After medical studies at Breslau, Strasburg, Freiburg and Leipzig, Paul Ehrlich earned his doctorate in 1882. His early work at the Charite in Berlin was centered upon his love of histology, hematology and the dyes/stains of color chemistry. As a boy Ehrlich had been fascinated by the early histology microtome of his cousin Karl Weigert. At college in 1872 he met future bacteriologist Albert Neisser

In 1891 Ehrlich was invited by Robert Koch to work at the Berlin Institute of Infectious Diseases, where in 1896 he would be given his own specialised section for Serum Research. In 1899 Ehrlich and his specialty would move to Frankfurt-am-Main to form the Institut fur experimentelle Therapie, where in 1909 after many empirical trials he made his major discovery of the "magic bullet" for syphilis — his celebrated arsphenamine-arsenical compound "Salvarsan." Ehrlich initiated the modern phase of "chemotherapy" with this discovery, though it was accepted with difficulty by many medical professionals who lacked Ehrlich's chemical grounding. Professorships eluded Ehrlich, partly because of the novelty of his cross-disciplinary approaches to pathology and disease.

Last modified 5 December 2016