Clara Sandri

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Clara Sandri (* 2 May 1918 in Chur; † 31 January 2004 in Samedan) was a Swiss laboratory technician specializing in histology and electron microscopy.

Life and work

After completing cantonal school in Chur, Clara Sandri trained as a medical laboratory assistant at the Engeried Hospital in Berne from 1939 to 1941. She then worked as a laboratory assistant and secretary in various hospitals. For 13 years she worked with Erwin Uehlinger in the Pathological Institute at the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen and later at the University Hospital in Zurich. In 1961 she finally became chief laboratory assistant at the newly founded Institute for Brain Research at the University of Zurich. Here she worked her way into the structural analysis of brain tissue. A six-month course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1962 familiarized her with the handling of the electron microscope. Clara Sandri subsequently became a recognized expert in the technique of neuron morphology.

During more than twenty years at the Zurich Brain Research Institute headed by Konrad Akert, she made several groundbreaking findings in the field of membrane structure of synapses and endplates. This work was reflected in over 60 publications. A monographic summary in the form of a comprehensive pictorial atlas was published in 1977. In the same year, Clara Sandri – as a non-academic – was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zurich “in recognition of her outstanding electron microscopic studies on the membrane structure of nerve cells”.[1]


  • Clara Sandri, John M. van Buren, Konrad Akert: Membrane morphology of the vertebrate nervous system. a study with freeze-etch technique. Elsevier Biomedical, Amsterdam 1977.


  • Hubert Steinke:Sandri, Clara. In: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz.
  • Willi Wottreng: Reisen durchs Gehirn (Obituary). In: NZZ am Sonntag. 21.March 2004, p. 22.

Individual references

  1. Dossier: honorary doctorsand honorary guests: Sandri, Clara, 1918-2004, (1977). UZH Archive. shelfmark: AF.1.435. link