Tag Archives: Fall 2017

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 […]

Coronary moments: reflections on the impossible anastomosis

Jason J. Han Philadelphia, PA (Fall 2017)   Coronary artery bypass surgery The arteries of the heart are called coronary arteries, meaning “of a crown.” Like a crown, they course around and adorn the walls of the heart, keeping it alive with vital nutrients and oxygen.  When these arteries are blocked, the heart starves, causing […]

“Sara, Bill, Kristine, … you’re pregnant!” Gestational surrogacy, biomedicalized bodies and reconceptualizations of motherhood

Eva-Sabine Zehelein Frankfurt, Germany (Fall 2017)   The day we left the hospital, a therapist from the perinatal loss department presented us with two death certificates and asked us if we wanted the bodies for a burial. … We were being taken out the back like the trash, sparing those families who came to the […]

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 […]

Metaphor, memory, and my grandmother’s hands

Gregory O’Gara New Jersey, US (Fall 2017)   Stir of Memories, 2017 Oil on canvas, private collection of Gregory O’Gara Sometimes when it rains, the droplets are barely perceptible. There is no fog or mist, no thunder, no presage. I sat outside looking upward. There was nothing discernable in the darkness of the sky except […]

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 […]

Andrea Cesalpino ca.1520–1603

  Of the three 16th century Italians anatomists who advanced our knowledge about the pulmonary circulation, Andrea Cesalpino is perhaps the least known. Unlike Michael Servetus (ca.1511-1553) he was not burned at the stake for heresy. Unlike Roaldo Colombo (1516- 1515 ) he did not carry out thousands of dissections and work with Michelangelo; and […]

Realdo Colombo (ca.1515-1559)

  Although Italy during the Renaissance consisted of a mosaic of independent states, its inhabitants and particularly academicians seem to have moved freely from one city state to another. Thus it came about that the anatomist Matteo Realdo Colombo was born and educated in the principality of Milan (in philosophy and later as an apothecary); […]

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 […]

Michael Servetus (ca.1511-1553)

  Michael Servetus is remembered for being burned at the stake for heresy and for making important observations on the pulmonary circulation. In his Christianismi Restitutio, a theological treatise that touched on medicine, he postulated that blood in the body was divided into different segments (which he called God- ordained spirits): one in the arteries, […]