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Romanian Physicians and France

Romanian Physicians and France

André J. Fabre                                                                                mercredi 14 avril 2010


 Romania, like France, has a long tradition of scientific exchanges in all fields of medical sciences.

 A long tradition

 In Paris The first Romanian to come  to study medicine was Ion Vretos Seraphim who graduated in 1815 at the Faculté de medicine de Paris.

Following him, with the many political and social change in their country, many other medical students arrived in France. In 1846, there was in Paris  a "League of Romanian students" gathering together  many figures of the revolutionary movement of that time in Europe, as which Romanian Ion Ghica with a prestigious Honorary Chairman Alphonse de Lamartine

The number of Romanian students in French universities continues to grow during the nineteenth century, rising in a century, from 2500 in 1810 to 19,000 in 1910.

At the Faculty of Medicine, students from Romania in 1830 were 200, they are more than 700 in 1888. Many of them were female students, showing that Romania was indeed much ahead of its time…

A Romanian physician had much contributed to develop relations between France and Romania: Nicolas Kretzulescu (1812-1900) who became later a great figure in Romanian political life, three times Prime Minister of Romania: 1862-1863, 1865-1866 and 1867 : He had studied medicine in Paris where he was friend of Gustave Flaubert and The Library of the Faculty of medicine still keeps his Doctorate dissertation dating of 1839: "Questions about various branches of science".

 The Pasteur Institute of Bucharest

 A National Institute for Research Development for Microbiology and Immunology was created in 1921 on the model of the Pasteur Institute in Paris by the most illustrious figure of Romania : Joan Cantacuzino.

In 1991 Cantacuzene Institute joined the International network of Pasteur organizations under the supervision of the Romanian Ministry of Health.

Fields of activity of the Institute are very broad, ranging from nosocomial infections, molecular epidemiology of enteroviruses and enteric bacteria to production of vaccines.

The Cantacuzene Institute also provides training in microbiology, epidemiology and immunology.

 Romanian Academy of Sciences

 The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) since 1971 is engaged in a policy of cooperation with the Romanian Academy of Sciences. The original agreement was renewed in 2004, providing for exchanges of researchers on the basis of a biennial joint appeal, the implementation of international programs for scientific cooperation (PICS), European research groups (GDRE) and Scientific coordination networks in particular European associated laboratories (LEA)

 Romanian physicians at the National Academy of Medicine

 Romanian physicians have always been, since the nineteenth century, an important part in the work of the National Academy of Medicine, and first of all, Thoma Ionescu, the most famous Romanian surgeons, one that we celebrate at this time memory in this meeting of the Society for the History of Medicine Romanian

 Thoma Ionescu (1860-1926),

 Thoma Ionescu (Thomas Jonnesco) was a distinguished Romanian anatomist and surgeon, founder of experimental surgery in Romania and discoverer of spinal anesthesia.

His most famous achievement is in urology with the famed Ionescu of néphropexy procedure.

He was born in Ploiesti in Wallachia and came to Bucharest to pursue his medical studies.

In 1878 he left Romania to go to France to enter the School of Medicine in Paris then, one year later, the Law School, but in 1882, he abandoned law for medicine.

After a brilliant success in all examinations at the School of Medicine, he was nominted  Prosector of the Faculty and obtained the Doctorate with a thesis on " retro peritoneal internal hernias"

, he became Physician of Medicine with a thesis on pelvic colon Pathology then is brilliantly nominated Anatomy Professor

In 1892, he writes, in cooperation with Professors Poirier, Charpy and Nicolas, Treaty of anatomy which remains a reference in this field.

In 1895 he comes back to Rumania to become director of the Institute of Topographic Anatomy and Experimental Surgery and head Physiician of Hospital Coltzea, where he can achieve his ideas  on surgical asepsis.

In 1896, he had  created a medical Journal  in Paris "Archives of Medical Science"

He was awarded throughout his lo,g career of all major honors: Rector of Bucharest University, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Bucharest, member of the Society for Surgery of Paris and Associate member of the Academy of Medicine

Joan Cantacuzene (1863-1934),

Joan Cantacuzene was one of the leading physicians and biologists in  Romania.

