The History of the HPI

In 1948 the institute was established as The Foundation for the Research of Spinal Poliomyelitis principally by two individuals. The generous philanthropist Philipp Fürchtegott Reemtsma created an endowment fund from the inheritance bequeathed by his mother to his son, who had died of polio; and the neurologist Heinrich Pette drafted and moulded the scientific concept and development of the institute. Consequently, upon the founder’s passing in 1964, ‘his  institute’ was renamed The Heinrich Pette Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology at Hamburg University. In addition to honouring Heinrich Pette, this name reflected the institute’s close link with the University of Hamburg, with which a cooperation agreement exists since 1993.

In 1955 the HPI was incorporated into the association of research institutes supported by the federal and state governments according to the Königsteiner Treaty. The associated institutes were named the Blue List Institutes in 1977. Later, the Blue List Institutes were transferred to the Scientific Community Blue List (WBL), which was renamed  the Leibniz Association (WGL) in 1997. The HPI has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1995, its affiliation shown clearly by its renaming in 2011 to The Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology