Vesalius

Andreas Vesalius

(December 1514 - June 1564), was a Renaissance anatomist and physician who revolutionized the study and practice of medicine by his careful description of the anatomy of the human body. Basing his observations on dissections he made himself, he authored the first comprehensive textbook of anatomy, "De humani corporis fabrica libri septem" ("On the Fabric of the Human Body in Seven Books"). Published in 1543, "Fabrica" was the most extensive and accurate description of the human body of its time. Most likely draw by colleague Jan Stephan a Calcar and Italian artist Titian, the Fabrica is widely known for its illustrations, where skeletons and bodies with muscular structures exposed pose in scenic, pastoral settings. 

The Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, along with University of Cincinnati Libraries and the College of Medicine will celebrate this seminal work with a series of lectures along with in-person and online exhibits. Noted scholars, researchers and medical professionals will discuss Vesalius's life story, his formative experiences and mentors, as well as the impact and controversies surrounding Vesalius and "Fabrica." Panelists will discuss what Vesalius got right, what he got wrong and how the teaching of anatomy is relevant for other non-medical professions.

The Illustrated Human: The Impact of Andreas Vesalius is sponsored by Stephen and Sandra Joffe.

Lectures

All virtual lectures accessible via Zoom. Register to receive the Zoom link.

Date & Time: October 26, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
Speakers: Dr. Philip M. Diller and Gino Pasi
Description: This inaugural lecture for the series introduces the inspiration for and goals of this six-part multi-media series, provides an overview of the storied life of Andreas Vesalius, introduces the speakers and planned topics, and describes the multiple exhibits, including copies of his famous book, "De humani corporis fabrica libri septem" ("On the Fabric of the Human Body in Seven Books"), which displayed and described human anatomy for the first time.

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philip iller

Philip Diller, MD, PhD

Philip Diller, MD, PhD, grew up in a small town in northwest Ohio where his father was a family physician and his mother an art teacher. He attended the College of Wooster (BA) and the University of Chicago (MD, PhD in Pathology). He completed his residency training in Family Medicine at the University of Cincinnati and has been on faculty at the UC College of Medicine since 1991. He served as Chair of the Department of Family and Community before assuming his current role as Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs. He practiced community family medicine for 23 years and now practices hospital Palliative Care medicine. He is an award-winning teacher who received the Exemplary Teacher of the Year in 2006 from the American Academy of Family Physicians and is the recent recipient of a Silver Apple teaching award from the UC College of Medicine Medical Sciences undergraduate program for his Becoming a Master Physician course. An avid medical historian he serves as Chair of the UC Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions.

gino pasi

Gino Pasi

Faculty librarian Gino Pasi serves as the Archivist and Curator of the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Libraries. An experienced public historian, his work has ranged from performing oral histories at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Archives to the conservation of gold mining carts in Bodi, California. Most recently, he co-authored the book UC Health Colleges: 200 Years (2020, Arcadia Publishing) with UC Associate Dean Emeritus, Steve Marine. In addition to his book, his scholarship at UC has taken the form of several exhibits, including Writing the Future: the Original Works and Other Documents of Daniel Drake (2019) and Humble Beginnings and Boundless Vision: Early Pediatrics and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, 1880-1935 (2018).

Date & Time: December 14, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
Speakers: Dániel Margócsy
Description: Dr. Margócsy discusses the book he co-authored with Mark Samos, PhD, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow and senior research affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, and Stephen Joffe, MD, professor, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, “The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius. A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions.” The initial reception of the 1543 edition was highly controversial and Vesalius encountered a great deal of criticism and attack by his former teachers and contemporaries. Slowly over time, the validity of his introduction of the scientific approach to teaching and learning human anatomy firsthand took hold and, by the time of the second edition, the truths contained in the “Fabrica” were diffusing into medical schools across Europe.

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daniel margogcsy

Dániel Margócsy, PhD

Dániel Margócsy, PhD, is reader in the history of science, technology and medicine at the University of Cambridge. He has published “Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age” (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and, with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, MD, “The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions” (Brill, 2018). His articles have appeared in Annals of Science, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Nature, Social Studies of Science, The Lancet and Word&Image. His current work includes a special issue titled “From Hansa to Lufthansa: Transportation Technologies and the Mobility of Knowledge,” which is co-edited with Mary Brazelton for History of Science, and a planned monograph on the practices of ship repair at Dutch and English colonial ports in the early modern period. He is fascinated by worms.

