unilogoThe institute of pharmacy was established in 1853 at the faculties of philosophy and medicine in Innsbruck. The department of pharmacognosy was created in 1886 by the appointment of Josef MOELLER as head of pharmacology and pharmacognosy. He was mainly interested in morphological aspects of pharmacognosy and was known as one of the most excellent researchers in this area of this time.

In 1893 Josef NEVINNY became professor for pharmacology and pharmacognosy at the University of Innsbruck. Nevinny who mainly worked on pharmacognostical topics acquired the famous "pharmacognostic collection of the pharmacist Josef Dittrich" from Prague ("Pharmakognostische Sammlung des Apothekers Josef Dittrich") with about 30.000 exhibits, the so called "DITTRICHIANA".

Dittrichiana Video (german)

Dittrichiana Video (german); © Universität Innsbruck

Nile lizard

Nile lizard


Samples of wood


Samples of flowers


Samples of leaves

In 1923 Adolf JARISCH became head of the institute. In his period of office (1925) the two subjects, pharmacognosy and pharmacology, became individual institutes, and it was Ludwig KOFLER who was appointed as professor for the Institute of Pharmacognosy in 1926.

Ludwig Kofler especially focused on microscopic and micro-chemical investigations of natural and synthetic drug substances. His work became famous all over the world by the invention of thermoanalytical instruments for the analysis of substances in micro-amounts: the hot stage microscope ("Koflersches Thermomikroskop") and the hot bench ("Koflersche Heizbank") are still essential tools in this field of research. By means of these instruments Kofler identified organic substances mainly by the determination of the melting point and the eutectic melting. A large number of distinguished publications appeared in this area of microscopic methods during his time as head of the institute.


1941: The staff of the
Institute of Pharmacognosy
sitting in front: the couple Adelheid and Ludwig Kofler;
behind, second from left: Maria Brandstätter

Pharmacognosy was already divided from the institute of pharmacology, but both institutions still belonged to the Faculty of Medicine, although teaching and research activities had hardly any context to medicine any more. In 1939/40 all chairs of pharmacognosy were assigned to the Faculty of Philosophy (including the natural sciences) in Austria. After the Second World War (1945) Ludwig KOFLER was urged to give up his chair due to political reasons.

From 1945 to 1947 Maria BRANDSTÄTTER was appointed as head of the institute, until 1947, when Otto SCHAUMANN, a medical doctor with pharmacological ambitions, became professor.

Maria Brandstätter

1951: Maria Brandstätter as assistent

with the hot stage microscope ("Koflersches Thermomikroskop")
and the hot bench ("Koflersche Heizbank")

After his retirement in 1963 it was again Maria KUHNERT-BRANDSTÄTTER who followed Schaumann as professor. During her period of office she was responsible for the planning, building, and moving of the Institutes of Pharmacognosy and Technology into a new building, the “Josef-Moeller-House”. She continued Kofler’s research on microthermoanalytical methods combined with additional analytical methods, i.e. UV-, IR-spectroscopy and differential thermal analysis, in order to characterize pharmaceutical compounds. Her pioneering research resulted in a large number of papers, books and book articles, mainly dealing with microscopy and thermal analysis, which greatly contributed to an international reputation of the
Institute of Pharmacognosy in Innsbruck. Maria Kuhnert-Brandstätter became professor emeritus in 1989.


1990: Artur Burger

From 1989 till his early death in 2000 Artur BURGER chaired as professor of the Institute of Pharmacognosy. In his research he continued with the tradition started by his predecessors. However, Burger especially focused on the area of drug preformulation, thus contributing with practical and theoretical papers to a better understanding of the importance of physicochemical properties of drug substances. Based on many years of expertise and historical development, a new and highly estimated research centre for polymorphism was established at the institute. It soon played an important role in the area of quality assurance and drug security, recognized by the scientific world as well as the pharmaceutical industry.

Beside these traditional research interests a phytochemical team was established by Hermann STUPPNER. He mainly worked on the analysis of medicinal plants and isolation of novel (bioactive) compounds, and concentrated his efforts on the phytochemical investigation of medicinal plants traditionally used in the alpine region.

In July 1999 organizational structures at the University of Innsbruck changed resulting in the integration of all four pharmaceutical institutes to one Institute of Pharmacy with four departments.

Hermann Stuppner

2002: Hermann Stuppner

In 2000 Stuppner Hermann was appointed as professor of the Institute of Pharmacy and is now head of the pharmacognostical department (see recent research topics).

Judith Rollinger

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