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August von Wassermann (1866–1925)
  1. L F Haas

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    Wassermann was a German physician and bacteriologist who was educated at the Universities of Erlangen, Vienna, Munich, and Strasbourg. He graduated in 1888. From 1890 he was a student of Robert Koch at the Institute of Infectious Diseases in Berlin and in 1907 became head of the department of therapeutics and serum research. In 1913 he moved to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. Here he was director of experimental therapeutics until his death 12 years later. Wassermann is best remembered for the Wassermann test or reaction, which he developed in association with the German dermatologist Albert Neisser. The Wassermann test was the predecessor of today’s Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test for the diagnosis of infection with syphilis. Wassermann also developed a treatment for diphtheria and vaccinations for cholera, tetanus, and typhoid fever. Alhough not portrayed on a postage stamp, Wassermann has been portrayed on a German postmark.