Edwin Klebs: In 1867, the medical faculty of the university appointed the 32-year-old Edwin Klebs, until then assistant to Rudolf Virchow in Berlin, as full professor of pathology. His work "Die Ursache der infectiösen Wundkrankheiten" (The Cause of Infectious Wound Diseases), published in 1871, is considered a milestone in the microbial pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

Wound infections

Theodor Kocher: At about the same time, Theodor Kocher, as a 27-year-old assistant surgeon, introduced Josef Lister's antiseptic surgical and dressing methodology in Bern. To advance the study of wound infections, Kocher commissioned his associate Ernst Tavel to set up a bacteriological laboratory in 1866.

The first bacteriological laboratory

Ernst Tavel: Tavel dealt with infectious diseases earlier, for example in his dissertation (1880) "Über den Muskelechinococcus", later in his works "Recherches sur le bacille de Lustgarten", as well as "Zur Geschichte der Smegmabazillen" and "Zwei Fälle von Gastroenteritis nach Genuss eines Schinkens. Evidence of anthrax in the same". In view of the rapid development, the previous laboratory soon no longer met the requirements.

1896: Foundation stone for today's institute

In 1896, Tavel was able to move into a newly constructed building. In 1899, Tavel applied to name the new institute the "Institute for the Study of Infectious Diseases", but this was rejected due to opposition, especially from the internist Hermann Sahli (he feared that this would lead to the creation of a clinical department! The Bernese government council finally decided to officially name the institute the "Institute for the Research of Infectious Diseases". Thus, a little more than 100 years ago, the foundation stones for today's institution were laid.

The most important milestone in the last decades was the creation of an infectiology department in the 90's of the last century, which was established under the direction of a full professor both at the institute and at the Inselspital. Shortly thereafter, the then "Institute of Medical Microbiology" (IMM) was also renamed the "Institute of Infectious Diseases" (IFIK).

Bernese Contributions to Clinical Microbiology and Infectiology 1800-2000