Joseph Jules Dejerine (1849-1917) was one of the founder of the French Neurological Society. Born from French parents in Switzerland, he worked as volunteer in a Geneve hospital during the Franco-Prussian War, so deciding to study medicine in Paris.
In 1877 he was appointed to the Hôpital Bicêtre, where he organised a pathological laboratory. As pupil and soon co-worker of both Charcot and Vulpian, Dejenerine combined the anatomo-clinical approach of the former with the experimental-clinical method of the latter. In particular, in the first part of his life, probably influenced by Charcot, he was devoted to study higher brain functions, becoming a pioneer in the study of localisation of function (speech and memory) in the brain. Rapidly he became associate professor (1886) and Médecin en chef at the Bicêtre (1887). He also worked at the Salpêtrière from 1895, becoming professor of the history of medicine in 1901 and then Professeur de clinique des maladies du système nerveux. Dejerine’s numerous publications span a period of more than 40 years; his works focused on anatomical and anatomo-pathological studies, which he conducted with the help of his wife Auguste Marie Klumpke (1859-1927, an American-born physician and the first woman to be appointed as doctor in a French hospital). In the last decade of his life, Dejerine developed an interest in psychiatry and psychotherapy. He died working as physician in a military hospital during Great War.
His name is currently associated to numerous eponyms, due to his fundamental clinic-pathological studies: