Two famous medical men from Vienna, Johann Peter Frank (1745—1821) and his son Joseph (1771—1842), were invited to Vilnius University by the Rector in 1804. The father stayed in Vilnius for ten months, but even during this short period he managed to establish a therapeutic clinic and worked out a plan for the reorganisation of the Medical faculty. After he left for St.Petersburg, his son Joseph Frank took over the therapeutic clinic.
Joseph Frank also headed the Department of Pathology and laid the background for the Museum of Pathology Anatomy. He also founded one of the first vaccination institutes in Europe (1808), the Maternity Institute (1809), the Out-patients' Clinic (1807), etc. The Vilnius Medical Society, the first of its kind in Lithuania and Poland, was founded on the initiative of Professor Joseph Frank. One of the great things he did was to rear a number of talented professors of medicine out of his students.
Professor J. Frank together with his wife Kristin Gerhardy, a talented Viennese singer, took an active part in the cultural life of the city. The philanthrophic activities of Joseph Frank and the help he gave to the poor must have reached Honoré de Balzac – Le D. Benassis, the main hero in the novel Le Medicin de Compagne (1832—1833) is said to possess some features of the famous professor.