Heymans Institute

Heymans Institute for Pharmacology

The history of the Heymans Institute for Pharmacology closely parallels the evolution of modern pharmacology. The institute was founded in 1890, when professor Jan-Frans Heymans (1859-1932) was called to take the first chair of experimental pharmacology in Belgium.

The Institute was initially devoted to the practice of experimental medicine. Making use of carefully planned preparations of the animal in toto, the experimental work performed aimed at elucidating the regulatory mechanisms of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and accessorily, the effect of drugs on these systems.

Corneel HeymansThis work culminated in the fundamental discovery, by professor Corneel HEYMANS (1892-1968), of the carotid and cardioaortic reflexogenic chemoreceptor areas and their role in the regulation of respiration, for which he was awarded the NOBEL PRIZE 1938 in Physiology and Medicine.

After World War II, endeavours at the Heymans Institute, as reflected by expansion and diversification of both staff and equipment and by scientific production, were oriented towards activities in the field of pharmacology sensu proprio. These activities are manifest at the three levels of expertise and responsibility of the Institute : teaching, research and service.

Heymans Memorial Lectures

In 1972, professor André De Schaepdryver (1926-2011) established the Heymans Foundation to preserve the scientific heritage of Corneel Heymans.

The Foundation  organizes the Heymans Memorial Lectures, delivered by the most distinguished researchers in the field of physiology and pharmacology at special occasions. In commemoration of their lecture, the Heymans Memorial Lectures are awarded the Heymans Foundation Medal.

Heymans Foundation Medal
Heymans Foundation Medal

Till now, 12 Heymans Memorial Lectures were given, that in 1977 being a double lecture. The 11th lecture was delivered at the occasion of the “Nobel Prize Corneel Heymans 1938 – 75 Years Memorial Symposium” in Ghent on November 7, 2013.

1st Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, March 24, 1972
Some aspects of the actions of prostaglandins
U.S. VON EULER, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Noble Prize 1970

2nd Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, March 29, 1974
The role of the biochemist in medical research in the past and the future
E. CHAIN, University of London, England
Nobel Prize 1945

3rd Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, May 6, 1977
50 Years of research on the pharmacodynamics of psychotropic drugs
D. BOVET, University of Rome, Italy
Nobel Prize 1957
Development of ideas about noradrenaline receptors
J. BLACK, University of London, England
Nobel Prize 1988

4th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Brussels, October 29, 1983
Drugs for developing countries : Strategies for the control of infectious diseases
P.A. JANSSEN, Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium

5th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, February 17, 1990
G. BURNSTOCK, University College London, England

6th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Brussels, November 27, 1992
De betekenis van het basaal medisch biologisch onderzoek voor de geneeskunde
D. DE WIED, Rudolf Magnus Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands

7th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, February 18, 1995
Physiological aspects of small arteries
M.J. MULVANY, University of Aarhus, Denmark

8th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Knokke, October 17, 1998
Lessons of Life
C. DE DUVE, Institute of Cellular Pathology, Brussels, Belgium
Nobel Prize 1974

9th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, November 8, 2006
Nitric oxide as a unique signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system
L. IGNARRO, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Nobel Prize 1998

10th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Brussels, October 25, 2008
Pharmacogenomics and individualized drug therapy
M. EICHELBAUM, University of Tübingen, Germany

11th Heymans Memorial Lecture – Ghent, November 7, 2013
Gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory effects of hydrogen sulfide releasing molecules
J. WALLACE, McMaster University, Hamilton and Antibe Therapeutics Inc., Toronto, Canada

12th Heymans Memorial Lecture - Ghent, September 14, 2015
Development of arterial stiffness as a cardiovascular biomarker
S. LAURENT, Pharmacology Department & INSERM U 970, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, France