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João Baptista de Lacerda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


João Batista de Lacerda (12 July 1846 – 6 August 1915), was a physician and one of the pioneering Brazilian biomedical scientists in the fields of experimental physiology and pharmacology.


Born in Campos dos Goytacazes in 1846, João Baptista de Lacerda graduated in medicine from the medical school of Rio de Janeiro and returned to Campos to open a private practice. Soon after, he was invited by the Minister of Agriculture of the Second Empire to be the associate director of the section of anthropology, zoology and paleontology of the recently created National Museum of Natural History of Rio de Janeiro, by Emperor D. Pedro II. Later, he assumed also the associate directorship of the Laboratory of Experimental Physiology, under the French physiologist Louis Couty, who had been invited to the post. In this position, Lacerda carried out successfully a number of experimental investigations on curare and the poisons of Brazilian snakes, frogs and lizards. One of his important discoveries was the helpful effect of potassium permanganate to treat snake bites. In the field of archeo-anthropology, he was one of the first to study human fossil remains in Brazil and was awarded the bronze medal of the Anthropological Exhibit of Paris in 1878.

An indefatigable worker, Lacerda also began research on microbiology, beriberi and yellow fever. He also studied several infectious diseases of agricultural importance, such as in horses and cattle. Most of the research carried out in his lab was published in the National Museum's own periodical, the Arquivos do Museu Nacional, as well as in other national and foreign journals.

After Couty died unexpectedly, Lacerda became the Laboratory director and greatly inspiring force; later, he also served as the general director of the National Museum and as a member and president of the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine.

João Baptista de Lacerda died in Rio de Janeiro on 6 August 1915.


In general, in Brazil, the men dedicated to studies and to science constitute a kind of noble proletariat, who exist on small salaries, hardly sufficient for a modest living. Neglecting the frivolous grandeurs of the world and feeling the inexpressible pleasures that scientific research communicates, they comply with this situation and accept it without constraint.[citation needed]


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This page was last edited on 4 October 2020, at 15:02
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