- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Heinrich Müller

Born  1820
Died  1864

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German anatomist, born December 17, 1820, Castell in Unterfranken; died May 10, 1864.

Biography of Heinrich Müller

Heinrich Müller studied in Munich, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Würzburg, and Vienna. He was habilitated as Privatdozent in Würzburg in 1847, and from 1849 concentrated his efforts in the study of normal and comparative anatomy, after first having concerned himself more with pathological anatomy. Alternating, and together with Rudolph Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905), Müller lectured at the Würzburger Hochschule. He was professor extraordinary from 1852, from 1858 professor ordinarius of topographical and comparative anatomy, while also giving courses in the microscopical anatomy of the eye, particularly of the retina.

In 1851 Müller discovered rhodopsin, or visual purple, a pigment in the outer segment of retinal rods. In 1856, with Kölliker, he demonstrated that each contraction of a frog's heart produces an electrical current. Kölliker and Müller were the first to measure action currents from cardiac muscle. In 1858 he published classic descriptions of three eye muscles: the superior and inferior muscles of the tarsal plate, the muscle that bridges the inferior orbital fissure, and the innermost fibres of the circular portion of the ciliary muscle.


  • Nachweis der negativen Schwankung des Muskelstroms am naturlich sich contrahirenden Muskel. Verhandlungen der Physikalisch-medizinische Gesellschaft in Würzburg, 1856, 6: 528-533.
    By Rudolph Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905) and Heinrich Müller.
  • Zur Histologie der Netzhaut.
    Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftliche Zoologie, 1851, 3: 234-237.
    Discovery of visual purple.
  • Über die Entwicklung der Knochensubstanz, nebst Bemerkungen über den Bau rachitischer Knochen. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie, 1858, IX. A large number of his works were collected and published by Otto Becker under the title of:
  • Heinrich M’s gesammelte und hinterlassene Schriften zur Anatomie und Physiologie des Auges. Leipzig, 1872.

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