Marcello Malpighi, Italian biologist

Marcello Malpighi, Italian biologist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694), Italian biologist. Malpighi was a physician by training, graduating at Bologna in 1653. Malpighi's observations through his microscope were to revolutionise anatomy. He showed a mechanism for the transfer of air into the blood in the lungs, and observed capillary blood vessels for the first time. Numerous anatomical structures are named after him including Malpighian corpuscles in the spleen and the kidney, the Malpighian layer of the skin, and Malpighian tubules, the excretory organs of insects. After a lifetime of research and lecturing, he spent his last three years as private physician to Pope Innocent XII.

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