Timeline of key events in biotechnology

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While in Scotland, Caspar was elected president of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh for two years due to his 'investigation of natural history'. Caspar dedicated his doctoral thesis to Benjamin Franklin and to William Cullen, a famous Scottish physician. 1786-01-01T00:00:00+0000He also succeeded Benjamin Rush as professor of chemistry at the College of Philadelphia.1787-01-01T00:00:00+0000von Baer was a biologist who helped found the discipline of embryology and developmental biology. Much of his early work was on chick embryology. In 1827 he published the first description of the mammalian egg cell. This was based on his investigations of the structure of the ovum in the dog. He found it to be a small yellow spot floating in follicular fluid. von Baer developed the germ-layer theory which holds that four layers of cells are formed in vertebrate eggs and that each layer always gives rise to certain tissues in the adult organism. He also showed that while the early development of embryo of one species resembles that of other species, it passes through a number of states that become progressively different from each other so that the adult never resembles other species. 1792-02-17T00:00:00+00001793-01-01T00:00:00+0000Edward Jenner, English physician, inoculated a child with material taken from cowpox pustles to protect him from smallpox. 1797-01-01T00:00:00+0000Hodgkin was a prominent pathologist who in 1932 provided the first description of Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that originates from the a specific type of white blood cells in lymphoma. His work opened up the start of the active involvement of pathologists in the clinical diagnosis and management of disease. He also helped to get histology recognised as a discipline. Hodgkin was one of the earliest promoters of preventative medicine. 1798-08-17T00:00:00+0000Coined from the Greek word 'bios', meaning life' and suffix 'logy' meaning 'science of'. The term was introduced independently by Thomas Beddoes in 1799, Karl Friedrich Burdacgh in 1800, and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1802.1799-01-01T00:00:00+0000Withering was a British physician who made the first systematic investigations of digitalis. He is said to have started studying it after noticing that a person with dropsy (swelling from congestive heart failure) improved after taking a traditional herbal remedy that included an ingredient from the foxglove plant. Following this he made careful assessments of extracts from foxglove leaves to establish what dose was safe to administer to patients. He published his findings in 1785. This paved the pay to use of digitalis as a treatment for steadying and strengthening heart action.1799-10-06T00:00:00+0000Jean-Louis Prevost, a Swiss physician, and Jean-Baptiste Dumas, a French scientist, discovered the presence of spermatozoa in the testes of many different animals. Their work challenged the traditional view at the time that spermatozoa were parasites. Most of the findings were published in the Annales des Sciences Naturelles in the period 1821–30.1800-01-01T00:00:00+0000Schleiden was a botanist. Based on his study of plant structures under the microscope he helped develop the theory that cells are the basic structure in all organisms and the basic unit of reproduction. He also connected the cell nucleus with cell division and suggested that all embryonic plant cells arose from one cell. 1804-04-05T00:00:00+0000Sedillot was a French military physician and surgeon who was a major pioneer of endoscopic surgery, anaesthesiology, clinical histopathology and infectiology . In 1846 he performed the first gastromy in the world. This is a surgical procedure the makes an opening between the stomach and the abdominal wall to enable the absorption of food through a tube. He was also one of the first to make the link between the proximity of the dissection room and the operating theatre in the development of postoperative infectious complications. Sedillot is also credited with coining the term 'microbe' (from the Greek: mikros, 'small', and bios, life') in 1878. 1804-09-18T00:00:00+0000Duchenne, a neurologist, was the first to describe several nervous and muscular disorders and develop medical treatments for them. He provided the first accounts of muscular atrophy and paralysis caused by nerve disorders. This included tabes dorsalis, or locomotor ataxia, a muscular atrophy caused by a degeneration of the dorsal columns of the spinal cord and sensory nerve trunks. He also identified the muscular dystrophy now immortalised with his name. The condition , a severe form of progressive muscle weakness, was first observed by Duchenne in 13 young boys. Duchesne also developed the use of deep tissue biopsy for diagnosis and advanced the science of electro-physiology and electro-therapy. 1806-09-17T00:00:00+00001808-01-01T00:00:00+0000Darwin was an English naturalist best known for developing the theory that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry. His book 'On the Origin of Species', published in 1859, outlined his evidence for his theory of evolution. While initially rejected, his explanation of natural selection as the basic mechanism for evolution achieved broad consensus by 1930s and was accepted as a unifying theory for the diversity of life.1809-02-12T00:00:00+0000Schwann was a physiologist who defined the cell as the basic unit of animal tissue structure. This was based on his investigation of the structure and function of nerves, muscles and blood vessels. His work in this area was aided by the arrival of new powerful microscopes. Schwann's work laid the foundation for the study of cell biology.1810-12-07T00:00:00+00001811-01-01T00:00:00+0000Snow was a physician who provided the first conclusive evidence that diseases like cholera and bubonic plague were caused by germs and not by pollution or bad air (miasma). In 1854 he was able to pinpoint the source of an outbreak of cholera in Soho, London, to a particular water pump. The outbreak was brought to an end after the pump's handle was removed. This work prompted major changes in the water and waste systems in London, which were soon followed in other cities, leading to a significant improvement in public health. Snow also made major extensive improvements to anaesthesia and the use of chloroform for use in childbirth. 1813-03-15T00:00:00+0000Remak was a Polish-German embryologist, physiologist and neurologist who is best known for showing that all cells come from the division of pre-existing cells. He first made this discovery while observing red blood cells from chicken embryos in various stages of division. Later on he confirmed the same process happened in the cell of every frog's egg immediately after fertilisation. Remak also discovered unmyelinated nerve fibers and the nerve cells in the heart. Despite his achievements, Remak never gained a full position as professor because of his Jewish background. 1815-07-26T00:00:00+0000Brown-Sequard was a physiologist and neurologist. He is best known for his discovery of the physiology of the spinal cord and the need for the adrenal gland. In addition, he predicted the existence of hormones. He sparked controversy after claiming to have rejuvenated his sexual prowess by injecting himself with extracts of monkey testis. His response to the extracts is now considered to have been placebo but his experiment helped found endocrinology as a discipline.1817-04-08T00:00:00+00001818-01-22T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
1786Caspar Wistar received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Edinburgh Wistar Institute 
1787Caspar Wistar appointed physician to the Philadelphia Dispensary, elected to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and to the American Philosophical Society Wistar Institute 
17 Feb 1792Karl Ernst von Baer was born in Piep estate, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now Piibe, Estonia)von BaerSt Petersburg Academy of SciencesEmbryology, Reproduction
1793Caspar Wistar became staff member of the Pennsylvania Hospital and elected curator of the American Philosophical Society Wistar Institute 
1797First smallpox vaccination Jenner Vaccines, Infectious diseases
17 Aug 1798Thomas Hodgkin bornThomas HodgkinSt Thomas's Hospital, Guy's HospitalPathology, Oncology
1799 - 1802First use of the word 'biology' Beddoes, Burdach, Treviranus, Lamarck  
6 Oct 1799William Withering diedWithering Cardiovascular
1800Sperm shown to be produced in the testisPrevost, Dumas Reproduction
5 Apr 1804Matthias J Schleiden was bornSchleiden University of JenaCell, Genetics
18 Sep 1804Charles Sedillot was born in Paris, FranceSedillot Surgery, Bacteriology
17 Sep 1806Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne was born in Boulogne, FranceDuchenne Neuroscience
1808Caspar Wistar appointed sole professor of anatomy, midwifery and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Wistar Institute 
12 Feb 1809Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, UKDarwin Evolution
7 Dec 1810Theodor Schwann was born in Neuss, GermanySchwannUniversity of LiegeCell
1811 - 1814Caspar Wistar published his two volumes of 'A System of Anatomy for the Use of Students of Medicine', the first American anatomy textbook Wistar Institute 
15 Mar 1813John Snow was born in London, United KingdomSnow  
26 Jul 1815Robert Remak was born in Posen, PrussiaRemak Embryology, Cell, Neurology
8 Apr 1817Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard was born in Port Louis, MauritiusBrown-SequardPort Louis, MauritiusEndocrinology
22 Jan 1818Caspar Wistar died Wistar Institute 

