- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Bruno Bloch

Born  1878
Died  1933

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Swiss dermatologist, born January 19, 1878, Endingen, Canton Aargau; died 1933.

Biography of Bruno Bloch

Bloch attended the University of Basel, where he graduated in 1900 and obtained his doctorate in 1902. He received further education at the medical and dermatological clinic in Basel, as well as in Vienna under Gustav Riehl (1855-1943), Berlin, Paris, and in Bern under Josef Jadassohn. In 1908 he was appointed as head of dermatology at the University of Basel, where he was habilitated for dermatology and syphilology in 1909, and became ausserordentlicher professor in 1913. In 1916 he was called to the newly established chair of dermatology at the University of Zurich, where he remained until his death in 1933.

Bloch was influenced by Jadassohn in applying laboratory techniques in the study of skin disorders. He made important contributions in the field of allergy and he was an expert on disorders of pigmentation. His junior colleague, the American dermatologist Marion Baldur Sulzberger (1895-1983), wrote this on Bloch's fundamental work on the Dopa reaction for the staining of melanin-forming cells.

"Shortly before I received my MD degree from the University of Zurich in 1926, I started working in the Dermatologic University Clinic of Professor Bruno Bloch. While Bruno Bloch was at the University of Basel, he discovered and developed the Dopa reaction to stain, specifically those mammalian cells that had the capacity to form melanin pigment. The discovery was not merely a new histologic staining method – it was an entirely novel, fundamentally different technique. Bloch's discovery made possible the demonstration of dynamic process or specific capacity within the cells and pin-pointed the intracellular capacity – in this case, the capacity of melanogenesis."


  • Die geschichtlichen Grundlagen der Embryologie bis auf Harvey.
    Nova Acta. Abhandlungen der Kaiserlichen Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Deutschen Akademie der Naturforscher, 1904, Band 82. 215-334.
  • Die allgemein-pathologische Bedeutung der Dermatomykosen. Halle, 1913.
  • Das Pigment.In: Handbuch der Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten, volume 1,1, Berlin, 1927.
  • Allgemeine und experimentelle Biologie der durch Hyphomyceten erzeugten Dermatomykosen.
    In: Handbuch der Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten, volume 11, Berlin, 1928.
  • M. B. Sulzberger:
    Three lessons learned in Bloch's clinic.
    American Journal of Dermatopathology, New York, 1980, 2(4): 321-325, Obituary:
  • British Journal of Dermatology, Oxford, 1933, 45: 269.
We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, for information submitted.

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