building Bunge Neurologists Ludo van Bogaert archive

Historical background


The Institute Born-Bunge was founded in Antwerp starting as the Bunge Institute. It's development is due to the combined efforts of different families, expert administrators and of a very exceptional man, Dr. Ludo van Bogaert who inspired the endeavour.
Edouard Bunge's health condition made him realise the necessity of a medical institute combining the best medical care and outstanding scientific research. In 1927, after his death, a special grant was created to build the Bunge Institute which opened in december 1933. The Bunge and Born families, with the help of Victor Bracht, the first chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Edouard Bunge's children provided the necessary means under the form of a so-called "Dotation Fund" supporting the scientific research. Further support was provided by the Werner and Engels families and by Dr. Ludo van Bogaert's wife, Marie-Louise Sheid.

The close friendship of Dr. L. van Bogaert with the aforementioned families was a strong incentive for the development of the laboratories of the Bunge Institute, followed later on by the creation of the Born-Bunge Foundation. Dr. L. van Bogaert pioneered the integration of clinical, neuropathological, genetic and biochemical data; he had also the unique ability to see the essential features of neurological problems. His charisma and the international recognition of his merits attracted many Belgian and foreign collaborators. His two four-year terms as first president and founder of the World Federation of Neurology contributed to the BBF as a centre of excellence.

Since many years, the IBB has maintained a close association with the University of Antwerp. The IBB laboratories are integrated on the campuses of the "Universiteit Antwerpen".
Nevertheless the IBB remains a private institute and this is not without importance for its financial funding. The rising costs of human resources are less easily covered by grants which support mainly the acquisition of material and the daily expenses for the necessary products. Support by private funds remains a constant necessity and preoccupation of the administrators and researchers. Due credit has to be paid to the skills of the Board of Trustees managing the difficult task of supporting the research. Special thanks have to be given to the competent management of the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Van den Eynde.

Notwithstanding the financial needs, I am confident that the IBB will keep up with its aims of improving knowledge on human neurological and cardiological disorders. Efforts will be pursued with due regard for patients care.

Scientists with fundamental orientations and research topics are necessary to further our knowledge of human disorders; they already occupy a significant place in the laboratories of the Institute Born-Bunge. It is however equally important to also have physicians working with patients, defining the clinical problems and actively interacting with their fellow scientists in order to apply results of research to clinical fields.

It is my conviction that the Institute Born-Bunge is a flexible organisation able to change in function of the growing knowledge of medical disorders without forgetting its primary objectives of applying obtained knowledge to human welfare and wellbeing.

Jorge Born
Former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the IBB.