In Memoriam

Click on the name below to see their tribute

Paul M. Vanhoutte, MD/PhD/DHC 

1940 – 2019

Manfred Göthert, MD/DHC/DHC

1939 – 2019


In Memoriam 








Paul M. Vanhoutte, MD/PhD/DHC 

1940 – 2019


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Professor Paul M. Vanhoutte, without whom the Serotonin Club (renamed the International Society for Serotonin Research, ISSR in 2012) would not be.  Dr. Vanhoutte passed on August 23, 2019, following complications resulting from a severe fall ten days earlier.  Dr. Vanhoutte is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; children, Valerie, Jacqueline Jr., Paul Robert and Alexis; and grandchildren, Elina, Evita, Claire, Elio, Remi, Natalie and Katherine Emma.


Dr Vanhoutte founded the Serotonin Club in 1987, Heron Island, Australia.  He was one of the giants in the field of serotonin research and a staunch advocate of the “Club”.  His seminal findings include the discovery that serotonin is an important modulator of blood vessel constriction, which led to a burgeoning of research into the cardiovascular actions of serotonin.  Dr. Vanhoutte’s illustrious career took him to all corners of the world.  Among the many positions Dr. Vanhoutte held, he was an integral part of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR). He chaired the IUPHAR Committee for Receptor Nomenclature from 1989 to 1998, served as Secretary General from 1998 to 2002, and President of the Union from 2002 to 2006.  He is the recipient of countless awards and honors, including being named an honorary member of the ISSR in 2012.  In recognition of Dr. Vanhoutte’s enormous contributions to the field of serotonin research, pharmacology, and to his dedication to mentoring trainees and faculty at all levels, the ISSR created a named lectureship in his honor.  The society was humbled to have Paul deliver the inaugural Paul Vanhoutte Distinguished Lectureship during the 2016 meeting of the ISSR, in Seattle, Washington, USA.  Those fortunate enough to be in attendance will remember how truly wonderful his lecture was, and how moving the standing ovation that followed was for all present, including Paul.  Paul was epitomized by his humility, collegiality, integrity, humor, and winning smile.  He will be sorely missed.

--Lynette C. Daws, PhD., ISSR President 2015-2016


Click here for Dr. Vanhoutte’s biography


A Tribute to Dr. Vanhoutte

by Danny Hoyer, Michael Collis, Richard Bond, Michael Spedding 


Paul M Vanhoutte passed away in Paris, France, on August 23rd 2019. Paul will be remembered as a leading figure in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology, as a great friend and mentor by those who were lucky enough to work with him, either in his lab or throughout his multiple activities. The 5-HT club will remember Paul for the creation of the Club in 1986/1987 (now ISSR), the numerous meetings that the club could organize following an initial number of special 5-HT meetings (1984 Zurich; 1986 Florence; 1988 Amsterdam & Munich; 1989, New York and Maui/ Hawaii; 1990 Cambridge; 1991, Birmingham & Houston, etc…) and satellite meetings to IUPHAR (1987 Heron Island; 1990 Basel, the latter was the basis for our financial stability), and then every subsequent IUPHAR meeting; the creation of the IUPHAR nomenclature committee as well as subcommittees (5-HT joined the club in 1990 when we met in Basel with Pat Humphrey, Paul Hartig, Terry Branchek, Graeme Martin, Manfred Goethert, Pramod Saxena, Ewan Mylecharane, John Fozard, Michel Hamon, Steve Peroutka and many others), and made very significant contributions to a new approach to receptor nomenclature which was by and large adopted by the other nomenclature committees; and is now updated every year in the BJP Guide to Pharmacology. 

Alexander SP and CGTP Collaborators: (2017) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2017/18: G protein coupled receptors. Br. J. Pharmacol. 174 Suppl 1: S17-S117. PMID: 29055037

Hoyer D, Martin GR. (1997) Classification and nomenclature of 5-HT receptors: Towards a harmonisation with the human genome. Neuropharmacology, 36: 419-428. PMID: 9225265, 432 cites

Hoyer D, Martin GR. (1996) Classification and nomenclature of 5-HT receptors: a comment on current issues. Behav. Brain Res. 73: 263-268. PMID: 8788515 170 cites

Hartig et al (1996) Alignment of receptor nomenclature with the human genome. Effects on classification of 5-HT1D/5-HT1B receptor subtypes, TiPS, 17: 103-105. PMID: 8936345 299 cites

Hoyer et al (1994). International Union of Pharmacology classification of receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine (Serotonin). Pharmacol Rev, 46:157-203. PMID: 7813563 3462 cites

Humphrey et al (1993). A new nomenclature for 5-HT receptors. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 14: 233-236.  653 cites

DH met Paul Vanhoutte in Zurich in 1984 at a cardiovascular meeting and since then, we have always been in touch. We had dinner in Melbourne only a few months ago (Paul was a regular visitor and was also here to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Geoff Burnstock, another legend earlier this year). Paul was very optimistic about his disease and kept travelling with great enthusiasm and energy. Everyone remembers with emotion the standing ovation, when Paul was made a honorary member of the club in 2012 in Montpellier, or when he attended the inaugural Paul Vanhoutte lecture in Seattle in 2016. Paul was also instrumental in helping with financial support for our more recent satellite meetings.

