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August 2016

Heinrich Koebner and His Phenomenon

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology and Venereology, I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(8):919. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.6015

Heinrich Koebner, MD, first described the isomorphic phenomenon. He was a German dermatologist born in 1838 in Breslau. He studied medicine (1855-1859) in Breslau and Berlin. After graduation he moved to Vienna, where he met Ferdinand von Hebra. Under the influence of von Hebra’s and Rudolf Virchow’s research, he decided to dedicate his studies to dermatology. In 1861 he founded “Dr Köbnerschen Instituts für Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten,” a dermatologic clinic where he treated his patients for free. In the 1870s he became director of the Breslau Institution and University; then he was nominated to be head of Breslau School of Dermatology.1 During these years he wrote further studies about syphilis, leprosy, mycosis fungoides, pemphigus, and drug-related erythematous eruption. He described epidermolysis bullosa1,2 for the first time. In his later years he went to Berlin, where he founded a new clinic. He died in 1904.