Ludwik Hirszfeld
   HOME

TheInfoList



Ludwik Hirszfeld (5 August 1884 – 7 March 1954) was a Polish
microbiologist A microbiologist (from Greek ) is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. In classical antiquity, there was no real ancient ana ...

microbiologist
and serologist. He is considered a co-discoverer of the inheritance of
ABO blood type The ABO blood group system is used to denote the presence of one, both, or neither of the A and B antigens on erythrocytes. In human blood transfusions it is the most important of the 38 different blood type (or group) classification systems c ...
s.


Life

He was a cousin of Aleksander Rajchman, a Polish mathematician, and of
Ludwik Rajchman Ludwik Witold Rajchman (1 November 1881 – 13 July 1965) was a Polish physician and bacteriologist. He is regarded as the founder of UNICEF, and served as its first Chairman from 1946 to 1950. Family He was born to Aleksander Rajchman, the creat ...

Ludwik Rajchman
, a Polish bacteriologist. He was born into a Jewish family in
Łódź Łódź (), written in English as Lodz, is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial centre. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 679,941 (2019). It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is locat ...
and studied
medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...

medicine
in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...

Germany
. In 1902 he entered the
University of Würzburg The Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (also referred to as the University of Würzburg, in German ''Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg'') is a public research university in Würzburg Würzburg (; Main-Franconian: ; bar, Wiazbu ...
and transferred in 1904 to
Berlin Berlin ( , ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3.7 million inhabitants make it the European Union's List of cities in the European Union by populat ...

Berlin
, where he attended lectures in medicine and philosophy. Hirszfeld completed his doctoral dissertation, "Über Blutagglutination," in 1907, thus taking the first step in what was to become his specialty. But first he became a junior assistant in cancer research at the Heidelberg Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, where E. von Dungern was his department head. Hirszfeld soon formed a close personal friendship with Dungern which proved to be scientifically fruitful. At Heidelberg they did the first joint work on animal and human blood groups which, in 1900, had been identified as isoagglutinins by
Karl Landsteiner Karl Landsteiner (; 14 June 1868 – 26 June 1943) was an Austrian biologist, physician, and immunologist. He distinguished the main Blood type, blood groups in 1900, having developed the modern system of classification of blood groups from his i ...
. Von Dungern and Hirszfeld examined 348 individuals from 72 families and showed that blood groups A and B did not occur in the offspring unless they were present in at least one of the parents, fulfilling the Mendelian principles of inheritance. They also showed that A and B are dominant, while O is a recessive trait. In addition, they came up with the names A, B and O for these blood groups, which have been used since. One year later, they showed that agglutination of A red blood cells can be strong or weak, and proposed two subtypes, named A1 and A2. Hirszfeld gradually found the working conditions at
Heidelberg Heidelberg () is a university town in the German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (states); commonly informally / federated st ...

Heidelberg
too confining and to familiarize himself with the entire field of hygiene and microbiology, in 1911 he accepted an assistantship at the Hygiene Institute of the
University of Zurich The University of Zurich (UZH, german: Universität Zürich), located in the city of Zürich , neighboring_municipalities = Adliswil, Dübendorf, Fällanden, Kilchberg, Zurich, Kilchberg, Maur, Switzerland, Maur, Oberengstringen, Opfikon, ...

University of Zurich
, just after he had married. His wife Hanka (1884–1964, born Hanna Kasman), also a physician, became an assistant at the Zurich Children's Clinic under
Emil Feer
Emil Feer
. In 1914 Hirszfeld was made an academic lecturer on the basis of his work on
anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction or intolerance) refers to undesirable reac ...
and
anaphylatoxin Anaphylatoxins, or complement peptides, are fragments ( C3a, C4a and C5a) that are produced as part of the activation of the complement system. Complement components C3, C4 and C5 are large glycoproteins that have important functions in the immun ...
and their relationships to
coagulation Coagulation, also known as clotting, is the process by which blood Blood is a body fluid in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrient A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and r ...
; he was also named "Privatdozent." When World War I broke out,
Serbia Serbia (, ; sr, Србија, Srbija, ),, * cs, Srbsko, * ro, Serbia * rue, Сербия *german: Serbien *french: Serbie * uk, Сербія * hu, Szerbia * bg, Сърбия * sq, Serbia * bs, Srbija * officially the Republic of Serbia,, ...

