Theodor Schwann (7 December 1810 – 11 January 1882) was a German physician and physiologist. His most significant contribution to biology is considered to be the extension of cell theory to animals. Other contributions include the discovery of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system, the discovery and study of pepsin, the discovery of the organic nature of yeast, and the invention of the term metabolism.

In his Microscopical researches, Schwann introduced the term "metabolism", which he first used in the German adjectival form "metabolische" to describe the chemical action of cells. French texts in the 1860s began to use le métabolisme. Metabolism was introduced into English by Michael Foster in his Textbook of Physiology in 1878.

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