Biography of Anton Weichselbaum
Anton Weichselbaum was the son of a barrelmaker. He attended the Gymnasium in Krems, Austria, from 1855 to 1863 and studied medicine at the Imperial Medical Surgical Military Hospital – k.k. Josefs-Akademie and the University of Vienna, receiving the M. D. in 1869. He subsequently – 1869-1871 - served as assistant to Karl Freiherr von Rokitansky’s (1804-1878) student, the pathological anatomist Josef Engel (1816-1899).
After serving in various positions as a military physician, in 1875 Weichselbaum became anatomical demonstrator at the First Imperial and Royal Military Hospital (k. k. Garnisonspital Nr. 1) in Vienna. In 1878 he received the venia legendi - Privatdozent - for pathological anatomy at the University of Vienna. In 1882 he was named chief demonstrator at the Rudolf Hospital (Rudolfsstiftung) in Vienna, and in 1885 he became associate professor of pathological histology and bacteriology. In 1893 Weichselbaum was appointed full professor of pathological anatomy and director of the Pathological-anatomical Institute of the University of Vienna, and in 1912 he became rector of the university. He retired in 1916.
Weichselbaum was among the first to recognize the importance of bacteriology for pathological anatomy. He was able to demonstrate the presence of the tubercle bacillus in the blood of persons who had died from miliary tuberculsosis. He introduced measures in health politics to fight tuberculsosis, and was the founder of the first Austrian health institute of lungs (Lungenheilstätte) in Alland. Weichselbaum was also extremely receptive to the newly developing science of serology. It was, in fact, while serving as assistant in Weichselbaum’s laboratory that Karl Landsteiner discovered interagglutination between serum and blood cells. He also did valuable research on diabetes, and contributed to the knowledge of disease of the cartilages and the joints, and spent a lot of energy fighting alcoholism.
Weichselbaum was wirklicher Mitglied der k. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien and of the k. Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Akademie deutscher Naturforscher, as well as the Herrenhaus.