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Semmelweis University Gallery


Lenhossék, Mihály


(B. 28th August, 1863, Pest – D. 26th January, 1937, Budapest)

Dean: 1906/07 - 1907/08

The son of József Lenhossék and the last of three members of the celebrated anatomist dynasty, Mihály Lenhossék pursued his grammar school studies at the Piarists in Budapest. He received his medical degree in Budapest on 30th October, 1886. Already an intern in 1882, he very soon became his father’s second assistant lecturer at the 1st Department of Anatomy. In 1888, he took a habilitation to become privatdocent of the refined pathology of the nervous system. After the death of his father, Mihály briefly replaced him as deputy head of the department. In 1889, he became prosector beside professor Kollmann, and then in 1891, privatdocent at the Institute of Anatomy in Bazel.

He worked as professor extraordinarius and prosector at the universities of Würzburg (1893-1895) and Tübingen (1895-1899) beside Rudolph von Kölliker and Froriep, respectively.

Leaving behind a scientific career offered by Swiss and German universities, he returned home in 1899 and after Pr. Mihalkovics’s death and became director of the 1st Department of Anatomy, a position he held until his retirement in 1934. Parallelly, he gave lectures in anthropology, too (1914-25).

He is considered to be the first internationally respected figure of Hungarian anatomy, whose studies of the nerve-tissues represent a valuable contribution to the field. Along with Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Mihály Lenhossék was the first to recognize that the travel of a stimulus through nerve fibers in the nervous system is made with interruptions via relay stations (the contiguity theory), an idea that paved the ground for neurology.

In this context, Lenhossék had a scientific debate with István Apáthy, the advocate of neurofibrillary science, but at the contemporary level of microscope technique it could not be clarified. Later on Lenhossék’s opinion was proved. He clarified a great number of details regarding the seeds of tuber cinereum, the spinal nerve centres and ganglia, neuroglia and the comparative anatomy of animal sensory organs.

His research on spermiogesis and cilia are significant. Also, he introduced several histological terms, like ”astrocyte”, “lemnoblast” or “tigroid”. It is not widely known that Lenhossék was an enthusiastic spelunker, and that his archeological articles appeared in the Speleology” (Barlangkutatás), a magazine he actually edited between 1913-16. He was one of the founders and president (1912-1916) of the Speleological Committee, and later that of the Speleological Section).

He was made a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on 6th May, 1897, a regular member in 1903, its director in 1933, and its notary a year later. Lenhossék was member of the Szent István Academy in Budapest, the German Academy of Natural Sciences in Halle, the University of Stockholm and of the Physical-Medical Society in Würzburg.

He served as dean of the Faculty of Medicine for two academic years (1906/06, 1907/08) and rector in 1914/15.

(Major works: Rare anatomical disorders. Bp. 1886.; Die Geschmacksknospen. Würzburg, 1892.; Der feinere Bau des Nervensystems… Berlin, 1893; About the centrosome.Inaugural study. Bp,, 1896.; About the rear roots of the spinal nerves. Bp., 1889.; Guideline to the anatomical practices. Bp., 1900.; Entwicklung des Glaskörpers. Leipzig, 1903.; The place of man in Nature. Bp., 1914.; The cell and the tissue /textbook/, Bp., 1922.; The anatomy of man I-III.. /textbook/, Bp., 1922 – 24.)