Dr. Solomon H. Snyder, a long-time grantee of the National Institute
of Mental Health and director of the department of neuroscience
at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will present the NIH Director's
Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg.
|Dr. Solomon Snyder
In his lecture titled, "Messenger Molecules of Life and Death," Snyder
will describe his most recent work on a newly discovered pathway
that is pivotal for normal cell death to occur and strategies for
blocking the process. His work in this area has implications for
treating neurologic disorders such as stroke and neurodegenerative
ailments such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The lecture
is sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Snyder, a psychiatrist by training, has been called the "godfather
of synaptic chemistry" in reference to his groundbreaking work
on synapses, the point at which one brain cell transmits a message
to another through the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters.
For decades, he pioneered discoveries about communication mechanisms
within and between brain cells. His career has focused on understanding
the cellular mechanisms by which neurotransmitters and drugs alter
His discovery of the opiate receptors — receptors in the
brain that bind to morphine and other opium-based drugs — in
the early 1970s was recognized with the Lasker Award and is widely
credited with launching a generation of research into the class
of neurotransmitters known as neuropeptides, receptors and behavior.
His techniques and discoveries led to the design of new drugs to
treat mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression and
Snyder has also made contributions to understanding second messengers,
which communicate information from hormones and neurotransmitters
to the cell's interior. In particular, he identified and isolated
the receptor for the second messenger IP3 and demonstrated its
significance in regulating calcium in cells. In addition, he has
worked on the molecular basis of smell, including identifying,
isolating and cloning the odorant binding protein, which carries
odorants from the air to receptors in the back of the nose.
More recently, his laboratory has uncovered important new roles
for gases such as nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, and atypical
amino acids, such as D-serine, which act like neurotransmitters.
Snyder first came to NIH as a college student to work with Dr.
Donald Brown, a young research associate in the Laboratory of Clinical
Science, NIMH, headed by Dr. Seymour Kety, a renowned researcher
in biology-based psychiatry. Snyder graduated from Georgetown University
School of Medicine in 1962 at age 23 and then spent 2 years as
a research associate at NIH with Dr. Julius Axelrod, who later
won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. He completed his
psychiatric residency at Johns Hopkins in 1968 and became a full
professor there in 1970. Since 1980, he has been Distinguished
Service professor of neuroscience, pharmacology and psychiatry
at Johns Hopkins, in addition to his role as director of the neuroscience
Snyder has received numerous professional honors and holds six
honorary doctorates. In March 2005, he received the National Medal
of Science, the nation's highest science honor, which was bestowed
on him by President Bush at a White House ceremony. He is a member
of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the
American Philosophical Society.
He is the author of more than 1,000 journal articles and several
books, including Uses of Marijuana (1971), Madness
and the Brain (1974), The Troubled Mind (1976), Biological
Aspects of Abnormal Behavior (1980), Drugs and the Brain (1986)
and Brainstorming (1989).
He serves on the editorial boards of eight publications, including
the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for
which he is senior editor. He is a past president of the Society
for Neuroscience. He has also been a member of the board of directors
of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health for 12
Snyder's lecture will be webcast at http://videocast.
nih.gov. Sign language interpretation will be provided. For
more information/accommodation, contact Hilda Madine at (301)
594-5595 or email@example.com.