Auerbach, Leopold

views updated


AUERBACH, LEOPOLD (1828–1897), German physician and biologist; one of the pioneers of modern embryology. Auerbach was born in Breslau and studied there and at Leipzig and Berlin. From 1863 until his death he held teaching posts at Breslau University, being appointed assistant professor of biology and histology in 1877, but because he was Jewish never becoming a full professor. Auerbach pursued research in almost every field of botany and biology, but his major achievements lay in the investigation of cell division and embryonic development in animals. In his Organologische Studien (1874) he provided a basis for the new science of cellular biology. He was ahead of his time in concluding that differences in the cells of the embryo are the result of differences in the various parts of the organism to which they belong. He was also among the first to realize that during cell division the nucleus does not disintegrate, but merely changes its form and structure. The lymphatics in the intestinal walls are named after him.


B. Kisch, Forgotten Leaders in Modern Medicine (1954).

[Joshua O. Leibowitz]