Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs Biography (1819-1885)


Frerichs is generally recognized as the founder of experimental pathology. Asa professor of medicine for many years, his insistence on teaching medical biochemistry and pathology as part of the regular curriculum was instrumentalin establishing a scientific foundation for clinical medicine.

Born in Aurich, Hanover, Germany, Frerichs received a medical education in his homeland and went on to become a professor of therapeutics and pathology atthe illustrious University of Breslau in 1851. During his eight years there,he was known for his strict requirement that all his students' work be basedon well designed experiments and precise laboratory analysis. One of the students whose medical career Frerichs helped shape was Paul Ehrlich, whowould later win a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research.

While he was working at Breslau, Frerichs also performed his own research onthe biochemistry of diseased organisms. Through this work, he became the first scientist to observe the amino acids tyrosine and leucine in urine from hepatitis patients with acute yellow liver atrophy. He did extensive work on thepathologies of nephritis and liver cirrhosis, leading to better diagnostic and treatment methods for liver ailments. His Treatise on Diseases of the Liver was published in 1858. Frerichs's other research of note was on thepathology of diabetes.

Beginning in 1859, Frerichs served as director of the University of Berlin'sCharity Hospital. He remained in that post until his death in 1885.

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