Logos Hygiene DE 

Historie des Instituts


In Innsbruck, like at other universities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, hygiene used to be taught as part of the teaching of "government pharmaceutics." In 1897, the Chair for Hygiene was founded by the Medical Faculty in Innsbruck, and Alois Lode, who had trained with Max von Gruber in Vienna, became the first professor and chair holder. In 1899, it was established that an oral examination in hygiene should be compulsory for the medical doctoral degree. After retirement in 1937, Lode was succeeded by Friedrich Weigmann (until 1946), Walter Hauptmann, and in 1953 by Alfred Schinzl.


In 1972 a second chair was founded (Hygiene II, Environmental Hygiene), and Johannes Benger was appointed as professor. He chaired the institute together with Alfred Schinzl (Hygiene I, i.e. General Hygiene and Microbiology) who retired in 1975. His succession was put out to tender together with the new chair for Social Medicine not before the untimely death of Johannes Benger in 1980.


In 1980, the organisational direction was obtained by the Dean of the University (Kryspin Exner), while Walter Kofler headed the institute (Hygiene I and II) for the interim. In 1982, Erich Semenitz became the chairman of Hygiene I for the interim.


Manfred Paul Dierich from the Institute of Medical Microbiology in Mainz, Germany (Chair held by Prof. Paul Klein) followed Johannes Benger in 1983 and headed the Institute of Hygiene. Walter Kofler was appointed to the chair of the Institute of Social Medicine in the same year. Georg Stöffler followed Alfred Schinzl in 1984 to chair the Institute of Microbiology.


There was close collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for AIDS research, established in 1986, jointly headed by Manfred P. Dierich and Helmut Wachter (Institute of Medical Chemistry).


In addition, in 1988 Manfred P. Dierich became director of the Federal Bacteriology and Serology Institute (BBSUA). Thus, the prior connection between the Institute of Hygiene and the BBSUA, essential for education not only of medical students, was re-established. According to a faculty decision in 1988, the Institute of Social Medicine became independent, but in 1999 it was reunited with the Institute of Hygiene, as a consequence of the new university law (UOG 93), to form the new Institute of Hygiene and Social Medicine.

In 1988, Manfred P. Dierich was offered the Chair for Medical Microbiology in Mainz to become the successor of Paul Klein; after long and intensive negotiations he decided to stay in Innsbruck in 1989. As a consequence, the building Schöpfstr. 41 was reconstructed and profoundly renovated, and in 1994 the research groups of the institute got new labs and offices built on top of the old building. A “L3-lab”, equipped with all safety precautions, was established for work with HIV and a second one for multiresistant and hazardous bacteria.


The Austrian Reference Centre for Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) was established at the Institute of Hygiene and transferred to the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES)/Vienna in 2009.

The Austrian Reference Centres for Botulism and for Listeria monocytogenes were located at our division from 1999-2007, and then also transferred to the AGES/Vienna. 


Following a reorganization of the existing 27 federal health institutions, the BBSUA, as one of them, became an integral part of the Institute of Hygiene and Social Medicine in 2002, enabling the institute to offer the whole spectrum of microbiology to students of any kind and for training specialists in medical microbiology. In addition, diagnostic experiences, concerning all spectra could now be gained under “one roof”, and science profited from this arrangement. It had existed as such during the chairmanship of Alois Lode.


The institute became part of Innsbruck Medical University, generated by separating the Medical Faculty from the Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck within the scope of the new law (UOG 2002).

The name of the institute changed to “Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology”, which forms the “Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine” together with the “Division of Social Medicine”.


Manfred P. Dierich was appointed as Vice Rector for Education and Study Affairs from 2005-2009 and as Deputy Rector of the Medical University from 2008-2009. He retired in 2009 at the end of the term.


From 01.10.2009 to 31.12.2009 Walter Kofler was head of the Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine. 


The Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology was split into a ‘Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology’, headed by Cornelia Lass-Flörl, and a ‘Division of Virology’, headed by Dorothee von Laer. 

Scientific projects can be seen in detail on the homepages of the staff and comprise the function and interactions of the complement system in human mechanisms of innate immunity, host-pathogen interactions, pathogenesis and treatment of fungal infections and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli, epidemiology of tuberculosis, hospital hygiene and development of new antimicrobial agents and antiseptics.


Designation as Reference Centre for Aspergillus and Aspergillus infections.


Relocation of the entire institute from Fritz-Pregl-Straße 3 to Schöpfstraße 41.


The name of the Division changed to "Institute of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology".