Solomon A. Berson helped develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique in the US during the twentieth century. Berson made many scientific contributions while working with research partner Rosalyn Yalow at the Bronx Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, in New York City, New York. In the more than twenty years that Berson and Yalow collaborated, they refined the procedures for tracing diagnostic biological compounds using isotope labels. In the late 1950s they developed the RIA based on the ability to trace the competition between and ligands, or small molecules that bind to specific sites of other biomolecules, and proteins for the same molecular binding site, a process called competitive binding. Scientists widely used Berson and Yalow's RIA, as these methods permit the use of a minimal sample of blood for accurate measurements of biological molecules such as hormones that cause the production of antibodies. Berson and Yalow's research has advanced the study of physiology, including that of the reproductive system, with particular applications to the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on 2 February 1869, Charles Manning Child was the only surviving child of Mary Elizabeth and Charles Chauncey Child, a prosperous, old New England family. Growing up in Higganum, Connecticut, Child was interested in biology from an early age. He made extensive collections of plants and minerals on his family farm and went on to study biology at Wesleyan University, commuting from his family home. Child received his PhB in 1890 and MS in biology in 1892, and then went on to study in Leipzig after his parents death. He worked for a short time in the psychology laboratory of Wilhelm Wundt, and then pursued studies in zoology under the supervision of Rudolf Leuckhart. His doctoral dissertation investigated morphological aspects of insect sense organs. Leuckhart emphasized the functional purpose of morphological structures and led many of his students to develop and defend the notion of teleology, including Child, who completed his PhD in 1894.
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow co-developed the radioimmunoassay (RIA), a method used to measure minute biological compounds that cause immune systems to produce antibodies. Yalow and research partner Solomon A. Berson developed the RIA in the early 1950s at the Bronx Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, in New York City, New York. Yalow and Berson's methods expanded scientific research, particularly in the medical field, and contributed to medical diagnostics. For this achievement, Yalow received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977. The RIA technique is used to measure more than one hundred biochemical substances, including infectious agents, narcotics, and hormones, such as those used to diagnose infertility and hypothyroidism.
Andreas Vesalius, also called Andries van Wesel, studied anatomy during the sixteenth century in Europe. Throughout his career, Vesalius thoroughly dissected numerous human cadavers, and took detailed notes and drawings of his research. Compiling his research, Vesalius published an anatomy work titled De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (On the fabric of the human body in seven books). The Fabrica included illustrations of dissected men, women, and uteruses with intact fetuses. Vesalius was one of the first physicians to accurately record and draw what was inside of the human body based on his findings from human autopsies, which led to improved understanding of the human body and enhanced surgery techniques.
In 2015, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) partnered with The Open University to produce the three-part documentary series, Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You. Michael Mosley, a British television producer and journalist, hosts the documentary. Along with narrating animated scenes of a growing fetus in the womb, Mosley meets with individuals around the world who experienced mutations that can arise in the womb. Introduced over the course of the three episodes, several people share their personal stories of how their bodies did not develop correctly prior to birth. Throughout the documentary, animations of fetal development and individuals’ stories about their own birth defects transition back and forth to show how a fetus develops. Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You informed the public of what happens to the fetus at the point of conception to the point of birth at forty weeks.