Biography of Angelo Maffucci
Angelo Maffucci was born into a farming family at Calitri near Avellino. After graduating in medicine at Naples in 1872 he spent three years in country practice. He then returned to Naples, where he commenced his scientific work in the institute of pathological anatomy under Otto von Schrön (1837-1917). At this time he earned his living as a vaccination physician to the city of Naples as well as surgeon at the Ospedale degl’ Incurabili.
In 1882 he became head of general pathology at Messina University. In the following year he was called to the chair of anatomical pathology at Catania and in 1884 assumed the chair of pathological anatomy in Pisa, where he died in 1903.
He worked in almost every field of pathological anatomy. He was a diligent researcher and a massive collection of his meticulous notes, which was found in his home after his death, is now in the Institute for the History of Medicine in Rome. He recorded details of classical chick experiments, in which he isolated the bacteria causing avian tuberculosis (B. gallinaceous) and determined that avian tuberculosis had a different aetiology from the bovine and human forms. He also recognised that chick embryos had defence mechanisms that could destroy bacteria.
Despite the importance of his contributions, his work attracted little attention outside Italy. As a person he was described as sincere and genial.