The new face of Portuguese medicine: the generation of 1911 and the research school of Marck Athias.

Isabel Maria Amaral


This paper aims to demonstrate that with Marck Athias, the Portuguese medicine inaugurated a new chapter in its history, in the Republic period, characterized by the experimental training at the laboratory. Thus, book-based knowledge gave way to a more clinically based approach favouring laboratory practice and basic research within several scientific domains. This new perspective operated important changes in the Portuguese medical community in the first half of century XX. Marck Athias (1857-1946), a Portuguese, was a physician trained at the University of Paris under Mathias Duval (a former student of Santiago Rámon y Cajal). It was in his laboratory that Athias began his career as researcher. Returning to Portugal, Athias founded a research school in physiology and histology which stressed a new approach in medicine based on experimental research. At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientific research in Portugal was virtually devoid of any of the practical clinic aspects. It is in fact Athias who introduced a new scientific perspective in Portuguese scientific community as well as influenced generations of graduate students in several national higher education and scientific research centres associated with Medicine. His influence and impact was due in great part to the underlying ideology of a positivist nature which succeeded in attracting several generations of followers, promoting a new step for the modernization of Portuguese medicine.

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