1786

Caspar Wistar received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Edinburgh

1787

Caspar Wistar appointed physician to the Philadelphia Dispensary, elected to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and to the American Philosophical Society

17 Feb 1792

Karl Ernst von Baer was born in Piep estate, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now Piibe, Estonia)

1793

Caspar Wistar became staff member of the Pennsylvania Hospital and elected curator of the American Philosophical Society

1797

First smallpox vaccination

17 Aug 1798

Thomas Hodgkin born

1799 - 1802

First use of the word 'biology'

6 Oct 1799

William Withering died

1800

Sperm shown to be produced in the testis

5 Apr 1804

Matthias J Schleiden was born

18 Sep 1804

Charles Sedillot was born in Paris, France

17 Sep 1806

Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne was born in Boulogne, France

1808

Caspar Wistar appointed sole professor of anatomy, midwifery and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania

12 Feb 1809

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, UK

7 Dec 1810

Theodor Schwann was born in Neuss, Germany

1811 - 1814

Caspar Wistar published his two volumes of 'A System of Anatomy for the Use of Students of Medicine', the first American anatomy textbook

15 Mar 1813

John Snow was born in London, United Kingdom

26 Jul 1815

Robert Remak was born in Posen, Prussia

8 Apr 1817

Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard was born in Port Louis, Mauritius

22 Jan 1818

Caspar Wistar died

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