|Administrative history||The interests and research career of John Louis William Thudichum (1829-1901) were rich and diverse, although his primary devotion was the relatively unknown field of brain chemistry. He is honoured by ear, nose and throat physicians for his invention of the nasal speculum; by gastrointestinal physicians for his classic early work on gallstones; and by urologists for 'A Treatise on the Pathology of Urine, Including a Complete Guide to Its Analysis'. Neuroscience honours Thudichum for his visionary understanding of the brain as an organ that could be understood chemically, i.e., that the pathway to treating brain disease could become available once a chemical profile of the brain was achieved. |
Thudichum was born in Budingen, Germany, on August 27th, 1829. In 1847 he began medical school at the University of Giessen, where he worked in the laboratory of Justus Liebig, the foremost chemist of his day. It was working here that Thudichum developed an interest in biological chemistry. Upon moving to London in 1853, Thudichum carried out research into the chemical constituents of the brain. He performed chemical analysis on over a thousand brains, both human and animal, and has been called the first English biochemist.