Commemoration of the German Society of Gastroenterology
In memory of

Prof. Dr. med.
Ernst Peter Pick
1872 - 1960

Prof. Dr. med. Ernst Peter Pick, image source Karlsbad 1928
Prof. Dr. med. Ernst Peter Pick, image source Karlsbad 1928

Member since 1925

Studies in Prague and Strasbourg

Professor of Pharmacology, University of Vienna

Continued his outstanding scientific work in the USA

Hoppe-Seyler’s Ztschr physiol Chem 1897 EN
Hoppe-Seyler’s Ztschr physiol Chem 1897 EN
Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1960
Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1960

Prof. Dr. med. Ernst Peter Pick

  • Jermer/Jaroměř, Bohemia, Czech Republic, 1‌8‌.‌0‌5‌.‌1‌8‌7‌2‌
  • New York, 1‌5‌.‌0‌1‌.‌1‌9‌6‌0‌
  • Member since 1925
  • Escaped to the USA in 1939
  • Vienna
  • Pharmacologist and biochemist

Ernst Peter Pick was born in the village of Jermer/Jaroměř, Bohemia, in 1872 as the son of the merchant David Pick and his wife Eleonore, née Schick.


Education and Places of Work


Pick studied medicine at the German Karl Ferdinand University in Prague. He completed his studies with the state exam and doctorate in 1896. He received his further training at the Physiological-Chemical Institute under Franz Hofmeister at the University of Strasbourg from 1896 to 1899. He then worked at the Vienna State Serum Institute under Richard Paltauf until 1911. He worked at the Experimental Pharmacological Institute in Vienna with Hans H. Meyer from 1911 to 1924. He habilitated in applied medicinal chemistry at the University of Vienna in 1904. His venia legendi was extended to the subject of experimental pharmacology and toxicology in 1919. He was appointed professor (extraordinarius) in 1912.

Hoppe-Seyler’s Ztschr physiol Chem 1897 EN
Hoppe-Seyler’s Ztschr physiol Chem 1897 EN

Ernst Peter Pick was full professor of pharmacology and director of the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Vienna from 1924 to 1938.

His scientific focus was on physiological and pathological chemistry, questions of serology and immunity, the chemistry of antigens and their specificity, the structure and properties of proteins, as well as cardiac pharmacology and the pharmacological influence of hypnotics on the central nervous system. Furthermore, he dealt with the pharmacology of diuresis. He developed new methods for the differentiation of protein bodies and isolated and characterised antibodies. Investigations on the metabolic and endocrine function of the thyroid gland as well as on the significance of the hormones of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland were another of Pick’s fields of work, as were the effects of shock on individual organ functions. He was highly active together with his colleagues on a broad spectrum of experimental pharmacology and published a very large number of scientific articles.

He published his standard work “Die experimentelle Pharmakologie als Grundlage der Arzneibehandlung” together with Hans Meyer in a completely revised eighth edition in 1933.


After 1933

Ernst Peter Pick was removed from his position as full professor of pharmacology at the University of Vienna on 28 May 1938.  He was forced to retire at the age of 66. He was temporarily imprisoned in Vienna by order of the GESTAPO.


Escape to the USA in 1939

Pick fled Vienna in 1939, initially to France. He and his wife Rikea Magareta, née Janssen, from Wittmund, East Frisia, arrived in the USA aboard the S.S. Statendam from Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France on 15 August 1939. They reached New York on 22 August 1939. Paul Klemperer, the senior pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Klaus Unna, a former employee of Pick in Vienna, who had moved to the USA in 1937, vouched for Pick and, among other things, had arranged for an entry visa for the USA. Pick and his wife were naturalised in the USA in 1945.

Ernst Peter Pick was active as a clinical professor for experimental pharmacology at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and as consultant at Mount Sinai Hospital New York from 1939 to 1946. Pick was a member of several scientific societies in the USA, such as the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, the American Association of Advanced Science, the American College of Cardiology, the Harvey Society, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1960
Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1960

Pick founded an organisation of Austrian emigrants in New York together with Carla Zawisch-Ossenitz – the “Medical Circle” of the “Austrian University League”, later called the “Pirquet Medical Society”. The Circle published its own journal, the ‘Medical Circle Bulletin’ 1954-1963 and ‘Pirquet Bulletin of Clinical Medicine’ 1963-1975.

Pick was a consultant at the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research in Rahway, New Jersey, until his death in 1960.

Ernst Peter Pick died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in January 1960 at the age of 87.


  1. Untersuchungen über die Proteinstoffe. Hoppe-Seyler’s Ztschr physiol Chem 1897; 24: 246 – 275
  2. Mit Mautner H. Ueber die durch Schockgifte erzeugten Zirkulationsstörungen. II. Das Verhalten der überlebenden Leber. Biochem Ztschr 1922; 127: 72 – 93
  3. Mit Molitor H. Die Bedeutung der Leber für die Diurese. Arch exp Path Pharm 1923; 97: 317 – 343
  4. Über Wasserhaushalt, Diurese und Diuretika. Wien: Springer-Verlag 1924
  5. Spezifische Erregung oder Hemmung des isoliereten Merrschweinchendünndarms durch Nicotine, Serotonin, Histamin, Doryl and Acetylcholine. Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1960; 126: 374 - 379

Sources and Further Reading


Biographie of Prof. Dr. med. Ernst Peter Pick


  • Antopol, W. In memoriam Ernst Peter Pick 1872-1960. J Mt Sinai Hosp NY 1960; 27: 485-487
  • Fischer I. Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre. Band I. Berlin, Wien: Urban & Schwarzenberg; 1932: 1213
  • Globus JH. Professor Ernst Peter Pick. J Mt Sinai Hosp NY 1952; 19 (1): IX-XI
  • Hubenstorf M. Österreichische Ärzte-Emigration. In: Stadler F. Vertriebene Vernunft Vernunft I. Emigration und Exil Österreichischer Wissenschaft 1930–1940. Wien, München: Jugend und Volk; 1. Aufl. 1987: 376,388,393
  • Kagan S. Jewish Physicians. Boston: Medico-Historical Press 1952: 212-214
  • Loewi O. Ernst Peter Pick, der Wissenschaftler. J Mt Sinai Hosp NY 1952; 19: XII – XIII
  • Molitor H. In memoriam Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ernst Peter Pick. Arch Int Pharmacodyn et de Therap 1962; 132: 205-221
  • Brucke F. Prof. Dr. Ernst Peter Pick zum 80. Geburtstag. Wien Klin Wochenschr 1952; 64 (35-26): 614f.