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NIAAA Scientific Director Linnoila Dies

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the international scientific community lost one of its foremost researchers Feb. 25 when Dr. Veli Markku Ilari Linnoila lost a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Dr. Veli Markku Ilari Linnoila

Linnoila was named NIAAA's first clinical director in 1983, when Congress authorized the clinical program. He also served as chief, NIAAA Laboratory of Clinical Studies, from 1983 until 1991, when he was appointed scientific director. At the time of his death, he served in addition as acting chief, NIAAA Laboratory of Clinical Studies, and chief, section on neurochemistry and neuroendocrinology within that laboratory.

As scientific director, he established laboratories on the neurobiology of alcohol's effects on the brain and central nervous system, the neurogenetics of alcoholism, and the membrane biophysical and biochemical effects of alcohol. He strengthened the clinical program in the areas of cognitive neuroscience and brain electrophysiology and imaging, and implemented programs to investigate new treatments for alcohol withdrawal syndrome and the maintenance of abstinence, comorbidity of alcohol abuse and panic disorder, and spouse and child abuse.

A leader in the relatively new discipline of biological psychiatry, Linnoila developed a groundbreaking research program on serotonin and behavior and was internationally renowned for studies on the biological bases of impulsivity and aggression. With NIH colleagues and collaborators at the University of Helsinki, he showed in both humans and nonhuman primates that low cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA correlate with increased impulsive behavior. On the basis of psychiatric tests, he categorized impulsive offenders with either antisocial personality disorder or intermittent explosive disorder and showed that most persons with either of those disorders also are alcoholic.

During a period of unprecedented violence in American society, Linnoila's findings attracted enormous public and media interest as potentially useful for understanding and possibly reducing violent crime. Mindful always of the role of science in society, he diligently guarded his research program against overinterpretation. Of the relationship between biological psychiatry and social change he said, "Understanding the biology of aggression requires time and understanding environmental factors requires still more time. Social change requires the most time of all."

Despite public and administrative demands, Linnoila was an unusually productive scientist, having authored more than 400 refereed journal articles and more than 100 book chapters including the chapter on alcoholism for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology book on psychopharmacology, a major reference. He gave more than 50 invited lectures and received both national and international scientific awards including the DHHS Presidential Executive Rank Award for Meritorious Achievement.

A board-certified psychiatrist and board-eligible clinical pharmacologist, Linnoila earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Helsinki in 1972 and 1974, respectively. In 1974, he received a fellowship to study pharmacology and aging at the Center for Aging and Human Development, Duke University. Between 1975 and 1979, he performed work in clinical pharmacology and completed residency training in psychiatry at Duke and, in 1979, he was tenured as associate professor, psychiatry and pharmacology at Duke.

In 1980, he joined the Clinical Psychology Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health through an intergovernmental personnel appointment. In 1982, he received tenure in the NIMH intramural research program. While at NIMH, Linnoila developed liquid chromatographic methods to quantify neurotransmitters and their metabolites in biological samples and used those methods to elucidate mechanisms of action of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications in humans.

Earlier research was on the effects of alcohol and other drugs on human performance. Linnoila's studies were among the first to relate drug concentrations to pharmacodynamics in clinical psycho-pharmacology. He developed the first gas chromatographic method to quantify tricyclic antidepressants and their metabolites in human body fluids and performed the first studies on the interactions of menstrual cycle phase with alcohol on mood, performance and electrophysiology.

Linnoila is survived by his wife, Dr. Ilona Linnoila of Bethesda; four children, Juuso, Jenny, William, and Robert; and his mother, Hilkka-Liisa Linnoila of Helsinki.

NIAAA plans a memorial service to be held locally this spring.

NCRR Mourns Loss of Caroline Holloway

By Vicki Contie

Dr. Caroline T. Holloway, who last year accepted a new position as director of the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory after serving on NCRR's staff for 12 years, died on Feb. 16 following a heart attack.

Dr. Caroline T. Holloway

Before coming to NIH in 1984, Holloway had conducted biomedical research at E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and later served as a teacher and researcher at the University of Virginia Medical School from 1975 to 1983. Beginning in 1985, she helped to oversee development of innovative technologies for NCRR's predecessor organization, the NIH Division of Research Resources (DRR). In 1990, Holloway was named director of DRR's Office of Science Policy and became acting director of NCRR's biomedical technology area in 1994.

Holloway is remembered as "one of the most energetic, bright individuals at NIH. She always had exciting ideas to discuss," says Dr. Louise Ramm, NCRR deputy director. "Caroline was highly committed to NCRR's mission and the advancement of biomedical research. She worked at the center in several capacities, excelling in all of them. It's sad to know that such a vibrant, warm light has left this world."

Holloway graduated Phi Beta Kappa from City College of New York, received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Duke University, and then moved on to complete her postdoctoral research at Shell Agricultural Chemicals in England.

She is survived by her husband, J. Thomas Lynn of Livermore, Calif., two children, and five siblings.

A scholarship fund has been established in her memory to help young graduate women in science. If you would like to make a donation, make checks payable to the Caroline Tobia Holloway Memorial Fund and send to Pippa Holloway, 1697 King Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212.

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