Hieronymus Fabricius  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hieronymus Fabricius or Girolamo Fabrizio or by his latin name Fabricus ab Aquapendende (Acquapendente, 1537 - 1619) was a pioneering anatomist known in Italian medical science as "The Father of Embryology."

Born in Acquapendente, Fabricius studied at Padua, receiving an MD in 1559 under the guidance of Gabriel Fallopio. He was professor of anatomy and surgery at Padua from 1562. His students included William Harvey and Adriaan van den Spieghel.

By dissecting animals, Fabricius investigated the formation of the fetus, the structure of the esophagus, stomach and bowels, and the peculiarities of the eye, the ear, and the larynx. His main claim to fame is the discovery of the membranous folds that he called "valves" in the interior of veins. He did not know the purpose of these folds; however, they are now understood to prevent blood from flowing backwards.

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