Sir John Vane
The William Harvey Research Institute
William Harvey was born at Folkestone and went to school in Canterbury.
He was a student at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (1593
– 1597), and qualified in medicine at Padua, Italy (1600 –
1602). He returned to England to practice medicine and became a
Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1607. Two years later he
was appointed Physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital –
a position he held until c.1644. Harvey’s reputation as a
leading light in the medical world was swiftly established, and
from 1615 to 1656 he was a key figure in training physicians of
the day as the Lumleian lecturer of the College of Physicians. In
1618, as a mark of great esteem, he was appointed Physician Extraordinary
to the King James I. He was later Physician to King Charles I.
While in Padua, Harvey learnt to study nature and medicine through
a new logical approach that related the structure of organs to their
function. This training set him at the forefront of learned medicine.
Despite his many responsibilities as Physician at St. Bartholomew’s
Hospital he continued these investigations. Harvey’s discovery
of the circulation of the blood was described in his classic work
of 1628 “Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis
in Animalibus” (The motion of the heart and blood in animals).
For his work Harvey has been credited as the founder of experimental
Almost four hundred years later, research into the regulation
of the circulation and the local mechanisms controlling blood vessels
still represents one of the most important efforts to identify new
medicines to prevent heart disease, and to treat rheumatoid arthritis,
or the many complications of diabetes.