He was a direct descendant in  a long row of Byzantine emperors.

His father had been minister of justice of Alexander Cuza, the first Domnitor of,his mother was daughter of the famed general Mavros.

He spent a golden childhood in Bucharest, with a Swiss private teacher to teach  him not only French, but also, German, Greek and Latin.

In 1879 he was sent to Paris at   Lycee Louis Le Grand, then, he studied  the Faculty de la Sorbonne where he earned a degree in philosophy and became friend with some great names of French Literature: Joseph Bedier, Victor Berard and Romain Rolland.

In 1885, he came back  to Romania for  his military duties but, after  his return in France, decided to switch towards Natural Sciences obtaining a Bachelor degree  in 1891.

At the same time, he began studying medicine and  became deeply dedicated to scientific research.

He was admitted in the laboratory of Pr. Elie Metchnikoff at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. There he prepared a thesis on "Research on the mode of destruction of vibrio cholerae in the body - Contribution to study the problem of immunity."

In 1896, he came back to Romania as Professor of Animal morphology in the University of Jassy.

However, in 1900 he returns to Paris  to work on immunology and mainly, in the field of precipitins and  phagocytosis.

In 1902 he was nominated Professor in Bucarest to take in charge a newly created Department of Experimental Pathology and remained at this post until the end of his life.

1907-1910 Assigned to the position of Director General of Romanian health services ; as such, he promoted the health care reform law ("Legea Cantacuzino"), created the first regional laboratories for bacteriology and health care, as well as several tuberculosis sanatoriums

He had created in 1921 the Institute of serums and vaccines that bears his name (1921) and the French Institut des Hautes Etudes in Bucharest (1924).

He joined in 1931 the Jorga government as Minsiter of Health, reforming all health legislations with the famed Legea Cantacuzino and creating the first regional laboratories of bacteriology and hygiene, as well as several tuberculosis sanatoriums

After 1931 he continued, in the Jorga Governement,  his actions to promote a new Health System in Romania

During his long career, Cantacuzene received the most honorific functions : Delegate to the International Office of Public Health, General Director of Health Services in Romania, corresponding member of the Biological Society, Member of the Health Committee of the League of Nations, member of the International Labour Office.

He was elected in 1932 Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and in 1929 associate member of the National Academy of Medicine.

 Levaditi Constantine (1874-1953),

 Levaditi Constantine, known physician, cytologist and immunologist, was born in Galatz in Moldova.

In 1892, he began his medical studies in Bucharest and became, in 1895, Assistant at the Bacteriological Institute of Bucharest.

In 1898, he decided to come to France was admitted as Assistant at the College de France the  at the Institut Pasteur in the Immunology Laboratory of Pr. Elie specializing in the study of syphilis.

In 1902, he presented a Doctorate thesis on "Contributions to the study of mastzellen and leukocytosis-mastzellen"

He became in 1920 Director  of laboratory then in 1926, Professor at the Institut Pasteur and created, in 1932, the Infectious and Venereal Diseases Institute Alfred Fournier.

He obtained his French citizenship in 1908 and was elected in 1928 full member at the National Academy of Medicine in the Division of Biological Sciences.

 Herbert Tuchman-Duplessis (1911-2001),

 Herbert Tuchman-Duplessis was  a recognized expert in endocrinology, embryology and experimental pathology.

He was born in Czernowitz (Chernivtsi), part of the  Bukovina but Uprooted by the First World War, he arrived in France in 1929.

His brother had opted for a general practice in Medicine, Herbert was keenly interested in medical  research.

After his Doctorate in Medicine in 1935 and a Bachelor Degree of sciences the following year, he was working on a thesis dealing with histophysiologyin  Experimental Endocrinology when the Second World War burst.

Tuchmann-Duplessis had to get refuge in 1941 in Montpellier, where he entered the Laboratory of Histology of Pr. Turchini, one of the leading embryologists of the time.