Date & Time: January 18, 2022, 12:00 p.m.
Speakers: Dániel Margócsy, Vivian Nutton, Gerard Vogrincic
Description: Dr. Margócsy introduces a modern story about the second edition of the "Fabrica." In 2007, Gerard Vogrincic, MD, a Canadian pathologist and collector of annotated rare books, purchased a second edition at auction in Hamburg, Germany, at a very modest price. Studying the book carefully, he noted that the number of annotations was excessive with whole lines crossed out and rewritten. It appeared that the person annotating the book in the margins was re-writing the book and he wondered if this could be Vesalius’s personal copy. Checking the handwriting with known copies of original Vesalius letters housed in Uppsala, Sweden, strongly suggested this. Dr. Vogrincic asked renowned medical historian and Vesalius scholar, Vivian Nutton, PhD, emeritus professor, University College of London, to study the copy, translate the annotations and verify that this was Vesalius’s personal copy he was using to prepare a third edition. Drs. Vogrincic and Nutton will relate this remarkable story. The copy of Vesalius’s annotated second edition is housed in the Fisher Library at the University of Toronto.

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daniel margocsy

Dániel Margócsy, PhD

Dániel Margócsy, PhD, is reader in the history of science, technology and medicine at the University of Cambridge. He has published “Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age” (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and, with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, MD, “The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions” (Brill, 2018). His articles have appeared in Annals of Science, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Nature, Social Studies of Science, The Lancet and Word&Image. His current work includes a special issue titled “From Hansa to Lufthansa: Transportation Technologies and the Mobility of Knowledge,” which is co-edited with Mary Brazelton for History of Science, and a planned monograph on the practices of ship repair at Dutch and English colonial ports in the early modern period. He is fascinated by worms.

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Vivian Nutton, PhD

Vivian Nutton, PhD, is a medical historian, specializing in the history of the classical tradition in medicine, from antiquity to the present. He is perhaps best known as a historian of the life, works and influence of Galen of Pergamum (129 - ca. 216), but his research interests extend into broader areas of the history of medicine, and of the classical tradition in Europe and the Islamic world. Much of his recent work has also focused on the history of anatomy in the 16th century. In 1977, he joined the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, where he became Professor of the History of Medicine in 1993. Following his retirement in 2009, Dr. Nutton has continued to research and publish actively. His recent work has centered on Andreas Vesalius and includes studies of two major sets of unpublished annotations prepared by Vesalius for revised versions of his most important works.

gerard vogrincic

Gerard Vogrincic, MD

Gerard Vogrincic, MD, graduated from medical school at the University of Alberta in 1987 and worked as a general practitioner in Edmonton, Alberta. He later completed a residency in general pathology at the University of British Columbia in 1998 and then practiced pathology in Vancouver until his retirement in 2020. An important interest for him for the last 20 years has been collecting rare medical books.

Lectures to be held in Kresge Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, 231 Albert Sabin Way. Register to attend.

 In-person activities will be provided under CDC guidelines or local COVID-19 restrictions, with the well-being of all guests remaining the top priority. Each experience will follow the venue's established restrictions and guidelines and we ask all event participants to follow the venue's posted recommendations. View UC’s current COVID-19 updates.  

For those not wishing to attend in person, the lectures will be live streamed via Zoom [link coming soon].

Date & Time: November 16, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
Speakers: Dániel Margócsy and Gabrielle Fox
Description: Award winning cultural historian Dániel Margócsy, PhD, from the University of Cambridge will describe the creation of the "Fabrica." This was a unique event in the history of book production and publishing with an innovative design to capture Vesalius’ personal learnings about the structure of the human body that was counter to the humanist tradition based on the original writing of the great Greek physician Galen. Dr. Margócsy will be joined by Gabrielle Fox, a Cincinnati book binding and preservation expert, to discuss the bindings of the first and second editions on display in the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library.

