Robert Remak (1815-1865), a German-Jewish neurologist whose expertise extended to embryology, physiology, and microscopy. Born in Posen (Prussia), in what is now west-central Poland, Remak studied at the University of Berlin where he became assistant to Johannes Mueller. Remak made pioneering contributions to histological technique, so essential to adequate microscopy of tissues infiltrated with pathogenic bodies. Using blue copper sulphate in alcoholic vinegar to harden and stain dividing cell membranes, Remak discovered that cells are formed by division of pre-existing cells. Such basic data were fundamental for the understanding of bacterial multiplication, survival, and behavior in the pathogenesis of disease. Anti-Semitism appears to have dogged Remak's advancement. Made independently of Rudolf Virchow, Remak's discovery contradicted the prevailing orthodoxy of Schwann (Anderson, 1986).
Last modified 25 January 2017