His thesis could only be achieved  after the war, in 1945: "Experimental study of pituitary-endocrine correlations in the Triton. Determinism of hormone secondary sexual characteristics."

Back to Paris, Tuchmann-Duplessis comes in function at the Centre national de Recherche scientifique as Research Fellow in the laboratory of Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.

In 1946 he obtains brilliantly his nomination of Professeur Agrégé in in Histology. He passed the first contest, and from now on, will focus his researches towards Human Embryology.

During the dramatic events of thalidomide in the late 1950s and, thereafter, of Seveso in 1976, Tuchmann-Duplessis demonstrated the magnitude of his talents when he had to evaluate as main expert, the magnitude of embryologic  risks in such problems.

He had acquired French nationality in 1935 and was elected in 1970 at the Academy of Medicine (Section Biological Sciences)

 Many other names appear on this list of Romanian physicians associated with the work of the National Academy of Medicine:

 Eugen Aburel, 23/01/1899 à Galati  et Date de décès 16/12/1975 à Bucarest

Born in   à Galati from an Armenian family , was surgeon and obstretician who introduced innovative techniques in gynecologic surgery.

After a thesis in 1923  on "Contributions to the treatment of  puerperal infections"

he began his career in Iasi in the Obsterical Hospital Grigore Ghica Vodă

Eugen Aburel then left Romania to come in France, staying several tears at the famed Clinique Obstericale Tarnier.

In 1933 he is nominated  director of the Obstetrical Institute „Grigore Ghica Vodă” , becoming Docent in 1934, he publishes in the Revue Francaise de Gynécologie et d’obstetrique de Paris”.

Between 1935 and 1946 Aburel is Clical Professor at the Iasi Instituteul the, in 1969 Professor in Gynecology-Obstetrics at the Bucarest Institut of Medicine and Pharmacy.

He was President of the Society of Medicine of Iasi (1921-1922), member of the Societé francaise de gynecologie et obstetrique (1929), member of the World Associaţion against Uterine Cancer (1965) and Correspondant member of the Academie de medecine de Paris(1968).

 Victor Babès (1854-1926)

 Theodor Burghele (n. 12 februarie 1905, Iaşi - d. 3 iunie 1977, Bucureşti)

Theodor Burghele was a celebrated surgeon in urology and also an important political figure of Romania.

He was born in Iasi, in an old family of Moldavian Boyards

He had been  student at the Medicine School in Iasi from 1922 to 1928. His thesis was obtained in 1929 with a study on «splénomégalie fongiques"

He specialized in Urology in Vienna from 1930 to 1931.

In 1937, Burghele is nominated Professor at the Coltea Hospital

In 1946, at the création of an Urological Département he is nominated Professor at the Panduri Hospital in Bucarest

Between 1957and 1972 he was Rector of the Bucarest Institute of Médicine and Pharmacy

Pr. Burghele entered the Romanian Governement in 1972 as Health Minister and had been the personal physician of Elena Ceusescu.

He had been elected at the Romanian Academy in  1963,  becoming President  from 1976 to 1977 and was member of many international Associations: Société Roumaine de Chirurgie, 'Académie française de Médecine, Association Française d'Urologie, Société internationale de chirurgie, membre associé de l'Académie de and associate member of the Académie de médecine in 1967.

 Daniel Danielopolu (1884, - 1955)

Daniel Danielopolu was a pharmacologist

He was son of a Law Professor and began his studies at St. Sava in Bucarest

In 1900, he began his  medical student in  Bucarest, to be  graduated Doctor in medicine in 1910 and becomes more and more interested by   pharmacology.

In 1912, he publishes a book on  "Cardiac arythmias"

During the Fisrt World War, he takes in charge a severe typhus epidemics.

In 1918, he becomes Medicine Professor in  Bucarest., après quoi il sera opérationnel jusqu'à la fin de la vie.

He was internationally kown as  expert in studies of  neurovegetative functions, being also precursor in cybernetics.

