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About us
The Walter Brendel Centre of Experimental Medicine (WBex) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München is a newly established research institution which integrates the Institute for Surgical Research and the Institute of Cardiovascular Physiology into a research centre dedicated to perform basic research at the clinical interface. Cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction or stroke are the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. Basic research in this area is therefore essential and will significantly contribute to uncover the physiological and pathophysiological processes underlying cardiovascular diseases. From this knowledge, the development of novel promising treatment strategies can be promoted with the intention to reduce both mortality and morbidity of cardiovascular diseases. To reach these goals, one of our main missions is our strong support for translational medicine which will accelerate bringing those novel treatment strategies from bench to bedside.
Who was Walter Brendel?
Walter Brendel is the "patron" of the centre. His name was not only choosen because he was the first director of the Institute for Surgical Research  which is now part of  the WBex. He was also a physiologist and one of the first in Germany to establish a research institute which tried to combine basic research with clinical topics to promote new concepts and developments in diseases subject to surgical treatment.

He was born in 1922. After his medical studies in Heidelberg and his doctorate in 1948, he started his research career at the famous Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt which was leading in circulatory physiology. He became interested in temperature regulation and the effects of hypothermia where he made seminal findings on cold-induced brain edema and microvascular impairment at low body temperature. He became a faculty member of the LMU Munich in 1961.

Together with the chairman for surgery, Rudolph Zenker, he started surgical research projects and built up an institute with many international relations. The institute became even better known world wide because of the anti lymphocyte serum which was an effective treatment to suppress organ rejection and led to a cooperation with Prof. Barnard in the early heart transplantations. In the mid seventies Walter Brendel started research on the clinical application of shock waves. Indeed, the development of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, the fragmentation of stones in the gall bladder, the ureteric tract and other locations is one of the hallmarks in the history of the Institute for Surgical Research. Furthermore, detailed studies of the microcirculation and the development of the concept of hemodilution as well as the the pathophysiology and treatment of neurotrauma became very successful scientific focus. Walter Brendel was a very charismatic person who motivated young physicians to seek new ways for the understanding and treatment of diseases and produced a unique environment both for scientific and social activities. It is no surprise that many researchers in Germany and overseas who had worked in his institute became famous researchers and clinicians. Walter Brendel died in 1989.