Otto Fred Hutter
(b 29 February 1924) is Emeritus Regius Professor of Physiology
at the University of Glasgow, is a physiologist. He was born in Vienna, becoming a British citizen in 1947.,
His father was an estate agent and his mother had been a nurse in World War 1. He first attended secondary school at the Zwi Perez Chajes
Gymnasium. He left Vienna in December 1938
as part of the Kindertransport
which allowed Jewish children to escape the German occupation. After arriving in the UK, he attended the Bishop Stortford College
as a boarder. From 1942, after leaving school, he worked as a laboratory technician at the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories in Beckenham, Kent. One project addressed the standardisation of penicillin
production, then of considerable importance for the war effort.
He studied physiology at Chelsea Polytechnic (as was) and chemistry at Birkbeck College at wartime evening classes. When the war ended, he took the BSc Physiology course at University College London. His initial research was on acetylcholine actions in nerve and muscle. His work developed to address the permeation of potassium in muscle. During a research fellowship in Baltimore, at the laboratory of Stephen Kuffler, he worked with another visitor, Wolfgang Trautwein. They made the first recordings using microelectrodes of the pacemaker potential in heart muscle to study the cardiac pacemaker. They researched the actions of acetylcholine (which slows heart rate) or adrenaline (which speeds it). Their recordings, made in tortoise heart, have become iconic medical and physiological textbook images of these phenomena. Another major research interest of his has been the physiology of the chloride ion, a field which he has recently summarized in a personal review.
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