Women and Science

Klieneberger, Emmy | Über die Größe und Beschaffenheit der Zellkerne mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Systematik.

  • First edition, first impression of the doctoral dissertation of prominent bacteriologist Emmy Klieneberger-Nobel (1892-1985).

    Klieneberger-Nobel’s doctorate was in botany, with mathematics and zoology as areas of special interest. This, her dissertation, is on the nature of cell nuclei. After graduation she worked part-time in the zoology laboratory at Goethe University and then found a position as a bacteriologist at the Hygiene Institute in Frankfurt. “Although she knew little about bacteriology when she began, by 1930 she had become a member of the German Society for Hygiene and Bacteriology and a member of the institute’s medical faculty” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 705).

    After Hitler’s ascent, Klieneberger-Nobel emigrated to the UK, where she obtained two further degrees at London University joined the staff of the Lister Institute. Her main area of research were the mycoplasma, the genus of microbes which lacked a cell wall and were suspected to be an intermediate form of life between bacteria and viruses. “She discovered a variant, known as the ‘L-form’, which she named for the Lister Institute. Recognising that there were variants within the mycoplasma, Klieneberger-Nobel developed a medium to grow the mycoplasma that caused an unusual strain of bronchopneumonia in rodents. She found that after incubating for several days, colonies had grown that were similar to those of the well-known pleuropneumonia and agalactia. New morphological forms were found in dogs as well as rodents, and a saprophytic strain was found in sewage and soil” (Ogilvie, p. 705).

    “Dr. Albert Sabin in the United States had a described a ‘rolling disease’ that resulted from toxoplasma infection of mouse brains. After Klieneberger-Nobel had written to Sabin, he sent her freeze-dried brains of infected mice. She successfulyl grew cultures from his samples in her special medium and shared her results with Sabin. Before her work could be published in the Lancet, Sabin published his results in Science, neglecting to mention Klieneberger-Nobel’s part in his results” (Ogilvie, p. 705). Klieneberger-Nobel identified several other mycoplasma diseases. She discovered that the rat disease polyarthritis was caused by mycoplasma in the animals’ joint fluid, and her work later led to the isolation of the human illness Mycoplasma pneummoniae.

  • ...Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde der hohen naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Königlichen Universität zu Frankfurt a. M. Dresden: Druck von C. Heinrich, 1917.

    Duodecimo. Original yellow wrappers printed in black. 1 plate. Diagrams and charts within the text. Three institutional ink stamps to the upper wrapper. Wrappers tanned with some short closed tears, splits and and chips at the ends of the spine and the corners of the upper wrapper. Contents tanned. A very good copy.