Edith Bülbring

Physiologist Edith Bülbring was so frustrated by the unpredictable responses of smooth muscle tissue in the lab that she made them her life’s work, becoming one of the most respected experts in her field. Bülbring finished studying at Bonn University in 1925 and after several internships throughout Germany passed her final medical exams in 1928. She took various jobs, from pharmacologist to pediatrician, but in 1933 left Germany for England, where she became an assistant at the Pharmaceutical Society. In 1937 she became assistant to the chair of pharmacology at Oxford, teaching classes and becoming a lecturer in 1946, reader in 1960, and full professor in 1967. She spent the 1940s working on the interactions of adrenaline and acetylcholine, but in 1950 began her life’s work on smooth muscle tissue, found in veins and many internal organs. Her discoveries on the ways neurotransmitters like serotonin and adrenaline affect smooth muscle led to her invitation to the Royal Society in 1958 and a Wellcome Gold Medal in 1985, among other honors. After her retirement in 1971, she continued working in a private lab until her death.


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At the time of her death, doctor, biologist, and physiologist Edith Bülbring (1903-1990) was widely considered to be the most influential smooth-muscle physiologist in the world. Since then, her scientific "grandchildren" have continued to build on her work in ever new and important ways.

Institution: Dr. W. Hijmans, Aerdenhoot, The Netherlands.

Date of Birth


Date of Death
Doctor, Biologist, Professor

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Edith Bulbring." (Viewed on June 13, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/b-lbring-edith>.


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