Ernst Moro (8 December 1874 in Ljubljana, Slovenia – 1951) was an Austrian physician and pediatrician who discovered the infant reflex which was named after him (Moro reflex).

Moro studied medicine in Graz, Austria, getting his M.D. in 1899. From 1901 to 1902 he worked with Theodor Escherich (1857-1911) in Vienna, the discoverer of the Escherichia coli bacterium. He was habilitated for pediatrics in Munich in 1906, and became a professor of pediatrics in the University of Heidelberg in 1911.

Besides the Moro reflex he became also known for the following:

  • Proved the sterility of the normal small intestine
  • Discovered that breast-fed children have stronger bactericidal activity in their blood than bottle-fed ones
  • First described the irritable colon syndrome or recurrent abdominal pain ("Nabelkoliken") in children
  • Isolated the bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus from the stomach of children, which is responsible for souring of milk products
  • Developed the Moro test (percutaneous tuberculin reaction)
  • Coined the terms "first trimester" and "biological spring"
  • Invented "Moro's milk", an infant-feeding formula composed by full cream milk with added 3% flour, 5% butter and 5-7% sugar.

In 1936, after the Nazis came to power, Moro resigned from his chair at the University of Heidelberg, alleging reasons of health. However the real motive is that he was married to Grete Moro, née Königsvald, of Jewish origin. He started a private clinic at Mozartstrasse 10 (where a commemorative plaque is now affixed) and retired in 1948.


  • Ignatius J. "Moro reflex" Ernst Moro 1874-1951. Duodecim. 1993;109(9):789-91.
  • Ernst Moro. Biography. WhoNamedIt
  • Weirich A, Hoffmann GF. "Ernst Moro (1874-1951) - A great pediatric career started at the rise of university-based pediatric research but was curtailed in the shadows of Nazi laws." European Journal of Pediatrics. 2005 Oct;164(10):599-606. PubMed Abstract.

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