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Biographical entry Pichlmayr, Rudolf (1932 - 1997)

Hon FRCS 1987; Hon FACS.

16 May 1932
Munich, Germany
29 August 1997
Acapulco, Mexico
Transplant surgeon


Rudolf Pichlmayr was a pioneering German transplant surgeon. He was born on 16 May 1932 in Munich, Germany. He graduated from the University of Munich Medical School in 1956, and in 1959 started his career in medicine at the same university. He qualified as a surgeon in 1964. In 1967, he presented his postdoctoral thesis to the medical faculty of the University of Munich for qualification as a privatdozent, and in the same year became an assistant professor.

In 1968 he and Hans George Borst moved to the Medizinische Hochschule in Hanover to develop the new department of surgery. A year later, Pichlmayr was appointed as professor of transplantation and special surgery, and in 1973 he was endowed with the first chair of abdominal and transplantation surgery. He served his faculty as dean for education from 1974 to 1978, as deputy head for research from 1989 to 1991, and as chairman of the ethical committee from 1984.

Pichlmayr carried out the first kidney transplantation in Hanover in 1968, and the first liver transplantation in 1972. He subsequently initiated and supervised a large number of experimental and clinical research programmes in the field of transplantation surgery and biology. Together with his wife Ina Pichlmayr he established the Foundation for Rehabilitation following Organtransplantation in Dolsach, Austria. Aside from transplantation, Rudolf Pichlmayr was an internationally recognised expert on abdominal surgery, particularly liver surgery and surgical oncology.

He was President of numerous national and international scientific societies and organisations, including the German Medical Association and the department of health of the federal government in Bonn. As President of the German Association for Surgery, Rudolf Pichalmyr organised the 113th annual congress in Berlin in 1996. He was a member of many surgical societies, including the European Society for Surgical Research and received prestigious awards and honours, including honorary Fellowships of the College and of American College of Surgeons.

He published a number of books and was also on the editorial boards of several surgical and transplantation journals.

Pichlmayr died on 29 August 1997, during the 37th World Congress of Surgery in Acapulco, Mexico, while taking a morning swim. He had five children with his wife Ina.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Eur Surg Res 1998;30;77-78, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England