Dr. Jutta Schaper: Bad Nauheim, Germany
Jutta Schaper was born in Berlin, Germany and received her M.D. in 1961 in Dusseldorf, Germany. In 1958 she married Wolfgang Schaper, M.D., Ph.D. with whom she has 3 children. In 1961 Jutta Schaper started to work at Janssen Pharmaceutica, Beerse, Belgium where she trained in the newly developing art of electron microscopy and later became head of the Department of Morphological Studies. In 1972, the family moved to Bad Nauheim, Germany and both Schapers were employed at the Max Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research. Jutta Schaper has an affiliation with the Pathology Department at the University of Giessen where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1981. She was Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Cell Biology in the Max Planck Institute until 2004 when she retired. Up to the present time, Jutta Schaper is still profes- sionally active as honorary consultant for the “Core Group for Confocal Studies” at the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim.
Jutta Schaper’s work has been based on morphological techniques, electron microscopy and confocal laser microscopy and structural stud- ies of the normal and pathological heart and of blood vessels were the themes of her work. Jutta Schaper, in life-long collaboration with her husband Wolfgang, studied the morphology of collateral blood vessels under various conditions producing numerous joint publications and 4 books on this topic.
Another subject starting in 1976 was the protection of ischemic myocardium during open-heart surgery. After many trials of numerous protection
methods, the Bretschneider cardioplegic solution was found to provide optimal protection under experimental conditions and in the human heart during surgery. This work has been publicized in many scientific periodicals.
The main issue of Jutta Schaper’s work, however, was the investigation of the morphology of the failing human heart. She was the first to describe the structural impairment of the failing heart and she defined structure-function relationships in both, patients with dilated cardio- myopathy and patients with pressure overload due to aortic valve steno- sis. The origin of fibrosis with its different components, disappearance of the contractile filaments and functional disturbance of specialized proteins such as the connexins or the cytoskeleton, loss of cardiomyo- cytes due to different types of cell death, were found to be significant factors in causing heart failure. The contribution of these structural changes to diastolic and systolic dysfunction were carefully identified and described in numerous publications.
Jutta Schaper attended, mostly upon invitation to give oral presentations, innumerable national and international scientific meetings and was invited to Universities to lecture on the failing myocardium mostly in Germany, the US and Canada, and in Japan, but also in most of the other European countries and in Israel. Jutta Schaper has been active as officer in the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR), first for 9 years as Secretary General of the European Section and from 1992- 1995 as President of the ISHR worldwide. Her aim was to promote the knowledge of cardiovascular pathophysiology on a world-wide basis through publications and congresses.
Jutta Schaper has received many awards and medals from various organizations.
Dr. Schaper feels very honored to be allowed to join the group of famous colleagues who already received the Medal of Merit and she would like to thank the colleagues of the Academy for this recognition of her life- time achievements.