Meinhard Classen

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult.

TUM School of Medicine
Former professor of internal medicine, university hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar

born August 12, 1936

Scientific work

A substantial portion of Meinhard Classen’s academic work concerns itself with the further development of endoscopy. He introduced endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography (ERCP) and was the first to implement endoscopic papillotomy (EPT), which are today routine treatment methods for gallstones, stenoses and tumors of the bile duct system and pancreatic duct. More than anyone else, Meinhard Classen influenced the development of endoscopy as a therapeutic discipline. His research brought him international renown, as evidenced by the many academic honors, international memberships and distinctions he has received. He played a large part in important academic works on the dissolution of gallstones, acid secretion and ulcer treatment and about the role of gastrointestinal hormones. Moreover, he has also written several large standard textbooks on internal medicine as well as important works about endoscopy. Additionally, he has been and continues to perform diverse editorial services for important international professional journals. Since he has become a professor emeritus, he has devoted himself not only to intestinal cancer prevention in Germany, but also, within the scope of international cooperation, the prevention of all malignant illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract. The development of gastroenterology across the entire world, particularly in Africa and Asia, has become a special focus of his work.


Short biography

1956 – 1962 Studies in medicine, universities of Bonn, Freiburg (im Breisgau) and Vienna
1962 Doctorate in Medicine, University of Bonn
1970 Consultant of internal medicine
1972 Consultant of gastroenterology
1970 – 1974 Assistant medical director of internal medicine, Erlangen University Hospital
1974 – 1979 Chief medical director at Hamburg-Barmbek Hospital
1979 – 1984 Professor of internal medicine, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/Main
1985 – 2002 Professor of internal medicine, TUM


Memberships and honors

Vice-president of the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (1980)

President of the German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) (1987)

President of the German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM) and its 100th congress Founder and chair of the Gastroenterology Foundation e. V. (since 1995)

Vice-president of the World Organization of Digestive Endoscopy (OMED) (1990-1997)

President of the Society for Gastroenterology in Bavaria (2001) General secretary and President (1998-2002) of the World Organization of Gastroenterology (OMGE) (1990-1998)

Co-chair of the International Digestive Cancer Alliance (IDCA) (2002)

Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

International member of the Academy of Sciences, Brazil

International member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Honorary member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)

Honorary member of the British Society of Gastroenterology

President of the European Congress for Endoscopy (1980)


  • Schindler Prize from the European Society for Endoscopy (1970)
  • Thannhauser Prize from the DGVS (1973)
  • Fresenius Prize from the German Chemical Society (GDCh) (1992)
  • Honorary doctorate from Cerrapasha University, Istanbul, Turkey (1992)
  • Golden Award of Honour by the Society of Bavarian Internists (1995)
  • Officer's Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany (1995)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Iași (now the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University), Romania (1996)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, Greece (1996)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2000)
  • Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class (2003)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Wrocław, Poland (2005)
  • Thannhauser medal from the DGVS (2006)
  • Honorary doctorate from Charles University in Prague, (2009)
  • Order of Merit of Burgenland (Austria) (2014)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF]