Marie Francois Xavier Bichat
MARIE FRANÇOIS XAVIER BICHAT (1771-1802) has been called "the father of descriptive anatomy". He was born at Thoirette in the Department of Jura, France. After studying medicine at Montpellier, Lyon and Paris, he was appointed physician to the Hôtel Dieu. He was interested in the pathological processes, and exhausted himself with hard work, performing more than 600 autopsies during one winter. This experience he transcribed in his classic books, the most important of which was Anatomie générale (1801), a detailed description of the tissues of the body in health and in disease. He stressed the importance of the systems of the body, and his work had a profound influence upon both pathology and clinical medicine.