He studied medicine in Würzburg and Heidelberg, obtaining his medical doctorate in 1849. Afterwards, he worked as an assistant in the medical clinic at Würzburg, then furthered his education in Vienna and Paris. In Paris, he demonstrated through inoculation experiments that secondary syphilis was as contagious as primary syphilis. In 1853 he became privat-docent at Munich, followed by an associate professorship several years later (1859). In 1863 he was appointed a full professor of dermatology and venereal diseases in Munich, later becoming director of the second medical clinic at the general hospital (1869).