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Karl Landsteiner

Karl Landsteiner in his laboratory at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (Rockefeller University). New York, 1930

Born in the Lower Austrian town of Baden, south of Vienna, the biologist and physician Karl Landsteiner is a key figure in the history of medicine. His outstanding contributions to medical science include the classification of human blood types into the three principal groups of A, B and O in 1901, as well as the joint discovery of the Rhesus factor with Alexander Wiener in 1940. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1930 in recognition of his work.

Karl Landsteiner’s blood group classification system was the key to advances such as blood transfusions, improved surgical techniques, paternity tests and the identification of blood stains in the field of forensic medicine.