Otto Hutter

Biography of Otto Hutter

Otto Hutter
Otto Hutter

Otto Fred Hutter (1924-2020) was Regius Professor of Physiology from 1971 to 1990, and later Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Hutter was born in Austria to Isaac, a solicitor, and Elisabeth. In Vienna, he took an early interest in science when his mother would show him how to dissect animals from the market.

In 1938, Hutter was one of the last sign-ups for the first Kindertransport out of Vienna. He would later speak about his escape from the Holocaust and his father’s arrest during Kristallnacht. His sister, Rita, followed him to England later, but his parents are thought to have been killed in 1943, having fled to relatives in Poland.

In England, Hutter was offered a place at Bishop's Stortford College, Hertfordshire, where he did well. He went on to become a laboratory assistant at the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories at Beckenham, Kent. At the same time, he was travelling into London for classes at Chelsea Polytechnic and studying chemistry at Birkbeck College at the weekends.

Hutter graduated BSc and PhD from University College, London after the Second World War. He worked at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore on a Rockefeller fellowship, before returning to UCL as a researcher and then lecturer in the Department of Physiology. He was a member of the staff of the National Institute for Medical Research from 1961 until he came to Glasgow ten years later.

Hutter's primary research interests lay in the fields of neuromuscular and synaptic transmission and cardiac and skeletal muscle. He was an international authority on the movement of ions across membranes. His work on the relationship between the nervous system and the pacemaker functions of the human heart enabled the development of artificial pacemakers.

The University of Glasgow's Holocaust Memorial Lecture Series was initiated in 2001 by Hutter and Professor Bernard Wasserstein, and has since become a key fixture in the University's event calendar, attended by a large and diverse audience. The project is sponsored by The Association of Jewish Refugees.

He was the speaker at the 2018 Holocaust memorial lecture at Glasgow, tracing almost all of his 37 fellow class pupils from Chajes Real Gymnasium, Vienna.

Hutter married Yvonne Brown, a nurse, in 1948. They went on to have four children. While he was a Professor at Glasgow, the family owned a holiday flat at Kilchattan Bay on the Isle of Bute, where they enjoyed gardening, walking and fishing.

Professor Otto Hutter passed away on 22nd November 2020.


Otto Hutter

Born 29 February 1924.
Died 22 November 2020.
University Link: Professor
GU Degree:
Occupation categories: physiologists
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Record last updated: 18th Dec 2020

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