He had been elected Correspondant member of the Academie de médecine in 1945

 Lian Deligdisch-Schor  2-juin-36 à Gzernowitz  in Roumanie) [Ukraine]

She was elected Correspondant member at the Académie nationale de médecine in 1988. (Section Sciences biologiques Division: Sciences biologiques et pharmaceutiques Anatomie pathologique)

She is now Professor in Forensic Medicine  in New York

 Atanase Demosthene (1846-1925)

Demosthene started his  médical studies in Montpellier the came back to Romania as pediatrician.

He participated to the Union War in 1877 and then became Military General Inspector. He created several military Hospitals and became Professor in Anatomy and Surgery in Bucarest

Founder of the Romanian Military Medical Institute with a renowned School for Army Surgeons.

In l894, he hd been elected Correspondant member l'Académie Nationale de Chirurgie de France.

 Henry Haimovici né 27/09/1907 à Tulcea, mort 10-juil-01 à New York (Etats-Unis)

Henry Haimovici  was one of the Founding Fathers of vascular surgery

Born in the banks of the Danube, Haimovici started his medical studies in  Tulcea and came after to France at the Marseille Faculty of Medicine and began surgical studies..

Keenly interested in vascular surgery, he présents a Doctorate thesis on "artérial embolies in lower members."

This is an important step in the créer of Pr. Hainovici : his work will be published with an introduction from the great specialist of this time : Pr. René Leriche. The same year, an english édition is published by pioneer in vascular surgery coming from Hungary : Pr. Geza de Takats.

Later on Pr. Haimovici publishes a clssical work on veinous thrombosis.The Pr. Haimovivi comes to Harvard  to study neuro physiology with a prestigiou physiologist of this time, Walter Cannon

When the second World War burst, Pr. Haimovici was invited by Pr Cannon to come back to the United States. Afetr many war adventures, Pr Haimovici arrives in Boston in 1942 at the Beth Israel Hospital, to work with some prestigious scientific leaders as  René Dubos and  Jacob Fine.

Pr Haimovici then came to New York at the  Mount Sinai Hospital and becomes Head of the Surgical Département of the Montefiore Medical Center in 1945.

His main achievement will be the foundation of the International Society of cardio-vascular surgery with Rene Leriche and in 1950 of the Angeiology Society. Société internationale de chirurgie cardiovasculaire (ISCVS).

Henry Haimovici was elected in 1986 Correspondant member of the Académie nationale de médecine

 Franz Halberg (born July 5, 1919 à Bistrita (Roumanie)

Franz Halberg  was one of the founders of modern chronobiology.

He first began his experiments in the 1940s and later founded the Chronobiology Laboratories at the University of Minnesota.

Halberg published many papers also in the serials of the History Commission of International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA), edited by Wilfried Schröder.

He also published in "Wege zur Wissenschaft, Pathways to Science", edited by Wilfried Schröder his biography.

He was member of many international bodies, five times "Dr. honoris causa", and was elected 1975 elected Correspondant member of the Académie nationale de médecine

 Constantin Ier Istrati (5 Septembre 1850, Roman D. 17 Janvier 1918, Paris)

Constantin Ier Istrati was a great chimist and a great physician.

Graduated at the Faculty of medicine of Bucarest in 1877 but obtained a Doctorate in Chemistry in Paris

In 1883, Pr. Constantin Istrati was nominated Professor in Physics and later member of Romanian Académy

He founded the School of Organic Chemistry in Bucarest

He founded the „Societatea română de ştiinţe” in 1890) and  „Asociaţia română pentru înaintarea şi răspândirea ştiinţelor” in 1902.

He had been elected in 1900 Correspondant member of the Académie nationale de médecine

 Nicolas Kalindero (1835 - 1902 )

Nicolas Kalindero got fame with a report discussing the method proposed by Dr. F. Guyon" of endocranian cephalotrypsia.

