- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Johann Georg Mönckeberg

Born  1877
Died  1925

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German pathologist, born August 5, 1877, Hamburg; died March 22, 1925, Bonn.

Biography of Johann Georg Mönckeberg

Johann Georg Mönckeberg was born in Hamburg, where his father, also named Johann Georg Mönckeberg (1839-1908), was one of the powerful senators of the then free city. The Mönckenbergstrasse that leads from the town hall to the railway station is named after him.

Johann Georg Mönckeberg studied medicine in Strassburg (then a German city) and Freiburg. He graduated in Strassburg, where Mönckeberg, parallel to his courses served as second assistant at the institute of physiology, and in 1899 published his first scientific paper. He received his doctorate in Bonn in 1900 and subsequently worked as Eugen Fraenkel's (1853-1925) assistant at the Eppendorf Hospital. It was here, under Fraenkel's guidance, that he wrote his famous paper on atherosclerosis.

In 1903 he was appointed first assistant to Carl Weigert (1845-1904) in Frankfurt. In 1904 moved to in Giessen to work with August Bostroem (1886-1944), and here he was promoted to associate professor in 1908.

Mönckeberg was habilitated for general pathology in Giessen in 1905, becoming extraordinary professor in 1908. In 1912 he was appointed professor of pathology at the Akademie für Medizin in Düsseldorf, succeeding Otto Lubarsch (1860-1933). In 1916 he succeeded Hans Chiari (1851-1916) in the chair of pathology in Strassburg.

In 1918, during the last part of World War I, Strassburg was in the centre of events. Judging from Mönckeberg's scientific production from this time he must have been rather busy taking part in the medical care of the army of the disintegrating imperial Germany - even working on live patients. As Germany lost Elsass-Lothringen - now returning to its former name, Alsace Lorraine, Mönckeberg had to step down.

When the French occupied Strassburg, Mönckeberg, extremely ill with influenza, was expelled. He took some time recuperating in Freiburg before he succeeded Paul Clemens von Baumgarten (1848-1928) in the chair in Tübingen, and in 1922 he moved once more to follow Hugo Ribbert (1855-1920) in Bonn. In 1923 he had another episode of influenza and although he was asked to move to Hamburg to follow his old teacher Eugen Fraenkel, he was so sick that he refused. He developed chronic renal disease and died with uraemia.

His main contribution was the pathology of the vascular system including studies on the conducting system in the heart. 59 of his 86 publications concern vascular pathology.

In an obituary in the Deutsche Pathologische Gesellschaft, Wilhelm Ceelen (1883-1964) said of Mönckeberg: «Alle denen, die ihn persönlich kannten, ist er unvergesslich geblieben» (he has remained unforgettable to those who knew him). ... war Mönckeberg das Vorbild eines vornehmen, reinen, alles Niedrige-verabscheuenden Menschen".


  • Die Degeneration der markhaltigen Nervenfasern der Wirbeltiere unter hauptsächerlicher Berücksichtigung des Verhaltens der primitivfibrillen. 1899.
  • Untersuchungen über das Atrioventricularbündel im menschlichen Herzen.
    Jena, 1908.
  • Herzmissbildungen. Jena, 1912.
  • Die anatomischen Grundlagen der normalen und pathologischen Herztätigkeit.
    Leipzig and Dresden, Steinkopff, 1919.
  • Die Missbildungen des Herzens – Die Erkrankungen des Myokards und des spezifischen Muskelsystemss – Die Erkrankungen des Herzbeutelse.
    Handbuch der speziellen pathologischen Anatomie, volume 2. Berlin and Vienna, 1924.
  • Der funktionelle Bau des Säugetierherzens Herzmissbildungen und deren Folgen für den Kresilauf.
    Handbuch der normalen und pathologischen Physiologie, volume 7,1. Berlin, 1926. Biographical:
  • Isidor Fischer (1869-1943), publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
    Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932.
  • Barry G. Firkin and Judith A. Whitworth:
    Dictionary of Medical Eponyms.
    The Parthenon Publishing Group. 1989. New edition in 2002.

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