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Nobel Laureates To Speak, June 12

By Anne Decker

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series on June 12 will host a doubleheader with two Nobel laureates as the featured speakers. Drs. Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel won the prize in physiology or medicine in 2000, along with Dr. Arvid Carlsson of Sweden. They will give the Florence S. Mahoney Lecture on Aging for the National Institute on Aging.

Greengard will begin his lecture, "The Neurobiology of Slow Synaptic Transmission," at 2:30 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. Kandel will speak at 3:30 p.m. on "Molecular Biology of Memory and Its Disorders: Some Societal Implications."

Greengard, who is the Vincent Astor professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at the Rockefeller University, won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of how dopamine and a number of other transmitters in the brain exert their action in the nervous system.

Dr. Paul Greengard

He is also director of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research at the Rockefeller, and is a neuroscientist whose discoveries have provided a conceptual framework for understanding how the nervous system functions at the molecular level. He has demonstrated that many effects — both therapeutic and toxic — of common antipsychotic, hallucinogenic and antidepressant drugs can be explained in terms of distinct neurochemical actions that affect the transmission of nerve signals in the brain.

A graduate of Hamilton College, he received a Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 1953. After postdoctoral studies in England at the University of London, Cambridge University, and the National Institute of Medical Research, followed by a period at NIH, Greengard became director of biochemical research at Geigy Research Laboratories in 1959. In 1968, he was appointed professor of pharmacology at Yale University and was named Henry Bronson professor in 1981. In 1983, he joined the Rockefeller University.

Greengard is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Among his many other awards are the 3M Life Sciences Award of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 1987, the Bristol-Myers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research in 1989, the National Academy of Sciences Award in the Neurosciences in 1991 and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award in 1999.

Kandel is university professor of physiology and psychiatry at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research combines behavioral, cellular and molecular approaches to delineate the changes that underlie simple forms of learning and memory in invertebrates and vertebrates. In invertebrates, the focus of his research is on the gill-withdrawal reflex of the sea slug Aplysia. The work has been essential not only for understanding basic processes of learning and memory, but also for highlighting many of the cellular processes that are targets of psychoactive drugs. More recently, this research has extended from simple forms of memory in Aplysia to more complex forms of spatial learning in mammals.

Dr. Eric Kandel
Born in Vienna, Austria, Kandel immigrated with his family to the United States in 1939. He was educated at Harvard College, where he majored in history and literature, and received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He took postdoctoral fellowship training in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the National Institute of Mental Health, residency training in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Harvard Medical School, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institut Morey in Paris.

Kandel held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and New York University School of Medicine before going to Columbia, where in 1975, he was the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He counts among his many honors the Albert Lasker Basic Research Award in 1983, the Gairdner International Award for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Science in 1987 and the 1997 Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Health, which he shares with Greengard.

For information and accommodation, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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