Zybelin, Semen Gerasimovich
Born Aug. 25 (Sept. 5), 1735; died Apr. 26 (May 8), 1802, in Moscow. The first Russian professor of medicine at Moscow University; member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1784).
Zybelin graduated from the department of philosophy of Moscow University in 1758 and then studied for several months at the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Academy University headed by M. V. Lomonosov. In 1759 he was sent to the Universities of Konigsberg and then Leiden to study medicine, after which he studied practical medicine, chemistry, and anatomy in Berlin. He was a physician-encyclopedist. In 1765 he began to teach theoretical and practical medicine in the department of medicine of Moscow University. He gave demonstrations of experiments at his lectures, which he read in Russian, not in Latin as was the custom.
A follower of M. V. Lomonosov, Zybelin approached the problems of the structure of the body and the origin of diseases from a materialist point of view. He attached great significance to the influence of the environment on the origin and development of diseases, and he believed that the cause of early death lies in “physical and political” sources. In 1771, Zybelin was one of the organizers of the measures taken to combat the plague epidemic in Moscow. He developed important practical measures for combating smallpox, treating children’s diseases, and strengthening the body. He also engaged in literary activity.