National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

History of the
Department of Anatomy

The Laboratory of Descriptive Anatomy was founded on 18 May of 1835, the same day that the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) was established. The first Head of the Department was the Professor of Anatomy and Physiology Dr. Dimitrios A. Maurokordatos. The lectures began on 19 May of 1837. Professor Maurokordatos had quoted: “Anatomical dissections, physiologic experiments and observation of patients” with autopsies, are the three only means that make a good anatomist and a good medical doctor. He was the author of the book “Anatomy of human body”, that was published in 1836. His teaching methods, included bones, models and a few anatomical paintings.

Dr. Damianos George Draskas was the next Professor of Anatomy and Physiology on 16 July of 1840, at the age of 28 years old. His PhD thesis “The correlations of woman’s nature with the disease” was published in 1832. The lectures took place in the house of the architect Stamatis Kleanthis. The teaching process was performed through the paintings of Weber and their translation was made by Dr. Draskas by himself. At the same time, he founded the “Anatomikon Tameion”, an organization for collecting funding for the Laboratory. At “Anatomikon Tameion”, apart from money, they were donated anatomical tools, anatomical paintings and even human organs. King Otto donated at “Anatomikon Tameion” the famous Anatomy paintings of Mascagni.

The Department of Anatomy, in this era was at a small basement apartment with high humidity. There were only two anatomical theatres. Only some of the students were elected (via draw) to have lectures in the tables, and the ones who did, were considered lucky. There was no conservation of cadavers, and the smelling was intense. There were very few human corpses and the lack of them forced Prof. Draskas to publish in Greek the Atlas of Anatomy by Weber.

At 1852 is appointed Theodor Afentoulis as a non-permanent Professor for the subject of General Microscopic Anatomy. Dr. Afentoulis wrote a Pathologic Anatomy Book.

At 1872 is appointed Dr. Pavlos Ioannou as non-permanent Professor of Descriptive Anatomy. In 1872 Pavlos Ioannou was appointed in addition, Professor of Topographic Anatomy and Surgery. He enriches anatomical collections with specimens of sensory organs and organs of the circulatory system. In 1883 the famous collection of Konstantinos Valsamakis was purchased.

On May 9, 1856, Stefanos Stavrinakis was appointed Associate Professor of Descriptive Anatomy, teaching Topographic Anatomy and Applied Anatomy in Surgery.

Konstantinos Vousakis was appointed Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology on June 23, 1856.

In 1870 the “Anatomical Studies” and the dissertation of Loukas Papaioannou “On abdominal muscles” were published. In 1883 he was elected Full Professor of Descriptive Anatomy and became Head and Director of the Anatomical Tutoring Center. He published his 3rd majestic work “The Human Anatomy”. This Anatomical textbook contained rich data on Embryology and Macroscopic Anatomy. The “Anatomical Fund” is enriched with fresh specimens, preserved in alcohol. The Laskowski Method is introduced, in which a solution of phenic acid and glycerol is used. For the first time the number of cadavers from the hospitals of the area reached 110.

In 1887, Loukas Papaioannou was elected Professor, taught Histology with microscopic incisions in microscopes and also prepared an embryological collection for the teaching of Embryology. It is worth noting that in the current Anatomy, the Anatomy Hall of Dissections and the Anatomy Laboratory of the Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, was founded at the time and was renamed the Loukas Papaioannou Anatomy Hall of Dissections in his honor, where there is an honorary plaque in the Anatomy Hall of Dissections till today.

In 1886, with the new regulation of the Medical School, the program study is defined as 6 years. At the beginning of December, 357 high school students and 106 high school students attended the course with an annual contribution of 40 drachmas.

In 1892, Rigas Nikolaidis was first appointed extraordinary and then Full Professor of Descriptive Anatomy. The anatomical museum is enriched with various specimens, instruments and anatomical paintings.

George Sklavounos in 1899 became Professor of Anatomy and Head Director of the Department of Anatomy. In 1906 he published the first volume of the 3 / volume book “The Human Anatomy”, which is characterized by its unparalleled illustration which for a century and more was the most important book of medical literature in Greece and this remains till our days. In 1926 Sklavounos became a Full Member of the Academy of Athens and was named Life Partner of the International Anatomical Society. At that time the use of the Teichmann technique for the injection of colored substance into corpses was introduced and this technique was applied in Greece before being applied in Europe. He taught Anatomy, Physiology, Histology and demonstrated with microscopic presentations of embryological specimens, Anatomical and Histological courses, as well as “Osteology and Syndesmology” and took Anatomical courses at the School of Fine Arts.

In 1938, George Apostolakis took over the direction of the Anatomy and teaches Anatomy. At that time there was the possibility of direct study and preparation of fresh specimens in the great Hall of Anatomical Dissections. He wrote the 2 / volume book entitled “Human Anatomy”, by countries, which is studied to date.

In 1966 Miltiadis Papamiltiadis was elected Full Professor and Head of Descriptive Anatomy of the Medical School of the University of Athens. In 1977, where he retired, he was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor.

Epameinondas Katritsis was elected in 1977 Professor of Anatomy. He is renovating the Museum of the Anatomy, rebuilding the 2nd floor of the Anatomy building, which was named after him. He wrote the Guide to Anatomical Exercises, Osteology, Syndesmology and Arthology. He also wrote the 4 / volume book “Human Anatomy” which includes “Myology”, “Vascular System”, “Viscera” and “Central Nervous System, Sensory Organs, Endocrine Glands”.

In 1981, Ioannis Vlachos was elected Professor and proceeded with a general renovation of the building and the reconstruction of the Anatomical Museum.

During that period, the presence of the Associate Professor Georgios Troupis is important, who undertook the creation of the “Brain Sections” in plastination, which are the most important educational material of the Laboratory of Descriptive Anatomy. Associate Professor George Troupis is distinguished for the excellent methods of teaching, which is an example for all younger university students. Associate Professor Evangelos Kotsiomitis also participated in the plastination of “Brain Sections”.

In 1991, Nikolaos Papadopoulos was elected Professor and took over the Direction of the Laboratory of Descriptive Anatomy, which continues the maintenance of the Laboratory and focuses on the renewal of the teaching methods of the courses. He co-authored with Professor Katritsis the 4th volume of “Human Anatomy”, which contains “Myology”, “Vascular System”, “Viscera” and “Central Nervous System, Sensory Organs, Endocrine Glands”.

In 2004, Professor Papadopoulos is succeeded in the Directorate of the Laboratory by Associate Professor Sofia Anagnostopoulou.

In 2007 Panagiotis Skandalakis was elected Full Professor of Anatomy and in 2010 he took over the Direction of the Laboratory. He completely renovates the Laboratory and brings the first 2 dimensions digital anatomage tables (anatomage tables) and the first digital model.

In 2019, the new Director and Head of the Department will be the Associate Professor Theodore George Troupis, who in 2020 became a Full Professor of Anatomy. His intense interest and his excellent knowledge are evident from the first moments of his days since he undertakes the direction. He also immediately proceededs to extensive and radical changes in the premises of the Anatomy. He brought pioneering systems for the courses of medical students and proceeded to changes in the methods of teaching. The Laboratory of Descriptive Anatomy immediately became the most modern Laboratory of Anatomy in Greece, with 3 additional digital anatomical tables (anatomage tables) and 3 additional digital models.

The Laboratory of Descriptive Anatomy is now classified in the best ranking Laboratories in the medical and academic society.

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