He studied medicine at the University of Munich as a pupil of Hubert von Grashey, obtaining his doctorate in 1894. He later worked as an assistant to Carl Wernicke at Breslau (1894–98), followed by service as a senior physician under Eduard Hitzig at the University of Halle. In 1903 he succeeded Theodor Ziehen as a full professor of psychiatry at the University of Utrecht.
- "Heilbronner's sign": (Heilbronner thigh) - In cases of organic paralysis, a flattening and broadening of the thigh when the patient lies supine on a hard surface.
- Über Krankheitsdauer und Todesursachen bei der progressiven Paralyse, 1894 – On duration of illness and causes of death in progressive paralysis.
- Aphasie und Geisteskrankheit, 1896 – Aphasia and insanity.
- Über Asymbolie, 1897 – On asymbolia.
- Über Gewöhnung auf normalen und pathologischen Gebiete, 1912 – On habituation in normal and pathological areas.
- Catalogus Professorum Halensis biography
- Deutschsprachige Neurologen und Psychiater: Ein biographisch ..., Volume 1 by Alma Kreuter
- Medical Dictionary Heilbronner, Karl
- Google Books Physical Signs in Medicine and Surgery
- Google Books published works