Elie Metchnikoff and the multidisciplinary link novelty among Zoology, Embryology and Innate Immunity


  • M Cammarata Dipartimento di Scienze della terra e del Mare, Viale delle Scienze Ed.16, Università degli studi di Palermo, Italy ; Istituto Italo-Russo di Formazione e Ricerche Ecologiche. Via Archirafi 28, Palermo, Italy
  • P Pagliara Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali, Università Del Salento, Via Prov.le Lecce Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy




Metchnikoff, Phagocytosis, zoology, immunobiology, sea star larvae


Elie Metchnikoff was a Russian scientist known as the pioneer of innate immunity. In particular, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering the process of phagocytosis and its significance in the development and disease. Here, we endeavor to demonstrate the enduring fascination of his scientific research, in particular the experiment involving the first observation of a macrophage reaction in the sea star. This applies to both adult and larvae immunity studies. Recent work on sea star larval cellular immunity and adult immune systems using modern expansions of molecular and cellular techniques shows that it is a continually exciting research field that cannot just be consigned to history. Finally, aspects of human scientific roles - from the zoologist to embryological experiences to the father of innate immunity - can teach us much about the oft-neglected added value of multidisciplinary knowledge and integration in animal science research.