- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Claude L. Pierre Masson

Born  1880
Died  1959

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French-born Canadian pathologist, born 1880, Dijon, Franmce; died 1959.

Biography of Claude L. Pierre Masson

C. L. Pierre Masson graduated MD from the University of Paris in 1909 and continued his studies at the Pasteur Institute in Paris between 1909 and 1914. After World War I he was appointed to the chair of pathology at the University of Strasbourg, becoming the youngest to hold this tenure. At this time Strasbourg, which had been the German city of Strassburg from 1870 to 1818, again became French. And, just as the French staff had been thrown out after the Franco-Prussian war, Germans were now replaced with Frenchmen. By 1927, he was invited by the Université de Montréal to be Chair of the Department of Pathology, a position he held until his retirement in 1954.

Masson was best known for his pioneering investigations of tumours of the brain and nervous system and for his histological techniques, such as the trichrome stain, which became the standard in all pathology laboratories. Of particular importance was his work with the nervous system of the neuro-nevi, nerve lesions of the appendix and studies of specific types of brain tumours. His textbook on human tumours, published in 1923, earned him a reputation. He published more than 120 scientific articles.

In Montreal, Pierre Masson developed a new curriculum for the teaching of pathology at the Université de Montréal, and reorganized the pathology laboratories at the Notre-Dame, Hôtel-Dieu and Saint-Justine hospitals. Recognized the world over, Professor Masson was the mentor of numerous young graduates who, upon his recommendation, were accepted in leading medical schools in North America and Europe. He remained a modest man, completely devoted to histological research and the pursuit of improving, inventing and performing his laboratory techniques, publishing novel findings, and preparing and classifying his personal histological collection, which remains a virtual gold mine of pathological information. Dr. Masson died in 1959.

Main source: The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

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