1847 – Born on the 25th of July in Berlin, Germany.
1868 – He used the technique taught to him by Julius Friedrich Cohnheim to stain a sample of human skin with gold chloride and identified the cells which bear his name.
1869 – He presented a thesis entitled “Contributions to the microscopic anatomy of the pancreas”, in which he refers to islands of clear cells throughout the gland, staining differently than the surrounding tissue.
1871 – Rudolf Virchow arranged a position for him as prosector in pathological anatomy at the University of Freiburg, and within two years he became a full professor.
1874 – He contracted tuberculosis, very likely because of his work in the dissecting room. In search of a cure, he travelled to Naples, Palermo, the island of Capri, and underwent treatments at Davos and Silvaplana in Switzerland, but all in vain: he was forced to apply for release from his university duties.
1875 – He embarked for Funchal on the island of Madeira, where he made a partial recovery and launched himself into a new career with undiminished energy.
1885 – He married Margarethe Ebart, the widow of one of his patients.
1887 – He gave a lecture on these topics to the Royal Academy in Berlin.
1888 – He died of uraemia on the 20th of July, 5 days before his 41st birthday. He is buried in the British cemetery on Madeira, a place he had chosen, describing it as a “true graveyard, isolated and quiet, a good place to rest”.