The history of our institute is halmarked by the name of Arisztid G. B. Kovách, its founder who was born in 1920. He became student of the Medical School of Péter Pázmány University, wehere Aladár Beznák – then Professor and Chair of the Institute of Physiology – offered him a research position. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1945 soon to follow Beznák – who was discharged from the faculty on political grounds – to the Biological Research Institute in Tihany. Here he developed his research profile focused on the physiology and pathophysiology of shock; a topic he researched for more than 30 years. He returned to the Institute of Physiology in 1950 wehere he built a very successful research group. This was the time when he began writing the seven volume Methods of Experimental Research (in Hungarian „A kísérleti orvostudomány vizsgálati módszerei”), a series with chapters (like experimental surgery) still relevant today. Our Institute was founded as an institute of the Medical University of Budapest in 1959 with him as its first director.
He became full professor in 1970, Secretary and Vice President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) in 1974 and 1980, respectively. He was instrumental in bringing the prestigious XXVIII. World Congress of IUPS to Budapest in 1980. In 1970 he was invited to the University of Pennsylvania in Phyladelphia. This cooperation between our institute and those of “UPenn” has opened new opportunities of exchange for a line of young Hungarian researchers in the United States in a time when this was uncommon.
Following his return, he developed a very successfull research program implemented partly in our institute in Budapest and those of “UPenn”. This program even continued after his retirement only to get halted by his sudden death in 1996. Aside from his outstanding achievements he has also been known as a gifted organizer and dedicated leader of our Research Student Oraganization.
In 1990 professor Emil Monos followed in his footsteps as director of our institute. In the same year he became member of the University Council, president of the Hungarian Physiological Society, that of the HungarianScholarship Board Office, and “adjunct professor”of the Medical College of Wisconsin. During his tenure the functions of our institute has changed given that we started teaching physiology in English, the instrumentation of our labs was renewed and computers started to become part of the experimental setups, and 1994 Márk Kollai began organizing a laboratory of human physiology. Emil Monos was elected as Vice President of International Society of Pathophysiology in 1994 (later its President in 1998), and Vice Rector of Education in 1995.In this year our institute joined forces with the Biomedical Engineering Program of the Technical University. In 1998 he became editor of the Acta Physiologica Hungarica. In the same year, he organized the „Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Blood Vessels” international symposium, in 1999 the Annual Meeting of the Hungarian Physiological Society, and in 2002the World Congress of the International Society for Pathophysiology.
From July 1, 2000 the director of our institute has been professor Márk Kollai, who became director of the English Languge Program of our university in 2005, and Vice Rector of Semmelweis University in 2006. In the academic year of 2000/2001 our institute adopted the task of teaching medical physiology in Hungarian and in English to students of the School of Pharmacy.