1141: Alessandra Giliani
The First Known Female Practitioner of Anatomy and Pathology
Born: c. 1307, Persiceto, Italy
Died: c.1326, Bologna, Italy
Alessandra was a surgical assistant who was said to have excelled in dissections.
She may have invented a technique of injecting dye to see blood vessels throughout the human body.
Alessandra’s story first appears in a history of the Bolognese School of Anatomy written in 1857, which is slightly suspicious to say the least, so take this story with a grain of salt—especially if you believe the dates attributed to her life and death. If they are true, Alessandra was only around nineteen years old when she died.