Father of Cytology: Know About George Nicholas Papanicolaou, M.D.

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2022, 10:00

Cytology is a branch of biology that primarily involves the study of the functions and structures of animal and plant cells. In simpler words, it is called Cell Biology. Cytology has helped pioneer quite a few treatments and early cancer detection mechanisms in medical science.

Since cytology involves an entire biological cell, there are quite a few discoveries attached to it. Let’s learn a little more about cytology and the father of cytology.

Who is the Father of Cytology?

  • George Nicholas Papanicolaou, M.D., is considered to be the father of cytology
  • George Nicholas Papanicolaou also discovered the pap-smear test in 1941
  • Additionally, Carl P Swanson is called the father of modern cytology
  • Furthermore, the Indian scientist, Arun Kumar Sharma, is known as the father of Indian cytology
  • There are quite a few other scientists as well who have contributed to the study of living cells significantly. The table below summarises the scientists and their contributions to the study of living cells
  • It was Robert Hooke who described cells as the fundamental blocks of life

Scientist

Discovery

Albert Von Kolliker

The scientist who discovered “Mitochondria” – the powerhouse of a cell

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek

Discovered bacteria and protozoa – a significant milestone in medical science

Robert Brown

Discovered the nucleus of cells

Robert Hooke

The man who discovered cells

Who Discovered Cytology?

  • Cytology is a field of study, and the earliest known phases of this study began as early as 1665
  • Robert Hooke’s microscopic investigation of cork cells led to the discovery of cells, which kick-started cytology as a study field

Some Famous Scientists in Cytology Field

  • Günter Blobel, a German-born American professional in cellular and molecular biology, won the Nobel prize in 1999 for discovering protein signals in cells
  • Nettie Maria Stevens, an American geneticist, was the first to discover that chromosome configuration was responsible for deciding the sex of a baby
  • Camillo Golgi, an Italian cytologist was awarded the 1906 Nobel prize for discovering the complex structure of the nervous system
  • Robert Horvitz, an American biologist, received the Nobel prize in 2002 for discovering how genes regulate tissue and organ development through apoptosis

More About Cytology

  • Cytology is used in the field of medicine to diagnose and prevent diseases, like cancer
  • There are majorly two branches of cytology – gynaecological cytology and diagnostic cytology
  • Cytology is also sometimes used to diagnose diseases that aren’t forms of cancer, like systemic diseases or infections (non-cancerous diseases)
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FAQs About Father of Cytology

  • Did Robert Hooke observe live or dead cells?

Robert Hooke observed dead cork cells under a working microscope of his own design.

  • Where is cytology the most helpful?

Cytology is the most helpful in the form of Pap-smear tests, which help to early-diagnose signs of cervical cancer in women

  • Which is the most common cytology test?

Pap smear is the most common test used in cytology, for the detection of cervical cancers.

  • How long ago did the first cell appear?

The first cell appeared 3.8 billion years ago.