He had been married married with Princess Ana, daughter of Prince Gheorghe G. Cantacuzino and was brother of Ioan Kalinderu, known as General Manager of the Crown Estates under King Carol I. Prince Ioan ( Iancu ), engineer, was one of the first Romanian industrialists, involved in the concrete business

His magnificent mansion in Calea Victoriei is now part of the Romanian National Museum of Art

He had been elected in 1900 Correspondant member of the Académie nationale de médecine

 Gheorghe Marinescu (1863-1938

Gheorge Marinescu was  one of the founder of Romanian Neurology

started his career as Assitant of Victor Babes in the Laboratory of histology of hospital Brâncoveanu

He then went to Paris to study neurology uneder the direction of the famed Jean-Martin Charcot at la Salpêtrière Hospita

He was elected Correspondant member of the Academie de médecine

There he meets , Pierre Marie, Joseph Babinski et Fulgence Raymond.


He then went to Francfort to work with Pr. Carl Weigert then Berlin, with Pr.. Emil du Bois-Reymond à Berlin.

In 1897, he returns to Romania to become Professor of neurology at Hospital Colentina.

Between July 1898 and 1901 the Marinescu made the first science films in the world, in his clinic  in Bucarest

He had been elected in 1900 Correspondant member of the Académie nationale de médecine

 Stefan Milcu (1903- 1997)    

Marius Stefan Milcu has been physician,, biologist and anthropologistone of the founders with Constantin I Parhon of Romanian endocrinology.

His mai work was dealing with the physiology of  thymus and épiphyseal gland and pathologies of goiters.

He was somewhat discredite at the end of his life by his essays on "transcendental philosophy"…

 Mina Minovici (1858, Brăila - 1933, Bucureşti)

Mina Minovici was born from a family coming from  Tetovo, in  Macédonia.

He became an expert in  forensic medicine and a legist, the founder of legal medicine in Romania  

The famed Villa Minovici belonged to one of his brothers

 Emile Georges Racovitza (1868 in lasi - 1947 in Cluj)

Emile Georges Racovitza is founding Father of underworld Biology a discipline promised to a great future.

 Panaït Sirbu (1914 in Vaslui - 1983 in Bucarest

 A renowned obstetrician parcticed most of his career at the Bucarest  Spitalul Clinic

 Radu Vladesco (1886 in Sibiciu de Sus  - 1963 in Bucureşti)

Radu Vladesco was veterinarian, biochimist, famous from his works on animal metabolism.

He became member in 1955 of the Romanian Academy, Académie vétérinaire et member correspondant of the Academie nationale de medecine.

 And many other names, mong which :

Constantin Angelsco (1869 in Craiova - 1948 in Bucarest

Daniel Constantin (1879 in Craiova - 1973 in Bucarest)

Ion S. Pavel (born in 1897 in Bucarest

Mihail Petrini Galatz(1847 in Galati - 1926 in Galati) 

Georges Jean Stoicescu (1848 in Ploiesti - 1932 in Bucarest)

Basile Theodoresco (1891 in Bucarest - 1967 in  Bucarest  

Octavio Vladitiu (born in1903 in Malancrav)  

 Current Outlook

 In a world in constant move, close  relations between France and Romania have never ceased in the field of Medicine.

Romania has become more and more open to French medical students : since 2005 the University of Cluj has created a French speaking section, with a  great success :  from two French students registered in 2005, 73 in 2008, 123 have registered in September 2009.

The number of Romanian Physicians  working in France is also growing fast : since January 1,  2007, when  Romania officially came in into European Union, the number of Romanian physicians registered at the Conseil de l'Ordre  grew from 174 to nearly 1,000 on latest statistics.

Increase  of Franco-Roùanian Joint Medical meetings :

March 2007  : visit to Bucharest of the Academy of Surgery

September 2007: XVII World Congress of the International Association of surgeons, gastroenterologists and oncologists physicians (IASGO) several hundreds participants from Romania and abroad

September 2009: Joint meeting of the National Academy of Medicine and the Balkan Medical Union under the presidency of  Prof. V. Candy, Pr Irinel Popescu and Prof. Nicolae Angelescu

Romania as well as France can bring in History of medicine a long list of prestigious names.

Now, a new era has begun, showing new fields of cooperation between the two countries in medical sciences.

As said by the great philosoph Paul Valéry: "From pour mutual differences, we get every day richer


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Date de dernière mise à jour : 29/07/2013

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