December 21, 2007


LUIS MORQUIO (1867–1935)

Uruguayan physician and paediatrician.
He is considered the father of paediatrics in Uruguay and the greatest personality of South American paediatrics.

Luis Morquio qualified in medicine from the University of Montevideo in 1892.
In the following year he began a medical training in Paris. He specialised in paediatrics at Jacques-Joseph Grancher's clinic for sick children.
Morquio also studied at the Pasteur Institute.

In 1894 he returned to Uruguay, where he opened practice as a paediatrician and became professor of paediatrics in Montevideo.

He is remembered for Morquio syndrome, a lysosomal disorder also known as "mucopolysaccharidosis type IV". The condition was first described, simultaneously and independently, in 1929, by Luis Morquio in Montevideo, and by James F. Brailsford in England.

Morquio was a founder of the Sociedad Uruguaya de Pediatría in 1915.
The French government conferred upon him the rank of officer of the Légion d'Honneur.

In 1930 he was appointed director of the Clínica Pediátrica y Puericultura (the Institute of Clinical Pediatrics) in Montevideo.

Morquio wrote many publications in the field of pathology and hygiene of paediatrics, and two paediatric textbooks.

A bust was erected in his honour at the Institute of Paediatrics, in Montevideo, after his death in 1935.



December 2, 2007



Colombian physician who developed the world’s first synthetic vaccine for malaria.

He graduated from the National University of Colombia, received a scholarship to Yale University (USA), and later received his PhD from Rockefeller University in New York.

Dr. Patarroyo donated the patent for his vaccine to the World Health Organization in 1995.

He founded the Institute of Immunology in Bogotá in 1972.

Dr. Manuel E. Patarroyo holds more than 21 honor doctorates from many universities around the world, and has received many prestigious awards including the “Prince of Asturias Prize”.


December 1, 2007


JOSÉ VEROCAY (1876-1928)

Uruguayan pathologist.

He attended the German Medicine School in Austria. In 1904, he was confered the title of Doctor Medicinae Universae.

In Prague (in present-day Czech Republic), Verocay dedicated himself to the study of pathologic anatomy.

In 1906, he was distinguished for his performance in the University of Hamburg (Germany).

He became the head of the Pathologic Anatomy Institute in Austria, when Dr. Hans Chiari – considered the most important pathologist in that country – was transferred to the University of Strasbourg (France).

In 1907, José Verocay developed his fundamental work on nervous pathologies, the discovery of the celular structure and genesis of the tumors characteristic of the Reckhighausen disease, which he named neurinomes, known ever since as "Verocay neurinomes" (or "Verocay nodules").

Verocay’s greatest desire was to come back to Uruguay to apply all the knowledge he had acquired in Europe.

He was honored in a postage stamp (image above) issued in Uruguay in December 18th, 1998, along with other two remarkable Uruguayan physicians, Roberto Caldeyro Barcia and José Duomarco.


Ortiz-Hidalgo C. José Verocay. Neurinomas y cuerpos de Verocay y otras contribuciones a la medicina [José Verocay. Neurinomas and Verocay bodies and other contributions to medicine] [Article in Spanish] Rev Neurol. 2004 Sep 1-15;39(5):487-91.




Brazilian physicist, co-discoverer of the pi meson or pion, one of the nuclear particles.

Lattes graduated in 1943 from the University of São Paulo (Brazil) with degrees in Mathematics and Physics.

He and a group of young Brazilian scientists worked under European teachers such as Giuseppe Occhialini and Gleb Wataghin .

César Lattes was one of the founders of the Brazilian Center for Physical Research (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas) in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1947 he began to study cosmic rays. In the same year, at the University of Bristol (England), under Cecil F. Powell’s supervision, he made the discovery of a new atomic particle, the pi meson (or pion), which disintegrates into a new kind of particle, the mu meson.

Cecil Powell alone was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1950 for “his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and his discoveries regarding mesons made with this method”. Nobel Committee policy until 1960 was to give the award only to the head of the research group.

In 1948, working with Eugene Gardner at the University of California, Berkeley (USA), Lattes was able to detect the artificial production of pion particles (heavy and light mesons) by bombarding carbon atoms with alpha particles.

In 1969 he and his staff discovered the mass of the so-called fire balls, a phenomenon induced by naturally occurring high-energy collisions.

Lattes worked in Brazil at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro , Brazilian Center for Physical Research, University of São Paulo, and State University of Campinas.




Argentine physician and physiologist.

He was awarded (with Carl and Gerty Cori) the 1947 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the influence of pituitary hormones in regulating the blood glucose in animals.

Houssay was Professor in Physiology in the National School of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires.

In 1919, he created the Institute of Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine of Buenos Aires, which became a center of world excellence in the area of the scientific research.

He performed his teaching and research job until 1943 when he was fired for political reasons.

In 1944 he developed a hard work of investigation in the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine (Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental) that he funded with private support.

Houssay and his team managed to investigate the role of the pituitary gland in the metabolic processes of the carbohydrates and in diabetes mellitus.

Houssay’s many disciples has gained recognition around the world. One of them, the Argentine Luis Federico Leloir received the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1970.

Other disciples such as Eduarto Braun-Menéndez, and Miguel Rolando Covian became also influential by themselves.

Miguel Rolando Covian is considered one of the fathers of neurophysiology in Brazil.

Houssay wrote with Braun-Menéndez and Covian the most influential textbook of human physiology in Latin America (Fisiologia Humana, 1950).

In 1972, the OEA (Organization of American States) instituted the “Bernardo Houssay’s Award” to reward the most important investigators of the American continent.