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Alfred Guido Miescher

Born 1887
Died 1961

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Italian-born Swiss dermatologist, born November 4, 1887, Naples; died September 1, 1961.

Biography of Alfred Guido Miescher

Alfred Guido Miescher was the son Max Eduard Miescher (1846-1896) and Marietta Berner (1860-1940), and the nephew of Johannes Friedrich Miescher (1844-1895), professor of pathophysiology at the University of Basel and the discoverer of nucleic acids. He is also the grandson of Friedrich Miescher (1811-1887), professor of pathology at the University of Basel.

He was born in Naples in 1887. Following the death of his father in 1896 his family moved to Basel. After his Matura in Basel he started studies in engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He switched to medicine, which he studied at Basel, Zurich and Munich. 1913 he passed his federal exams in Basel. Working as assistant of the dermatologist Bruno Bloch (1878-1933) he wrote his thesis about a case of Mycetoma.

In 1919 he married Helene Lucie Mayer (1895-1981).

Miescher worked in the Basel Bürgerspital as well as in the Zürich Kantonspital. When Bruno Bloch (1878-1933) was elected as first ordinarius in Dermatology in Zurich in 1916, Miescher followed him. His thesis was published the following year. In 1919 Miescher married Helene Mayer. 1922 he was habilitated for dermatology and dermatological radio therapy in Zurich with a thesis about chromatophores. In 1928 he became Titularprofessor.

After the death of Bloch in 1933 Miescher was elected as his successor and became Ordinarius in 1947. 1942-1944 he was dean of the medical faculty. Miescher resigned in 1958 and was succeeded by Hans Storck (1910-1983). Between 1948 and 1952 he was President of Schweizerische Akademie der Medizinischen Wissenschaften. Fighting against a cancer since spring 1961, he died on September 1st that year.

Miescher was a passionate mountain climber and played violin. His eldest son, Guido Miescher (born 1921), studied agronomy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, and made a career in industrial research in Terre Haute, USA. His younger son, Peter Anton Miescher (born 1923) was professor of haematology at the University of Geneva and made important contributions to improve the understanding and treatment of autoimmune diseases like lupus erythematodes.

Honours, prizes: Dr med honoris causa Munich 1955, Ferdinand von Hebra Medal, Karl Herxheimer-Medal.

We thank Søren Nørby, Denmark, Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, and Guido Constant Miescher, Switzerland, for information submitted. Guido Constant Miescher is the grandson of Alfred Guido Miescher and the son of Peter Anton Miescher (1923-) who was one of the discoverers of the LE cell phenomenon and is widely appreciated for his numerous contributions to immunopathology and the polypharmacological therapeutic principles of systemic autoimmune diseases.

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