Helena Gajewska

20.02.1888 – 20.05.1972


An expert in comparative anatomy and the creator of the first Department of Histology at the Faculty of Medicine.

1907-1912 – studies in Cracow

1917 – PhD degree

1920 – post-doctoral degree (the first post-doctoral degree in Poland awarded to a woman)

1920 – professorship

She specialised in research on cells and tissues. Already during her studies at the Jagiellonian University she carried out independent research. She also received her PhD degree from this University and in 1920 a post-doctoral degree (as the first woman in Poland).

The University of Poznań invited her to cooperate in creating the Department of Histology at the Faculty of Medicine. Helena Gajewska not only organised the work of the Department but she also furnished its labs with the necessary equipment. She was the head of the Department till 1922. She was also a member of the Faulty of Medicine’s first Board.

Her further career was interrupted by a serious mental disorder. While she was receiving treatment, she was left with no means of livelihood. In 1925 she was granted pension, however it was so low that in 1935 the Faculty of Medicine’s Board wanted to raise it ‘out of mercy’. The Ministry of Treasury did not agree to this due to ‘the lack of conditions deserving special treatment’.

When she recovered, Gajewska returned to giving lectures, but now at the Jagiellonian University.


Main photo - Helena Gajewska