, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 297-300
Date: 28 Sep 2012

Rolf Niedergerke (1921–2011): a life in muscle research


This obituary provides some detail and background to the life and work of a pioneer of muscle physiology, Rolf Niedergerke, who died in December 2011 aged 90. His name is perhaps most widely known for his role in the discovery of the sliding filament mechanism of muscle contraction in collaboration with Andrew Huxley (which complemented the independent studies of HE Huxley and Jean Hanson). His other major contributions were to the ‘calcium story’ of muscle activation, particularly for the heart. In a long career, his intellectual and experimental excellence contributed some keystones of our present understanding of the role of cellular Ca2+ in muscle contraction and cardiac excitation–contraction coupling and of the Ca–Na exchange process.