Giovanni Grassi

Giovanni Grassi

Italian zoologist and parasitologist.
Date of Birth: 27.03.1854
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Giovanni Grassi
  2. Giovanni Grassi passed away on May 4, 1925, in Rome.

Biography of Giovanni Grassi

Giovanni Grassi was an Italian zoologist and parasitologist born on March 27, 1854, in Rovellasca. He graduated from the University of Pavia and obtained a medical degree in 1878. He continued his studies in zoology at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Würzburg for the next five years.

In 1883, Grassi returned to Italy and accepted an invitation to become a professor of comparative anatomy at the University of Catania. In 1895, he moved to the chair of comparative anatomy at the University of Rome, where he worked until the end of his life.

Grassi's early research focused on helminths, such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and threadworms, as well as the diseases they caused. He also studied the social life of termites, the damage caused by grape phylloxera to viticulture, and described a new species of arachnid in 1886. He investigated the life cycle of eels and the metamorphosis of larvae of marine eels.

However, Grassi's most significant contributions were in the field of malaria research. His valuable work aimed to determine the methods of malaria transmission, identify its vectors, and study the life cycle of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, in mosquito organisms. In 1880, he first discovered this parasite in the blood of malaria patients, but it was Grassi who described the complete life cycle of the malaria parasite in vertebrates, including humans. In 1898, he demonstrated that only mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus could be carriers of the malaria parasite. In the same year, he experimentally infected a person with malaria through the bite of this insect.

Grassi's studies on the ecology and taxonomy of mosquitoes paved the way for developing methods to combat them. These measures, successfully implemented by Grassi and other scientists for many years in Italy and other European countries, led to a significant reduction in malaria incidence. Grassi became a member of the Academy of the Lynxes and the Italian Scientific Society. He also received an honorary professorship from the University of Leipzig. He authored the work "Contribuzione allo studio dei parasiti malarici" (Contribution to the study of malaria parasites, 1892).

Giovanni Grassi passed away on May 4, 1925, in Rome.