Embryology History - Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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Santiago Ramon y Cahal (photograph)
Historic retina drawing

Santiago Ramon y Cahal (1852 - 1934) and Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926) jointly received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1906 "in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system."

A Spanish researcher who used then new histology Golgi staining techniques to identify the cerebellum cellular structure. His work was a turning point in our understanding of the structure of the brain, that until then had been described as a "syncytium" and not consisting of discrete cellular elements. For this research and other work on defining the structure of the brain he, along with Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926), received the 1906 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Links: 1899 Human Sensory Cortex 1904 - A Brief History of Science | Retina | History - Early 20th Century | Category:Cajal

From the 1990 Science book review.[1]

"The neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cahal might be considered something of a pioneer in the autobiographical genre, his straightforwardly titled Recuerdos de Mi Vida having appeared, in two volumes, in 1901 and 1907. The work was translated into English in 1937 and published as volume 8 of the Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, itself now a long-standing sponsor of such works."

Santiago Ramon y Cahal in laboratory.jpg

Santiago Ramon y Cahal in laboratory portrait.

Camillo Golgi
Camillo Golgi.jpg
Camillo Golgi (1843 - 1926) developed the histology silver staining technique, the basis of Cajal's study of the brain.

Golgi today though is best known for the cellular organelle that bears his name, the Golgi apparatus.

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Related Histology Researchers  
Santiago Ramón y Cajal | Camillo Golgi

Historic Drawings

Neural- cortex Cajal drawing 01.jpg
adult human visual cortex adult human motor cortex infant human (1.5 month)
Nissl-stain Nissl-stain Golgi-stain

Cajal bodies

Nucleus Cajal bodies image
Cajal bodies[2]

(CB) Ramon y Cajal originally identified these small (20-25 nm) nuclear membraneless organelles in cells, they have various suggested functions and are localized to the nucleolar periphery or within the nucleoli. They contain both newly assembled small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs, for pre-mRNA splicing) and small nucleolar ribonucleoproteins (snoRNPs, for ribosomal RNA processing) particles. See also the review.[3]

Proteins associated with two neural genetic abnormalities are associated with these bodies.

  1. Spinal muscular atrophy SMN1 (5q13) encodes a 38 kD protein located in Cajal bodies.
  2. Fragile X Syndrome protein (FMRP) isoforms 6 and 12 (ISO6 and 12) proteins located in Cajal bodies. [4] Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited mental retardation and autism.


  1. Livingston K. (1990). Recollections of My Life. Santiago Ramon Y Cajal. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1989. xxvi, 638 pp., illus. Paper, $16.95. Translated from the third Spanish edition (1923). Reprint, 1937 edition; The Never-Ceasing Search. Francis O. Schmitt. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1990. xvi, 399 pp., illus. $30. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 188; Song Among the Ruins. William J. Schull. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990. x, 305 pp. + plates. $25; Science, Churchill, and Me. Hermann Bondi. Pergamon, New York, 1990. x, 142 pp. + plates. $30; A Very Decided Preference. Life with Peter Medawar. Jean Medawar. Norton, New York, 1990. 256 pp., illus. $19.95; Landau. The Physicist and the Man. I. M. Khalatnikov, Ed. Pergamon, New York, 1989. viii, 323 pp., illus. $100. Translated from the Russian by J. B. Sykes; Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. A. Jayaraman. Allied East-West Press, New Delhi, 1989 (available from the author, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ 07974). xiv, 214 pp. + plates. $10; paper, $8. Science , 249, 571-2. PMID: 17735292 DOI.
  2. Ogg SC & Lamond AI. (2002). Cajal bodies and coilin--moving towards function. J. Cell Biol. , 159, 17-21. PMID: 12379800 DOI.
  3. Gall JG. (2003). The centennial of the Cajal body. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. , 4, 975-80. PMID: 14685175 DOI.
  4. Dury AY, El Fatimy R, Tremblay S, Rose TM, Côté J, De Koninck P & Khandjian EW. (2013). Nuclear Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein is localized to Cajal bodies. PLoS Genet. , 9, e1003890. PMID: 24204304 DOI.


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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, December 12) Embryology Embryology History - Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Embryology_History_-_Santiago_Ram%C3%B3n_y_Cajal

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