Marie-Francois Xavier Bichat, pathologist

Marie-Francois Xavier Bichat, pathologist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Marie-Francois Xavier Bichat (1771-1802), French pathologist and founder of modern histology. Bichat trained in medicine, and in 1801 began work at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Paris. He noted that various organs consist of several components, or 'tissues', and set about documenting 21 of them (such as connective, muscle and nervous tissue). Eschewing the aid of a microscope, his observations were made during numerous post- mortems. His work had much influence on medical science, forming a link between the 'organ pathology' of Morgagni and the later 'cell pathology' of Virchow. Bichat died at the age of 31 after falling down stairs at the hospital.

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