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J Hist Neurosci. 2018 Oct-Dec;27(4):333-354. doi: 10.1080/0964704X.2018.1468967. Epub 2018 May 16.

Mary Jane Hogue (1883-1962): A pioneer in human brain tissue culture.

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a Department of Biology , Williams College , Williamstown , Massachusetts , USA.
b Marine Biological Laboratory , Woods Hole , Massachusetts , USA.
c Institut für Zellbiologie und Neurowissenschaft der Goethe-Universität , Frankfurt am Main , Germany.


The ability to maintain human brain explants in tissue culture was a critical step in the use of these cells for the study of central nervous system disorders. Ross G. Harrison (1870-1959) was the first to successfully maintain frog medullary tissue in culture in 1907, but it took another 38 years before successful culture of human brain tissue was accomplished. One of the pioneers in this achievement was Mary Jane Hogue (1883-1962). Hogue was born into a Quaker family in 1883 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and received her undergraduate degree from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Research with the developmental biologist Theodor Boveri (1862-1915) in Würzburg, Germany, resulted in her Ph.D. (1909). Hogue transitioned from studying protozoa to the culture of human brain tissue in the 1940s and 1950s, when she was one of the first to culture cells from human fetal, infant, and adult brain explants. We review Hogue's pioneering contributions to the study of human brain cells in culture, her putative identification of progenitor neuroblast and/or glioblast cells, and her use of the cultures to study the cytopathogenic effects of poliovirus. We also put Hogue's work in perspective by discussing how other women pioneers in tissue culture influenced Hogue and her research.


Biography; North American women at German-speaking universities; female pioneers in tissue culture; fetal and adult human brain organotypic cultures; history of biology; tissue culture; twentieth-century women in science

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