Detail from portrait of Hieronymus Fabricius (Girolamo Fabrizi) by Pasqualoni. 1856

Hieronymus Fabricius (Girolamo Fabrizi d’ Acquapendente) (May 20, 1537 – May 1619)  was a pioneering anatomist and surgeon known in medical science as “The Father of Embryology.”

Born in Acquapendente, Fabricius studied at the University of Padua, receiving a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1559 under the guidance of Gabriele Falloppio. He was a private teacher of anatomy in Padua, 1562–1565, and in 1565, became professor of surgery and anatomy at the university, succeeding Falloppio.  In 1594 he revolutionized the teaching of anatomy when he designed the first permanent theater for public anatomical dissections.

By dissecting animals, Fabricius investigated the formation of the fetus, the structure of the oesophagus, stomach and intestines, and the peculiarities of the eye, the ear, and the larynx. He was the first to describe the membranous folds that he called “valves” in the interior of veins. These valves are now understood to prevent retrograde flow of blood within the veins, thus facilitating antegrade flow of blood towards the heart, though Fabricius did not understand their role at that time.

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Wikipedia for background, portrait.