated Preclinical Medical Curriculum. Anat. Sci. Educ. Vol. 8 (5), 478-483, 2015.
  6. M. Hortsch. “How We Learn May Not Always Be Good For Us” - Do New Electronic Teaching Approaches Really Result in Better Learning Outcomes? Medical Teacher Vol. 37(6), 507-509, 2015.
  7. M. Hortsch: Taking a SecondLook™ at a Time-Efficient Self-Review Resource. Med. Sci. Educ., published online Nov 11, 2015.

Electronic Resources:

  1. S.C. Kempf, M. Hortsch and D.K. MacCallum: Don MacCallum’s Michigan Histology – Volumes 1 to 4. Published as a series of eBooks at the iTunes Store Sep. 2013: http://www.med.umich.edu/lrc/dmmh/.
  2. Self evaluation mobile applications: “Michigan Histology – A SecondLook™ Series”. Release of version 2.0 at the Apple iTunes Store July 13, 2015: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ct-histology/id1008362631?mt=8 and Android version at the Google Play Store August 13, 2015:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.umich.cthistology&hl=en
  3. Neuroanatomy self evaluation mobile application: “Michigan Neuroanatomy – A SecondLook™ Series”, co-authored with Kelli Sullivan and Chelsea M. Cummiford. Release of version 1.0 at the AppleiTunes Store May 12, 2016:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/neuroanatomy-secondlook/id1110133663?mt=8 and Android version 10.0 at Google Play Store May 12, 2016: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.umich.mobile.slneuroanat&hl=en
  4. Musculoskeletal Anatomy self-evaluation mobile application: “Muskuloskeletal Anatomy – A SecondLook™ Series”, co-authored with John Stribley and Virginia Sheffield. Release of version 1.0 at the Apple iTunes Store July 11, 2016: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/msk-anatomy-secondlook/id1132138878?mt=8 (link is external) and Android version 10.0 at Google Play Store July 11, 2016: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.umich.musculoskeletallite&hl=en