Nobel Laureates

John Eccles, awarded 1963

John Eccles

John Eccles, PhD, was a professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine from 1966-1968. An Australian neurophysiologist and philosopher, he studied the mechanism of the stretch reflex in the peripheral nervous system and shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Andrew Huxley and Alan Lloyd Hodgkin for their fundamental work on the synapse. Bernard Katz and Eccles later worked together on some of the experiments which elucidated the role of acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter.

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Robert F. Furchgott, Class of 1940, awarded 1998

Robert F. Furchgott

Robert Furchgott, PhD ’40, graduated Northwestern University Medical School with a PhD in biochemistry in 1940. In 1978, he discovered a substance in endothelial cells that relaxes blood vessels, calling it endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). He later determined that EDRF was nitric oxide and identified the role that nitric oxide plays in the regulation of cardiovascular function. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1998, which he shared with Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad for “their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule.” Furchgott’s discoveries have helped scientists understand and find new treatments for cardiovascular diseases and other conditions ranging from immune disorders to memory loss, pulmonary disease, and erectile dysfunction.

Furchgott, a long time faculty member at SUNY Downstate, also received a Gairdner Foundation International Award and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. He died in 2009.

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Ferid Murad, awarded 1998

Ferid Murad

Ferid Murad, MD, PhD, was an adjunct faculty member at the Feinberg School of Medicine in the departments of pharmacology and cell and molecular biology from 1988-1998. Murad's key research demonstrated that nitroglycerin and related drugs worked by releasing nitric oxide into the body, which relaxed smooth muscle by elevating intracellular cyclic GMP. The missing steps in the signaling process were filled in by Robert F Furchgott and Louis J. Ignarro, for which the three shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Murad’s discoveries helped scientists understand and find new treatments for cardiovascular diseases and other conditions ranging from immune disorders to memory loss, pulmonary disease, and erectile dysfunction.

Murad, a member of the National Academy of Science and a faculty member at UTSW in Dallas at the time of his award also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research with Furchgott in 1996.

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