In 1923 Bülbring entered the University of Bonn to study physiology hoping to eventually read medicine. Her enthusiasm for histology led her to work in the laboratory of Boeke, a renowned anatomist. The techniques she acquired during this working period became the basis for her work of her first publication and doctorate in medicine.
Bülbring spent a year in Munich focusing on internal medicine, paediatrics and surgery attracted by the reputation of Friedrich von Müller, a Professor of Internal Medicine. The following year she moved to Freiburg for a semester, where she attended the lectures of Paul Trendelenburg. She then returned to Bonn for her final year.
In Bonn she was supervised by Professor Ceelen, a pathological anatomist. For her dissertation, she applied a technique she had learned from Boeke on how to stain nerve fibres to the cells of phaeochromocytoma, showing they also pushed out nerve fibres. It was submitted on 3 May 1928 and published as volume 268 of Virchows Archiv.
Following the completion of her studies she moved to Berlin to work as a house physician. A year later, she was persuaded by Paul Trendelenburg to work at his laboratory in Berlin. While in his laboratory she was required to demonstrate the perfused frog heart in which inflow and outflow resistance could be controlled. She used this preparation later on in her studies of drug action (published in 1930).
After the death of her mentor, Paul Trendelenburg, she left Berlin for a year and worked as a paediatrician in Jena. She returned to Berlin a year later (in 1932) to work at the infectious disease unit in the Virchow Krankenhaus. While living in Berlin, the rise of the Nazi party began was a concern of Bülbring due to her Jewish ancestry. She was dismissed from the hospital, as it was made illegal for people of Jewish background to hold university or other professional posts. Soon after her dismissal she left for England with her sister, Maud.
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“Allow me, whom Fortune always desires to bury, lay down my life in these final trivialities. Many have freely died in longlasting loves, among whose number may the earth cover me as well.”
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