After graduating 1972 in aeronautical and spacecraft engineering from the Aachen University, I realized that all I could do in Germany at that time was more or less military research. Thus, I left the German Aeronautical and Space Engineering Center and joined the German National Research Project on Artificial Organs, continuing my education with postgraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering with a special interest in biological fluid dynamics and biomechanics.
When the Aachen University Urology Department offered me to head a new urodynamic research laboratory (as a consequence of the 1st International Urodynamics Meeting June 1971 in Aachen, almost overlapping with the much smaller 1st ICS meeting in Exeter), I joined out of curiosity but only after meeting other engineers/physicist, urologists/gynaecologists, and many other specialists with an unusual open attitude to multi-specialty international cooperation in 1973, - all were members of the very young International Continence Society -, I have developed a genuine interest in the field of urodynamics.
The ICS was then and still is the only truly multi-specialty and international society in the field, which allows an engineer to productively contribute, which makes it so unique and important. What follows:
- became an ICS member 1973 and attended all ICS meetings since Mainz 1974;
- visited and cooperated with many leading UDS laboratories worldwide;
- organized a series of workshops on theoretical and experimental urodynamics in the 70’s;
- founding member of the first urodynamic CME courses in Germany in 1976 till today;
- co-organized first ICS poster session 1977 Portoroz, Slovenia, with Peter Suhel and Stan Plevnic;
- member of the ICS scientific committee 1980-86, chair 1983;
- co-organized first ICS workshops with Norm Zinner and Art Sterling in Los Angeles 1980;
- founding editorial board member of Neurourology and Urodynamics 1981;
- organized the 2nd Joint Meeting ICS and Urodynamics Society in Aachen 1983,
- from 1989 on he served for 14 years as ICS Membership Secretary, taking care of all every day administrative work, developing a first membership data base and website;
- initiated the ICS BPH study in 1991;
- contributed to various ICS standardization committees, chair Good Urodynamic Practice;
- organized with Zinner and Sterling the first quality controlled urodynamic study 1993-4;
- State-of-the-art lecture ICS 1996 in Athens on bladder outflow obstruction
- honorary founding member of the Chinese Continence Society 1996
- initiated a disclosure policy for the ICS at the Advisory Board meeting in Tampere 2000;
- initiated and co-chaired the ICS education committee 2000
- State-of-the-art lecture ICS 2001 in Seoul
- since 2007 Chair of the Education Committee and Trustee
- Chair AGM 2008.
From my deep insight into the practical and legal problems and the dramatic changes taking place in the professional and industrial environments and within the ICS in the 1990s I have demanded the ICS to become a legal charity, but later had little influence when the new structures were developed in Bristol in 1998/9 and resigned as membership secretary and member of the ICS Executives Board in 2003.
During the following turmoil I became again deeply involved and took much of the blame, but with my contribution to the efforts of many the ICS re-emerged with many and significant improvements, and I proudly chaired the 2008 AGM where all new Articles and Bylaws were accepted with almost 100%.
Since 2007 Trustee and Education Chair, I have initiated to reduce registration in general and introduce a much lower registration fee for e.g. nurses, physios, residents and others in need. Further, I have introduced the concept of invited ICS Lectures at other meetings, giving the first at the Urogynecology Meeting in Moscow April 2008, and streamlined the basic structure of ICS Educational Courses to the new format of ad-on courses which allow us to have during this year 12 educational courses and lectures on 4 continent, more than in all previous years together, at a fraction of the cost, in total involving more than 50 ICS members as speakers.
My educational background made me focus on the application of biomechanical/physical principles in urodynamic measurements and data analysis. In 1980s I have published new concepts for comprehensive and detailed analysis of voiding function, e.g. the Passive Urethral Resistance Relation PURR, from which I later developed a detailed nomogram for classification of voiding function. From applying advanced forms of computer analysis on urodynamic data I have realized that a lot of data was not suitable for detailed analysis due to poor signal quality as a consequence of a lack of understanding the underlying physical principles of measurement parameters and missing standards. This experience was successfully used in the first ever strictly quality controlled international multi-center drug study which I organized in the early 1990s with Zinner and Sterling, an example for suitable cooperation with the industry, resulting in enhanced urodynamic quality, beneficial for both sides.
I have published a large number of articles in journals and contributions to books, presented workshops on Good Urodynamic Practice and lectured all around the world at national and international meetings, and given many invited review and state-of-the-art lectures, twice at ICS meetings. I served on editorial boards and review for leading journals, and have received a number of awards and honorary positions such a Professor of Urology h.c.
I directed the Aachen Urodynamic Lab from 1972-2003, guiding many German and international students to MD/PhD degrees, and in 2003 moved to the University of Pittsburgh to direct the Geriatric Continence Research Center.