medical science

Sir Peter Medawar – The Father of Organ Transplantation

Sir Peter Medawar – The Father of Organ Transplantation

On February 28, 1915, British biologist Sir Peter Brian Medawar was born. His work on graft rejection and the discovery of acquired immune tolerance was fundamental to the practice of tissue and organ transplants. Together with Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnett he shared the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for discovery of acquired immunological tolerance“. For his works in immunology Medwar is regarded as the “father of transplantation“. Peter Medawar – Early Years Medawar…
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Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

On February 14, 1911, Dutch-American physician and biomedical engineer Willem Johan Kolff was born. Kolff is considered to be the Father of Artificial Organs, and is regarded as one of the most important physicians of the 20th century. He made his major discoveries in the field of dialysis for kidney failure during the Second World War. Education and first Research Willem Johan Kolff was born in Leiden, Netherlands, as the eldest of…
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Sir William Jenner and the Distinction of Typhus and Typhoid

Sir William Jenner and the Distinction of Typhus and Typhoid

On January 30, 1815, English physician Sir William Jenner was born. Jenner is primarily known for having discovered the distinction between typhus and typhoid. While “typhoid” means “typhus-like”, typhus and typhoid fever are distinct diseases caused by different genera of bacteria. “How often have I seen in past days, in the single narrow chamber of the day-labourer’s cottage, the father in the coffin, the mother in the sick-bed in muttering delirium, and…
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Niels Finsen – From Sun-Worship to Phototherapy

Niels Finsen – From Sun-Worship to Phototherapy

On December 15, 1860, Faroese-Danish physician and Nobel Laureate of Icelandic descent Niels Ryberg Finsen was born. Finsen is best known for his theory of phototherapy, in which certain wavelengths of light can have beneficial medical effects. Up to now, we have only mentioned Iceland in this blog when we reported on Nordic expeditions or Eskimology [1,2]. But, Iceland also has a famous Nobel Laureate in medical science, who will be subject…
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Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary

On September 23, 1869, Mary Mallon was born, better known as Typhoid Mary was born. She was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. She was presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook. She was twice forcibly isolated by public health authorities and died after a total of…
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Thomas Sydenham – the English Hipocrates

Thomas Sydenham – the English Hipocrates

On September 10, 1624, English physician Thomas Sydenham was born. He was the author of Observationes Medicae which became a standard textbook of medicine for two centuries so that he became known as ‘The English Hippocrates’. Among his many achievements was the discovery of a disease, Sydenham’s Chorea, also known as St Vitus Dance. Thomas Sydenham’s struggles with the medical degree Thomas Sydenham was born at Wynford Eagle in Dorset, the son…
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Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

On August 14, 1840, Austro-German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing was born. He was recognized as an authority on deviant sexual behavior and its medicolegal aspects. He was the author of the foundational work Psychopathia Sexualis, which contained in its last edition more than 200 case histories out of the hundreds of medical and court reports he had collected. Therein, he also coined the terms sadism and masochism. Youth and Education Krafft-Ebing was born…
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Ilya Mechnikov and the Discovery of Macrophages

Ilya Mechnikov and the Discovery of Macrophages

On May 16, 1845, Russian biologist, zoologist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was born. He is best known for his pioneering research into the immune system. In particular, Mechnikov is credited with the discovery of macrophages in 1882. Mechnikov received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, shared with Paul Ehrlich, for his work on phagocytosis.[4] “The duration of the life of men may be considerably increased. It would be true progress to…
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Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and the Science of Biomechanics

Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and the Science of Biomechanics

On January 28, 1608, Renaissance Italian physiologist, physicist, and mathematician Giovanni Alfonso Borelli was born. Trained in mathematics, Borelli also made extensive studies of Jupiter’s moons, the mechanics of animal locomotion and, in microscopy, of the constituents of blood. He also used microscopy to investigate the stomatal movement of plants, and undertook studies in medicine and geology. “No sensible person will deny that the works of Nature are in the highest degree…
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Karl Landsteiner and the Blood Classification System

Karl Landsteiner and the Blood Classification System

On June 14, 1868, Austrian biologist, physician, and immunologist Karl Landsteiner was born. Landsteiner distinguished the main blood groups in 1900, having developed the modern system of classification of blood groups from his identification of the presence of agglutinins in the blood, and identified, with Alexander S. Wiener, the Rhesus factor, in 1937, thus enabling physicians to transfuse blood without endangering the patient’s life. “A single kind of red cell is supposed…
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