1 Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle (1809-1885)

Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle held the positions of Professor of Anatomy at Zurich from 1840, Heidelberg from 1844, and Gottingen from 1852. He was influenced by Girolamo Fracastoro, 1546, and contemporaneously with Bassi, Henle produced his Von den Miasmen und Kontagion (1840) with its theory of contagion; and his more developed theories in the two-volume Handbuch der rationellen Pathologie (1846-53), which offered concepts of "contagion vivum," "contagion animatum", to co-found the theory that microscopic organisms are disease agents (or vectors) for infections.

Henle's work would be ably confirmed and extended by his foremost pupil, Robert Koch, with the Henle-Koch Postulates of infectious diseases and their causes. These postulates were the major new concepts necessary for bacteriology to emerge in the following two decades as a scientific discipline based on empirical evidence.


Henle, Friedrich Gustav Jakob. Handbuch der rationellen Pathologie. Braunschweig: Friedrich Wiewig und Sohn, 1846-53.

Last modified 11 December 2016