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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NICHD Mourns Scientist Emeritus Nelson

 Dr. Phillip G. Nelson

NICHD scientist emeritus Dr. Phillip G. Nelson

NICHD scientist emeritus Dr. Phillip G. Nelson passed away of natural causes at age 89, with his wife of 66 years, Dr. Karin Nelson, by his side. He headed the institute’s section on neurobiology for 35 years until his retirement in 2004. 

Along with Dr. Marshall Nirenberg, Nelson was among the first to show that cultured neurons could establish functional synapses and were suitable for a broad range of studies into the nature of neuronal transmissions. Much of his research focused on understanding how experience shapes the nervous system and how synapses function. 

He contributed to many significant advances in the fields of neurophysiology and cell culture biology, publishing more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He also mentored dozens of trainees.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Karin Dermansly Becker Nelson, scientist emeritus at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, he is survived by 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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