cajal school

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) is undoubtedly one of the most relevant scientists of History. Born in Petilla de Aragón, a tiny village closet o the Pyrenees, in the Northern part of Spain, he unravelled the fine structure of the nervous system since the 1890 decade, succesively working in Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid. His work on the histology of the nervous system is one of the founding-stones of modern Neuroscience and Neurology.

But if the bulk of discoveries performed by Cajal should be considered as a real feat, another remarkable characteristic of his scientific career was his capacity to attract a number of young collaborators that, with time, became masters in their respective research fields, contributing with fundamental discoveries to our current conception of Neuroscience: Pío del Río-Hortega (Portillo -Valladolid- 1882-1945) identified two out of the four main nerve cell types, oligodendroglia and microglia; Fernando de Castro (Madrid, 1896-1967) identified the exact location of the arterial chemoreceptors in the carotid body, fundamental for the cardio-respiratory reflexes; Rafael Lorente de Nó (Zaragoza, 1902-1990) generated many of the dominant ideas on the function of brain cortex; Nicolás Achúcarro (Bilbao, 1880-1918), one of the earliest pupils of Cajal, was an enthusiast neuropathologist with major contributions to neuroglia and neurodegeneration (he worked for a while with Alois Alzheimer); Jorge Francisco Tello (Alhama de Aragón -Zaragoza-, 1880-1958) performed research nowadays regreened by our current view of axonal and nerve regeneration; Pedro Ramón y Cajal (Larrés -Huesca-, 1854-1950), brother of Santiago, specialized in the nervous system of insects and invertebrates, in general. The youngest members of this school, De Castro and Lorente de Nó, moved from purely histological to a more physiological orientation of their research.

Altogether, this group of Spanish neuroscientists agglomerated by Santiago Ramón y Cajal is collectively known as the Spanish Neurological (or Neurohistological) School, or simply the Cajal School, and represents one of the most singular examples of scientific schools in the History of Science due to its success and the validity of their discoveries.

For questions, comments, authorizations to reproduce the drawings and any other issue, please contact