Anatomy | Hektoen International

Hieronymus Fabricius of Acquapendente (1537-1619)

  The Bursa of Fabricius is a sac-like organ responsible for producing immunogenic B-lymphocytes and present only in the cloaca of birds. But the man who described it, far from being an obscure ornithologist, was a reputed professor of anatomy and surgery. Born in 1537 near Orvieto in central Italy, he had as a youngster […]

Juan Valdeverde de Amusco (1525-1588)

      In the days before intellectual property laws (and when plagiarism was sometimes viewed as a compliment to the author) Juan Valverde of Spain wrote a book on anatomy so successful that it went through sixteen editions in four languages and its illustrations remain popular to this day. It was composed in 1556 […]

Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694)

  Marcello Malpighi was fortunate to live at a time when microscopes of sufficient power became available for scientific studies, culminating centuries of attempts to use the optic properties of glass to magnify the image of objects. Such efforts go back at least to the Romans, who for this purpose ground glass into the shape […]

Giovanni Batista Morgagni (1602-1771)

  Father of fifteen and teacher of thousands, Batista Morgagni became immortally famous by going one step further than his illustrious predecessors at Padua, describing not the normal anatomy of hanged criminals but the damaged organs of patients dying from disease. For this he is remembered as the father of pathological anatomy. At the University […]

Gabriele Falloppio (Fallopius) 1523- 1562

  In the days when the outcome of an oral examination could have depended on the caprices of a whimsical professor, candidates in obstetrics–gynecology might have been asked who first described the tube that leads from the ovary to the uterus, or perhaps who was Dr. Fallopius. Such a mishap is unlikely to happen in […]

Antonio Scarpa, anatomist (1752-1832)

  Students graduating from a university not uncommonly leave and seek employment elsewhere, but by the excellence of their work attain great fame and as such repay their alma mater for their early education. This was the case of Antonio Scarpa. Entering the University of Padua at age fifteen, he studied under the famous Battista […]

Foundations of anatomy in Bologna

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England (Fall 2017)   Figure 1. Dissecting table, Bologna Home to the oldest western university,1 the University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and was a centre of intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Europe. The University began as a law school. Medical teaching started circa 1156 and […]

Anatomical fugitive sheets revived: medical history as a stimulant for active learning and reflection

Goran Štrkalj and William Hunt Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (Summer 2017)   Figure 1. An anatomical fugitive sheet created by Jacob Frohlich in 1544 (Image source: Wellcome Library, London, CC BY 4.0). Anatomy has traditionally been one of the foundation disciplines within the medical curricula.1 At the same time, it has been one of the […]

Classicism and Sir Charles Bell’s Engravings of the Nerves

Allister Neher Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Summer 2017)   Charles Bell, A Series of Engravings, Explaining the Course of the Nerves Readers of medical humanities journals have become accustomed to seeing articles on anatomical illustration and its indebtedness to the techniques and conventions of the fine arts. As diverse as connections between these two areas can […]

The curious tale of Leonardo Da Vinci and the spherical uterus

John Massie Parkville, Victoria, Australia (Summer 2017)   Drawing of Pregnant Uterus by Leonardo da Vinci (c1512) Leonardo Da Vinci had one of the greatest minds in history. Accomplished in so many fields of both the arts and science, he challenged contemporary thinking and was one of the early Renaissance artists to use dissection of […]