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daniel margocsy

Dániel Margócsy, PhD

Dániel Margócsy, PhD, is reader in the history of science, technology and medicine at the University of Cambridge. He has published “Commercial Visions: Science, Trade and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age” (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and, with Mark Somos and Stephen Joffe, MD, “The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius: A Worldwide Descriptive Census, Ownership and Annotations of the 1543 and 1555 Editions” (Brill, 2018). His articles have appeared in Annals of Science, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Nature, Social Studies of Science, The Lancet and Word&Image. His current work includes a special issue titled “From Hansa to Lufthansa: Transportation Technologies and the Mobility of Knowledge,” which is co-edited with Mary Brazelton for History of Science, and a planned monograph on the practices of ship repair at Dutch and English colonial ports in the early modern period. He is fascinated by worms.

gabrielle fox

Gabrielle Fox

Gabrielle Fox is a bookbinder based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the 1980s she taught throughout England and worked from her studio in Sussex before returning to Ohio in 1990. She travels to care for collections and teach, and her work is represented in many public, private and academic libraries. Increasingly, her focus is the care and treatment of older books and the creation of unique designed and bound modern volumes. Fox has had three books published: “The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books” (North Light Books, 2000), “Larkspur Press: Forty Years of Making Letterpress Books in a Rural Kentucky Community” (Gaspereau Press, 2016) and “The Flowing Spine: A Bookbinding Project Book” (Fox Park Press, 2018) and produced 10 titles in limited editions in miniature. She and Stephen Joffe, MD, co-authored the initial report of a study and comparison of contemporary bindings of both the 1543 and 1555 editions of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica,” in the Guild of Book Workers Journal.

Date & Time: February 15, 2022, 5:30 p.m.
Speakers: Dr. Richard Becker, Dr. Alvin Crawford, Dr. Myles Pensak, Dr. Charles Prestagiacamo
Description: A panel of UC College of Medicine faculty present the anatomy of their respective organ specialties. They discuss what Vesalius discovered, what he got right (usually the anatomy, the structures) and what he got wrong (typically the interpretation) being limited by the current functional understanding of the day. Offering their insights will be Alvin Crawford, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Charles Prestigiacomo, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, Myles Pensak, MD, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and Richard Becker, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease. With anatomy being foundational to these medical specialties, it is important to consider the role of human dissection in acquiring this foundation for research and practice.

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richard becker

Richard Becker, MD

Richard Becker, MD, is a Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Director, Physician-in-Chief of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute. He also is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. While at Duke University, he was directly involved in the development of fibrinolytic agents, direct factor Xa inhibitors, platelet P2Y12 receptor inhibitors (oral and IV) and director thrombin inhibitors for clinical use. Dr. Becker is a member of numerous professional societies, including the International Atherosclerosis Society, the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis and the Thrombosis Council of the American Heart Association. He is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Dr. Becker has published over 700 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including 260 original investigations, 85 textbook chapters and authored 12 textbooks. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis, now in its third decade of publication.

alvin crawford

Alvin Crawford, MD

Alvin Crawford, MD, is an Emeritus Professor in the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is a renowned authority on pediatric orthopaedic conditions and spinal deformities. He was the first African-American graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Dr. Crawford joined the UC faculty in 1977 and was the founding director of the Crawford Spine Center at Cincinnati Children’s. He has authored a handbook of pediatric orthopaedics for pediatric house officers and primary-care physicians and assisted in the development and publication of an atlas on pediatric orthopaedic radiology. He also has authored a monograph on neurofibromatosis in children, a field in which he is considered a leading expert. In 2006 he received the Daniel Drake Medal from the UC College of Medicine, the college’s highest honor. He was among the Class of 2014 Great Living Cincinnatians.

myles pensak

Myles Pensak, MD

Myles Pensak, MD, served as the H.B. Broidy Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of

Cincinnati College of Medicine from 2004 until 2021. Currently a Professor Emeritus in the departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Neurosurgery, he is a recognized international authority of diseases of the ear and skull base, with a particular interest in acoustic neuroma, petroclival meningioma, tumors of the jugular foramen and malignancies of the temporal bone. A board-certified neurotologist and otolaryngologist, he is an active member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the Otologic and Neurotologic Societies and the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society. He is the recipient of both the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Honor Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Pensak was a 2019 Daniel Drake Medal recipient, the highest honor awarded by the UC College of Medicine.

