Nebraska Academy of Sciences


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1987. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, xv: 83-85. Copyright © 1987 Krush


Moriz (Moritz, Moric, Moricz) Kaposi, whose original surname was Kohn, was born in Kaposvar, Hungary on October 23, 1837. Though his parents were poor, he completed his early education at Pressburg, Bratislava, and in 1861 received an M.D. degree at the University of Vienna. From 1866 to 1869 he was an assistant to Dr. Ferdinand Hebra, founder and chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Vienna. He proceeded from "Privatdozent" to associate professor, and later assumed Hebra's chair until his own death on March 6, 1902. Kaposi was intimately involved in almost every clinical dermatologic advance of his time. He published widely; students and patients came from many countries to his clinic in Vienna. His trainees later occupied chairs of Dermatology at many other European universities. The first descriptions of several dermatologic conditions are attributed to Kaposi, two of which are pigmented sarcoma of the skin (Kaposi's sarcoma) in 1872 and xeroderma pigmentosum (XDP) in 1882. His descriptive and clinical studies of patients with XDP antedated the discovery of the recessive inheritance pattern and the fact that ultraviolet light sets up the mechanism for malignant melanoma of the skin. He did, indeed, recognize the seriousness of the condition and its precancerous nature.

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