Serbia
was devastated by epidemics of
typhus Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure. ...
and bacillary
dysentery Dysentery () is a type of gastroenteritis that results in bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. Complications may include dehydration In physiology, dehydration is a lack ...
. In 1915 Hirszfeld applied for duty there. He remained with the Serbian army until the end of the war, serving as serological and bacteriological adviser. At this time, in the hospital for contagious diseases in
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica (), is the List of countries by largest and second largest cities, second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its Thessaloni ...

Thessaloniki
he discovered the bacillus "Salmonella paratyphi" C, today called "''Salmonella hirszfeldi''." As a physician in the
Allied Army of the Orientimage:M151 1 Cp italien Lt russe Cl serbe Lt français gendarme grec.jpg, upright=1.1, Allied collaboration: an Italian captain, a Russian lieutenant, a Serb colonel, a French lieutenant, and a Greek gendarme The Allied Army of the Orient (AAO) (fren ...
, together with his wife, he tested over 8000 individuals from at least 16 different ethnic groups, and found that the frequency of blood groups differed depending on the ethnic background; group A was more common among people from Western Europe (English 46% A, 10% B), while B was more common among Asians (Indian 27% A, 47% B). Their report was accepted by “The Lancet” and published in 1919, and it was the first paper showing that blood group frequencies differ between populations. In 1914, together with R. Klinger, Hirszfeld developed a serodiagnosis, serodiagnostic reaction test for syphilis, which did not, however, replace the Wasserman test introduced in 1906. His studies of goiter in Swiss endemic regions brought him into sharp disagreement with Eugen Bircher over the theory—today widely confirmed—that endemic goitres are caused by iodine deficiency in water and food, in opposition to the hydrotelluric theory. After the end of the war Hirszfeld and his wife returned to Warsaw, where he established a serum institute modeled after the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Ehrlich Institute for Experimental Therapy in Frankfurt. He soon became the deputy director and scientific head of the State Hygiene Institute in Warsaw and, in 1924, professor there. He involved in studies how how ABO blood group incompatibility between mother and foetus may cause damage to the foetus or newborn. It seems that he was the first to propose that serologic incompatibility between mother and foetus may lead to abortion or fetal or neonatal disease. In 1931 he was named full professor at the University of Warsaw and served on many international boards. After the Occupation of Poland (1939–1945), occupation of Poland by the German Army (Wehrmacht), German Army Hirszfeld was dismissed as a "non-Aryan" from the Hygiene Institute but, through the protection of friends, managed to do further scientific work at home until February 1941; it was, however, almost impossible for him to publish. On 20 February 1941 Hirszfeld was forced to move into the Warsaw ghetto with his wife and daughter. There he organized anti-epidemic measures and vaccination campaigns against typhus and typhoid, as well as conducting secret medical courses. He described the living conditions in the Ghetto in his book in “The story of One Life”. Between March and June he and his family fled the ghetto and were able to survive underground through using false names and continually changing their hiding place; his daughter died of tuberculosis in the same year. When a part of Poland was liberated in 1944, Hirszfeld immediately collaborated in the establishment of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, University of Lublin and became prorector of the university. In 1945 he became director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology at Wrocław and dean of the medical faculty. He continued his research on blood groups and together with obstetrician prof. Kazimierz Jabłoński, introduced exchange transfusion as a treatment for Hemolytic disease of the newborn, which saved the lives of almost 200 children. Both Hirszfelds resisted the pressure from the officials and never joined the Communist party. Few months before his death, the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wrocław, now affiliated with the Polish Academy of Sciences and named after him was created. He became its first director. Hirszfeld received many honors, including honorary doctorates from the universities of Prague (1950) and Zurich (1951). He wrote almost 400 works in German, French, English, and Polish, many in collaboration with other well-known scholars and many with his wife as well.


See also

* Blood type * List of Poles#Biology, medicine, List of Poles * Occupational hygiene


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Hirszfeld, Ludwik Converts to Roman Catholicism from Judaism Polish biologists Serologists Members of the Polish Academy of Sciences Physicians from Wrocław Scientists from Warsaw Warsaw Ghetto inmates 1884 births 1954 deaths 20th-century biologists