charles prestigiacomo

Charles Prestigiacomo, MD

Date & Time: March 15, 2022, 5:30 p.m.
Speakers: Bruce Giffin and Cynthia Klestinec
Description: In this final lecture of the series, award-winning UC College of Medicine anatomy professor, Bruce Giffin, MD, and Cynthia Klestinec, PhD, associate professor in the Department of English at Miami University and an expert in Renaissance anatomy and dissection, will discuss the pedagogical innovations that were introduced by Vesalius and others and how this revolutionized the teaching of anatomy for medical students and artists. Dr. Klestinec will share some of her insights from her book, "Theaters of Anatomy: Students, Teachers, and Traditions of Dissection in Renaissance Venice" (2011). Dr. Giffin will discuss the teaching of anatomy dating from Vesalius through today and looking ahead into the future, including the role of virtual dissection in the 21st century.

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bruce giffin

Bruce Giffin, PhD

Bruce Giffin, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Medical Education at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He also serves as Associate Dean of Medical Education, Vice Chair of the Department of Medical Education and Director of the college’s Body Donation Program. He joined the College of Medicine in 1990 as a Biology Fellow and is creator and director of the college’s Brain, Mind and Behavior Course for medical students and is Course Director for Gross Anatomy. He has received numerous Gold and Silver Apple Awards for teaching excellence. In 2012, Dr. Giffin received the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Alpha Omega Alpha medical fraternity and the American Association of Medical Colleges.

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Cynthia Klestinec, PhD

Cynthia Klestinec, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at Miami University, completed her doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the history of science, the history of medicine and early modern Italy with new work on the history of professions, death and dying, and the role of physicians in end of life care. Her publications include the book “Theaters of Anatomy: Students, Teachers, and Traditions of Dissection” (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011); “Professors, Physicians and Practices in the History of Medicine: Essays in Honor of Nancy Siraisi” (Springer International Publishing, 2017) with Gideon Manning; and “Art, Faith and Medicine in Tintoretto’s Venice” (Marsilio Editori, 2018) with Gabriele Matino. The latter accompanied her co-curated exhibition at the Scuola grande di San Marco, Venice, September 2018 to January 2019.

Exhibits

In-Person

The Illustrated Human  

Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library and the Stanley J. Lucas Board Room, Winkler Center, November 16, 2021-May 15, 2022

On display will be the first (1543) and second (1555) editions of the "Fabrica," the "Epitome" (1543, a significantly scaled-down version for medical students), and the "ICONES" (1934, when the original book plates were last used) and the 2014 English translation, "The Fabric of the Human Body" by Daniel Garrison and Malcolm Hast. These books also will be complemented by story board displays that will rotate through the series in the Henry R. Winkler Center Stanley J. Lucas, MD Board Room.

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Ancient Medicine

John Miller Burnam Classics Library, 400 Level of Blegen Library

Works from the Classic's Library that could have influenced the work of Andreas Vesalius. In addition to rare books and manuscript facsimiles of works by and about ancient medicine, the exhibit includes an original Greek coin (Roman provincial) depicting the Greek “God of Medicine,” Asclepius, and a Roman coin depicting Salus, personification of “Health.”  Also featured are so called tamata, silver plaques depicting various ailing body parts common in Greek-Orthodox and some Roman-Catholic churches in contemporary Greece and Italy (on loan from Prof. Van Minnen). 

Online

COMING SOON: The Illustrated Human online exhibit contains images from the "Fabrica" as well as supplemental information about Andreas Vesalius.

books on display in the classics library

Exhibit on display in the John Miller Burnam Classics Library showcasing among other materials, Renaissance translations of ancient anatomists like those of Aretaios Cappadocia, c. 2nd century CE (seen here), and others like Galen, 129-216 CE. Galen especially was a driving force in the minds of Renaissance era practitioners and students of medicine like Vesalius.

Vesalius In the News