Milo Manara

Donating your body to science, an altruistic gesture


Along with six other centers of scientific excellence nationwide, the Italian Ministry of Public Health officially accredited the University of Padua’s Department of Neurosciences as a Reference Center for the conservation and use of tissues and bodies donated post-mortem for study, training, and scientific research purposes. The Reference Center obtained important funding for doctors in training, as well as for the management of materials, structures and personnel.

Certified in compliance with ISO in 2011, the Reference Center also carries out activities at the UOSD of Clinical Anatomy of Hospital/University of Padua. Focused on deepening the scientific understanding of human anatomy and improving healthcare, the Reference Center offers surgical training of new doctors by allowing them to conduct experiments.  The center will process human biological samples for the development of material used in tissue engineering and regenerative anatomy within translational research fields.

Based at via Gabelli, the Reference Center now houses 50 cold rooms with the prospect of further expansion.

To donate your body to science, candidates must register intent with an official disposizione anticipata di trattamento (DAT) while still alive. The Clinical Anatomy Center currently officiates DAT declarations 3 to 4 times a week.

University of Padua Rector Daniela Mapelli, “This is the place where death delights in helping life - Hic est locus ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae- inscribed outside the Anatomical Theater (and within the Milo Manara mural along the monumental staircase of the Institute of Human Anatomy in via Falloppio) are the words that mark the birth of modern medicine. The Anatomical Theater of Padua was host to great scholars, such as Vesalius, whose publication of the first anatomy manual in 1544 thus became a turning point in modern medicine. Therefore donating one's body to science, and therefore to the study of medicine, is the ultimate gesture of altruism. What was once a service facilitated over the years, is now, in some way, taking shape thanks to an official ministerial recognition.”

In 2009, the University signed an agreement with the Paduan Hospital on the importance of working together on the study of cadavers. In 2019, the Veneto Region Council identified the Human Anatomy Institute of Padua as the Veneto Region's Reference Center for the conservation and use of donated bodies. This decision, which in turn anticipated that of the Italian government decree of 23 August 2021, included the University of Padua among the 11 national reference centers active in this field.