Robert Koch was born on 11. 12. 1843 in Clausthal (Harz). After graduation he began his studies in 1862, where he initially turned to mathematics. However, after only two months, he discovered his interest in medicine.
During this time, the anthrax was raging across Europe and many animals died. Robert Koch wanted to get to the bottom of this disease. In microscopic examinations small, rod-shaped bodies had been found at this time, but their role within the course of the disease could not be defined. In addition, it was not clear yet whether these were living things at all and how a possible infection route should work.
Certain pathogens cause certain diseases
Robert Koch succeeded in 1876 in proving that they were indeed living creatures that grew, multiplied, and produced the resilient spores that, under favorable conditions, are capable of developing new anthrax bacilli. Koch was the first to prove that certain diseases are caused by very specific pathogens.
A new science was born: bacteriology. The first pathogen was discovered and could be bred in the lab. Now it was also possible to develop methods that could fight the pathogen.
In 1877 Koch perfected microscopy to improve the possibilities of investigating bacterial cultures. It was possible to make the first micrographs of microorganisms.
In 1881 he publishes his improved breeding method of bacterial cultures. The new technique makes it possible to precisely differentiate the individual strains of pathogens.
Koch - the discoverer of the tubercle bacterium
On March 24, 1882, the publication follows the discovery of the tuberculosis pathogen. The discovery of the tubercle bacterium was a great moment of medical research and the culmination of Koch's scientific career. She pointed the way to overcoming one of the most devastating epidemics. The discovery is considered the definitive proof of the existence of bacterial pathogens.
In 1891 he became director of the Institute for Infectious Diseases, which had been built for him and later received the name Robert Koch Institute. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin is today a central monitoring and research institution of Germany and directly subordinate to the Ministry of Health.
In 1905, Robert Koch receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his investigations and the discovery of tuberculins.
The Robert Koch Institute
The main tasks of the RKI are the detection, prevention and control of diseases, especially infectious diseases. In addition, the RKI has an important role to play in the epidemiological and medical analysis and evaluation of high-risk diseases.