Karl O. Landsteiner, M.D.

Karl O. Landsteiner

 Brief Bio

Karl Otto Landsteiner (1868–1943) was born on June 14, 1868, in Vienna. After earning his M.D. from the University of Vienna in 1891, Landsteiner spent five years studying under some of Europe's leading organic chemists, including Emil Fischer in W├╝rtzburg, Eugen von Bamberger in Munich, and Arthur Hantzsch and Roland Scholl in Zurich. In 1896, he returned to Vienna as an assistant to Max von Gruber at the Institute of Hygeine, where he began his work in immunology.10 Two years later, he accepted an appointment as an assistant at the Pathological-Anatomical Institute at the University of Vienna. He remained at the institute until 1907, performing autopsies and pathological examinations and publishing more than 75 papers. From 1908 to 1918, Landsteiner continued his research as chief pathologist at the Wilhelmina Hospital, but, constrained by the shortage of resources for conducting scientific research in postwar Vienna, he explored options abroad, and, in 1919, he relocated to begin work as a pathologist at R. K. Ziekenhuis, a small hospital in The Hague. Upon receiving Simon Flexner's (AAI '20) offer of a position at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, Landsteiner moved with his family to New York in the spring of 1923. Naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1929, Landsteiner spent two decades at the Rockefeller Institute, continuing his research there even after his 1939 change in status to member emeritus.11

Landsteiner died on June 26, 1943, shortly after suffering a heart attack in his Rockefeller Institute laboratory. He was 75.

 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

1930, “for his discovery of human blood groups.”

 Lasker Award

1946 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award with Alexander Wiener and Philip Levine “for the discovery of the Rh factor and its significance as a cause of maternal, prenatal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.” Click here for more details.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1922
President: 1927–1928
Councillor: 1926–1927, 1928–1933

The Journal of Immunology
Advisory Board: 1924–1935
Board of Editors: 1937–1942
Associate Editor: 1943

 President's Address

"Cell Antigens and Individual Specificity," Delivered April 30, 1928

The Journal of Immunology 15, no. 6 (1928): 589–600.

 Awards and Honors

  • Member, Imperial Society of Physicians in Vienna, 1902
  • Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, 1911
  • Hans Aronson Foundation Prize, 1926
  • Honorary foreign member, German Academy of Sciences, 1927
  • Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 1930
  • Paul Ehrlich Medal, 1930
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1932
  • Dutch Red Cross Medal, 1933
  • Member, American Philosophical Society, 1935
  • Honorary foreign member, Royal Society, 1941
  • Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, 1946

 Institutional/Biographical Links