The Legacy of Vesalius: Engineering on Anatomy
Roughly 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius was born in Brussels to a family of court physicians. During his lifetime, he revolutionized the field of anatomy, disproving theories that had gone uncontested for the past 1,300 years. We printed out a 3D model of a brain in homage to the enduring genius of Vesalius.
Andreas Vesalius was born in 1514 at a time when the teachings of Galen of Pergamon dominated the field of anatomy. He first developed an interest in anatomy while studying at the University of Paris, but it wasn’t until he moved to Padua in Italy that he started researching and teaching the subject in earnest. Galen’s teachings were based on animal dissections and were considered incontestable – something Vesalius flagrantly ignored. He became famous for performing dissections on human cadavers himself during lectures, teaching his students through hands-on observation. In 1543, Vesalius published his groundbreaking work on the human anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, which collected his various findings. It is thanks to Vesalius that we know the skeleton is the framework of the human body, the brain is the nervous center and source of our emotions, and that the interventricular septum is waterproof. And that’s just a couple of examples.
In the tradition of Vesalius, we are dedicated to improving our knowledge of the human body – and consequently the standards of healthcare – with accurate anatomical visualization. Vesalius learned from cadavers – our Materialise Mimics Innovation Suite allows you to design implants and guides directly on a patient’s 3D anatomy without ever cutting them open. We 3D-printed this brain model in honor of the knowledge we owe Vesalius today. It was printed with multicolor PolyJet technology, which also uses multiple different materials. The clear material represents the gray matter of the brain, whereas the green and yellow material on the inside represents the corpus callosum. And if you want to see the model for yourself, check out the BELvue museum in Brussels, where it is on display in the permanent collection.