Paul was born and trained in Belgium (BS, MS, MD). He received postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA), which was the start of a long-term association with John Shepherd and the Clinic. Paul`s subsequent career spanned academia, industry and three continents. He held professorial positions at the University of Antwerp, The Mayo Clinic, and Baylor College of Medicine, where he was also Director of the Centre for Experimental Therapeutics. Paul moved to industry as Vice-President R&D, and Director of Discovery Research at the Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier, in France (1992 – 2002). From 2003 until his death (he never retired), he returned to academia at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong as Distinguished Visiting Professor, Director/ Founder of the Biopharmaceutical Development Centre and Head of Department. 

Paul made many major contributions to Pharmacology and was awarded honorary fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society in 2006. He gave a number of prize lectures during his career including the BPS JR Vane Medal prize lecture in 2004. Named lectures in his honour have been created by the American Society for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the ISSR. Paul had major roles in IUPHAR (International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology), chairing the Committee for Receptor Nomenclature (1989 – 1998), was Secretary General (1998 – 2002), and President of the Union (2002 – 2006). He received honorary doctorates from 9 universities, was a member of many learned societies and an honorary member of the Physiological Society. 

Paul had a prodigious scientific output having co-authored or edited 36 books, published 669 original research papers, and 574 editorials, reviews or chapters in books. He was a Highly Cited Researcher (ISI) in three categories: Biology & Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Clinical Medicine with an h-index of 128. Paul has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology (Heart and Circulatory Physiology), and was on the editorial board of numerous physiology and pharmacology journals (e.g. Circulation, Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research, Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension, American Journal of Physiology, Acta Sinica Pharmacologica, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) and the British Journal of Pharmacology. 

Paul`s early research evolved from the control of veins to understanding why acetylcholine is a vasodilator. This led to investigations of the control of sympathetic neuro-effector junction and of the interaction of vasodilator and vasoconstrictor substances with the vascular endothelium. His major scientific contribution was to analyse the importance of endothelial cells in the control of the underlying vascular smooth muscle in health and disease. Paul had a world-wide reputation for his research in cardiovascular disease, vascular neuro-effector mechanisms, calcium-antagonists, and the interactions of endothelium, EDRF, EDHF and nitric oxide. 

However, this impressive list of achievements and honours, underestimates the contribution to pharmacology Paul made through the great number of students and postdoctoral fellows that he trained and influenced. Those of us who had the privilege to work with Paul will always remember his charismatic scientific leadership and guidance. We will also remember him as a great friend and mentor. He had unbounded energy and enthusiasm for science, for people and for life. He travelled prodigiously, meeting all the leading scientists in cardiovascular pharmacology and inviting them back to his lab to present their work and to talk to his pre- and post-doctoral associates. He took a keen interest in the careers of the many young scientists that he mentored and inspired, helping them to work with other leading vascular biology groups. Pauls’ care and interest in the success of his trainees inspired a genuine warm loyalty from all who ever spent time with him. At every major scientific conference, there would be an impromptu Paul Vanhoutte dinner attended by all the ex- trainees attending the conference. If one had a conflict with another event, it was the other event that would be missed because of the loyalty and respect Paul had earned. Similarly, something was usually organized for major award events or milestones in Paul’s life. For example, for his 60th birthday a surprise gathering was held in Paris where over 100 former mentees from around the world paid their way to celebrate Paul’s birthday. 

He was great fun to work with and also to relax with after work. He enjoyed good company, good food, good wine and good jokes (and the occasional cigar). He had many memorable sayings such as “I feel a paper coming on” and “There are three kinds of people, those who make things happen, those who watch what happens and those who wondered what happened”. He was in the first category and made good things happen for the young scientists he trained during his career and for his co-workers. His lunch / dinner invites whether in Paris, Hong Kong or any other place in the word, will be remembered as the quintessence of culinary, social, scientific and cultural events.

Paul will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We will remember his scientific insight and influence, his ‘art-de-vivre’, the seemingly impossible travel schedules, his quick wit and infectious laugh. 

Our thoughts are with his wife Jacqueline, his four children and seven grandchildren. 


