The Center for Brain Research is a young institution. But the building it is located in is close to its 150th anniversary. Back in the 19th century, Vienna still being the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire, medical sciences at the University of Vienna was world leading in a multitude of disciplines. This creative atmosphere is better known as the "Zweite Wiener Medizinische Schule". One of the leading scientific figures in that surrounding was the pathologist Carl Rokitansky (1804 - 1878). After long years of working in his narrow dissecting rooms in the old AKH, he could convince the government to build a new institution. In 1862 construction works finished and on May 24th that year the grand opening of the "Pathologisch-anatomisches und chemisches Institut" was celebrated. Written on top of the roof one can still read the Latin sentence "Indagandis sedibus et causis morborum" which was a dedication to a famous book on pathology: "De sedibus et causis morborum per anatomen indagatis" (The seats and Causes of Diseases, Investigated by Anatomy) written by Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682 - 1771).
For the next 130 years the building sheltered the Institute for Pathology of the University of Vienna. Generations of pathologists have served in this institution, among them Karl Landsteiner (1868 - 1943), who made his fundamental discoveries on blood groups in this building, an achievement that led him to win the Nobel Price for Medicine or Physiology in 1930.
In 1991 the Institute for Pathology moved to the newly built complex of the General Hospital of Vienna across the street. After adapting and renovating it, in 2000 this building became the home for the newly founded Center for Brain Research.