Exhibits Overview

The DeWitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research, preserves and interprets the material culture of the scientific work of the NIH. Through onsite and online exhibits, the Stetten Museum brings these materials to life to inform the public of the breadth and significance of research performed at the NIH, the world's largest research entity dedicated to biomedical and behavioral research and training.

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Exhibits Featured Image

The Santiago Ramón y Cajal exhibition featuring revolving sets of seven original illustrations of famed scientist/artist Santiago Ramón y Cajal (on loan from the Instituto Cajal in Madrid, Spain), may be found near the North Entrance, on the first floor, of Building 35 on the NIH Campus.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal exhibit with shipping crate

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish physician and scientist, was the first to describe the structure of the nervous system with exquisite precision.  In what would become known as the “neuron doctrine,” he showed that the nervous system comprises individual cells (later termed “neurons”), that these cells connect to each other at small, specialized contact zones (now known as “synapses”), and that a single nerve cell typically possesses three anatomically distinct structures: the dendritic arbor, the cell body, and the axon. He further posited that neurons function as information processing units, using electrical impulses to communicate within functional networks.  Cajal’s experimental work and theories provided the foundation for modern neurobiology.