Biology, the study of life, is not limited to a single topic but actually involves several aspects like structure and function, behavior, name, applications, etc.
Since its advent as a scientific discipline, a lot of scientists have contributed for its advancement and development, be it voluntarily or by serendipity. With that, names of significant discoverers come to mind, along with their great contributions on specific fields of biology.
In this post, we have explored the names of the founding scientists or the so-called “Fathers” in the field of biology and the corresponding scientific contributions they’ve made that will be remembered forever.
Here are the fathers of biology in various sub-disciplines of biology.
Table of Contents
- Fathers of Biology
- 1. Father of Anatomy | Herophilus
- 2. Father of Bacteriology | Robert Koch
- 3. Father of Botany | Theophrastus
- 4. Father of Cytology | Robert Hooke
- 5. Father of Embryology | Kaspar Friedrich Wolff
- 6. Father of Endocrinology | Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard
- 7. Father of Genetics | Gregor Johann Mendel
- 8. Father of Histology | Marie Francois Xavier Bichat
- 9. Father of Immnunology | Edward Jenner
- 10. Father of Pathology | Rudolf Virchow
- 11. Father of Taxonomy | Carolus Linnaeus
- 12. Father of Zoology | Aristotle
Fathers of Biology
1. Father of Anatomy | Herophilus
- On the other hand, Andreas Vesalius is regarded as the “Father of Modern Human Anatomy“, regardless of all the prohibitions about the dissection of humans during his time (16th century A.D.).
- The development of the field of anatomy became stagnant for centuries as it took more than 1800 years before human dissection was allowed again since Herophilus’ time. Refer to the history of anatomy for more details.
2. Father of Bacteriology | Robert Koch
- His discoveries about microscopic techniques and different pathogenic bacteria like the Bacillus anthracis, Staphylococcus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Vibrio cholerae, etc. ensued the “golden age” of scientific discovery.
- In honor of his phenomenal discoveries, Koch was called as the “Father of Bacteriology“.
3. Father of Botany | Theophrastus
- In general, Theophrastus focused on the integration of botany into agriculture and was also the first person to study plant growth and analyze plant structure.
- Theophrastus’ discoveries and writings were extensive and detailed enough that it took more than 1800 years before any novel findings in the field were done.
4. Father of Cytology | Robert Hooke
- He has written all his cell findings in the first ever scientific publication bestseller, the Micrographia in 1665.
- Aside from his discoveries in biology, Hooke also has made several significant contributions to the field of agriculture, physics, chemistry, and mechanical engineering.
5. Father of Embryology | Kaspar Friedrich Wolff
- Wolff discoveries center on the idea that plant and animal cells that make up the embryo usually start as unspecialized but will later develop into specific cells that eventually form the tissues and organs.
- Before his discoveries, it was believed that adult living organisms are just exact copies of their offspring, only bigger. But the works of Wolff have proven them wrong. His discoveries have then paved the way for him to be considered as the “Father of Embryology“.
6. Father of Endocrinology | Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard
- However, one of his experiments, which is about the effects of injecting testicular extracts from animals to humans, made him appear ridiculous to some scientists.
- Even with Brown-Sequard’s findings, the field of endocrinology was initially regarded as “quackery” and not a serious scientific field and it was only through the discovery of insulin in 1921 that this field became labeled as one.
7. Father of Genetics | Gregor Johann Mendel
- Mendel proposed the three Laws of Inheritance: Law of Segregation, Law of Independent Assortment, and law of Dominance.
- In order to propose these laws, Mendel had to grow over 10,000 pea plants and it took him almost 8 years to finish them all. Unfortunately, during his time, Mendel’s work wasn’t appreciated much and only after the rediscovery of his findings that the fundamentals of genetics were fully understood.
8. Father of Histology | Marie Francois Xavier Bichat
- Bichat studied about the effects of different diseases on the organs by performing more than 600 human autopsies. Based from these, he concluded that the study of the diseases themselves must be on the tissue level rather than the organ or the entire body.
9. Father of Immnunology | Edward Jenner
- Some say that Jenner’s discovery had saved more lives as compared to the study of any other scientist in history, earning him the prestigious title “Father of Immunology“.
- Interestingly, Louis Pasteur was traditionally regarded as the “Father of Immunology” because of his works like the Germ Theory of Disease.
10. Father of Pathology | Rudolf Virchow
- Unlike Bichat who preferred to work on tissues, Virchow viewed cells with great importance as he believed that each element inside it is mutually independent.
- Virchow proposed his most famous dictum: “Omnis cellula e cellula“ (All cells come from preexisting cells.) in 1855.
11. Father of Taxonomy | Carolus Linnaeus
- In 1735, Linnaeus published his book entitled the Systema Naturae, that takes into account all of his detailed classification of living organisms.
12. Father of Zoology | Aristotle
- His approach and theories may appear to be quite primitive as compared to modern methods but his discoveries helped in building the fundamental knowledge in zoology.
- Aristotle has written several works about the history, movement, growth, and the parts of animal in general.
- Aside from being the “Father of Zoology“, Aristotle is also sometimes referred to as the “Father of Biology“.
What do you think would have happened if the aforementioned scientists never discovered anything?
-  – “Greek anatomist herophilus: the father of anatomy”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Herophilus of Alexandria (325-255 B. C.). The father of anatomy. – PubMed – NCBI”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Robert Koch and the â€˜golden ageâ€™ of bacteriology – ScienceDirect”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Who is known as the father of botany? – topics.info.com”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Robert Hooke – Biography, Facts and Pictures”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Who is considered the "father" of embryology? – topics.info.com”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Controversial â€˜fatherâ€™ of endocrinology: Brown-SÃ©quard”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Mendel as the Father of Genetics :: DNA from the Beginning”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Father of histology? Tissues-Science – Class 9”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “EDWARD JENNER – FATHER OF IMMUNOLOGY | Infinite Fire”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Louis Pasteur, the Father of Immunology?”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – Rudolf Virchow -father of cellular pathology. Accessed September 07, 2017. PDF Link.
-  – “Rudolph Virchow, the father of cellular pathology | AAAS – The World’s Largest General Scientific Society”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Carl Linnaeus”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.
-  – “Aristotleâ€™s Zoology – History of Biology”. Accessed September 07, 2017. Link.