In Memoriam 





Manfred Göthert, MD/DHC/DHC

1939 – 2019


Obituary for Prof. em. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Manfred Göthert 

by Danny Hoyer of  Melbourne, Australia & 

Heinz Bönisch and Eberhard Schlicker of Bonn, Germany

Our Friend and colleague, Manfred Göthert, who was head of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Bonn from 1985 to 2006, passed away on June 28, 2019. I (DH) met Manfred in 1980 or 1981 at the annual meeting of the German Pharmacological Society in Mainz, and since then, have always been in touch through the Society, later the 5-HT club, at editorial board meetings of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg´s Archives of Pharmacology (of which I am a board member since 1986) and many meetings. 

Manfred Göthert was born in 1939 in Braunschweig and attended schools in Lindau, Rognac (near Marseille in France), Hildesheim and Braunschweig. He studied medicine at the universities of Hamburg, Freiburg, Innsbruck, Vienna and Göttingen where Manfred graduated and completed his thesis (Dr. med.) in 1965. 

From 1967 to 1978, Manfred was at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Hamburg. At the beginning, he dealt with a toxicological topic (carbon monoxide intoxication), but very soon switched to Pharmacology. He was interested in the effects of ethanol, local and general anesthetics on noradrenaline release from peripheral sympathetic neurons and on catecholamine release from the adrenal medulla. The latter two topics were the basis of his habilitation thesis (1971). In 1976, Manfred became a full professor. Using different methods to induce noradrenaline release e.g. electrical pulses, high KCl, tyramine, nicotinic or 5-HT3 receptors agonists, he demonstrated that noradrenaline release elicited by ligand-gated cation channels modulation can be inhibited by ethanol, halothane or pentobarbitone in pharmacologically relevant concentrations. Manfred Göthert appears to be the first that has understood that ligand-gated ion channels are essential targets of general anaesthetics.

In 1978, Manfred became Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology in Essen. His interest in serotonin (5-HT) had already been kindled in Hamburg by Hans-Georg Baumgarten.  In Essen and later in Bonn, he examined the modulation of 5-HT release by presynaptic auto- and heteroreceptors. This was a very fascinating scientific area, which had been started a little earlier by the pioneering work of Erich Muscholl, Sol Langer and Klaus Starke on noradrenergic neurons. The group of Manfred Göthert was much engaged in the identification of presynaptic 5-HT autoreceptors in the brain and of 5-HT heteroreceptors on peripheral noradrenergic neurons. We (DH, ES)published several papers together on 5-HT1B/1D receptor in rodent and human brain, one of which was cited over 700 times.

In 1985, Manfred took the Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Medical Faculty in Bonn. Modulation of 5-HT and noradrenaline release still was one of his major scientific interests and a huge number of papers was written by his group. In addition, publications about the identification and characterization of neuronal calcium channels and of imidazoline and glutamate receptors appeared. Methods like cell culture and molecular biological techniques were established by one of the authors of this obituary (H.B.) and his coworkers (in particular Michael Brüß) which paved the way for Manfred Göthert’s interest in molecular biology. Molecular properties of naturally occurring variants of human 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2C, 5-HT3A und 5-HT7A receptors were studied in a collaborative research centre (SFB 400, DFG), with the Psychiatric Clinic and the Institute of Human Genetics. Variants of these receptors might be involved in neuropsychiatric diseases. Further, new subtypes of 5-HT3 receptors (5-HT3C, 5-HT3D and 5-HT3E) were discovered (jointly with Beate Niesler and Jutta Walstab). Manfred was a very successful dean of the Medical Faculty in Bonn (1998 to 2002), which resulted in a greater emphasis on research within that faculty. Medical students appreciated Manfred Göthert as a brilliant academic teacher. Manfred was highly estimated as head of the Institute due to his straightforwardness and friendliness.

Manfred has been president of the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies (EPHAR) from 2004 to 2006, of the German Pharmacological Society (1997 - 1999) and vice president of the 5-HT Club (1994 – 1998). He was Managing Editor of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg´s Archives of Pharmacology (1995 - 2002). Manfred Göthert organized a series of international conferences dedicated to 5-HT and cardiovascular research, including the 2004 EPHAR meeting in Porto, with a very successful 5-HT satellite symposium. His last contribution as an invited speaker, was in 2010 at the 9th meeting of the 5-HT Club in Montreal. His Honorary Rapport Lecture received much applause.

Manfred was a member of German National Academy of Sciences, of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and was made a honorary member of the International Society of Serotonin Research, the German Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT) and the Polish Pharmacological Society. 

Manfred Göthert will be remembered as a great colleague and friend with a distinguished career, very gentle manners and a great sense of service.

Manfred Göthert