The heritage of Barts Hospital

Our Heritage/Alumni

Distinguished Alumni at Barts

The medical legacy at Barts is unsurpassed and comes from being one of the oldest and distinguished hospitals in the world, with over 900 years of patient care and research on exactly the same site. Some of the most important discoveries at Barts include:


William Harvey
Physician-in-Charge at Barts and one of the greatest names in medical history, was the first to describe correctly and in detail the systemic circulation and how blood is pumped through the body by the heart. He published De Motu Cordis in 1628. 


Percival Pott
A surgeon at Barts and one of the founders of orthopaedics, was the first to describe how to treat a bone fracture without the need for amputation. He later described the association between soot exposure in chimney sweeps and scrotal cancer in 1775. This was the first occupational link to cancer, and Pott was the first person to demonstrate that a malignancy could be caused by an environmental carcinogen.


Christopher Rawson Penfold
Studied at Barts in the 1830s. He practised medicine in Brighton for six years, before moving to Australia in 1844. While in Australia, his medical practice increasingly gave way to the demands of his vineyard, which he had begun with wine cuttings brought over from France. He became incredibly successful, and Penfold’s wine remains today one of the most popular in Australia.


Sir James Paget
Entered Barts as a student in 1834, later becoming the first Warden of the hospital. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern medical pathology, especially the pathology of tumours. In cases of myeloid sarcoma, he was the first to advocate removal of the tumour instead of amputation of the limb. Paget's disease of bone and Paget’s disease of the nipple (a form of breast cancer) are named after him.


Stephen Paget
Sir James Paget's son, entered Barts Hospital Medical School in 1871.  He is credited with proposing the "seed and soil" theory of metastasis, describing how metastasis depends on cross talk between selected cancer cells (the 'seeds') and specific organ microenvironments (the 'soil').


Archibald Garrod
Joined the staff of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1884.  In 1902, he published his classic paper in the Lancet where, for the first time, a disease (alkaptonuria) was shown to be caused by heredity. Garrod went on to study other metabolic disorders, including the pigment disorders porphyria; the cause of George III's madness; and albinism. In his book, Inborn Errors of Metabolism (1909), Garrod described an important new class of diseases which were genetic, not bacteriological in origin, with a genetic factor causing a deficiency in a certain enzyme which led to a block in the chemistry of normal metabolism.


Sir Ronald Ross
Who trained at Barts, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1902 for his discovery of the malaria parasite.  During his research he had carried out surveys and schemes in many areas of the world, such as West Africa, the Suez Canal, Greece and Mauritius. His work had a particularly big impact in India, which was being swept with Malaria at the time. His research helped to control the epidemic, saving thousands of lives.


Sir John Vane
A Nobel Prize winner for Medicine in 1982 for his work on prostaglandins, founded the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts, which is devoted to understanding basic pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic innovation in cardiovascular, inflammation and endocrine diseases. BCI's research laboratories are in his namesake building, the John Vane Science Centre.

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