Greengard, Paul

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GREENGARD, PAUL (1925– ), U.S. neuroscientist and Nobel laureate. Greengard was born in New York City, where he received his primary education. After World War ii service in the Navy, he graduated in mathematics and physics from Hamilton College (1948) and gained his Ph.D. (1953) from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, under the guidance of Frank Brink and Sidney Colowick. After postdoctoral studies at the universities of London, Cambridge, and Amsterdam, with Wilhelm Feldberg at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London, and with Sidney Udenfriend at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda (1953–59), he became director of the Department of Biochemistry in Geigy's Research Laboratories in Ardsley, New York (1959–67). After one year as visiting professor during which he worked with Alfred Gilman and Earl Sutherland, he was appointed professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Yale University (1968–83). In 1983 he became professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at the Rockefeller University, New York. Greengard's research interest in neuroscience was inspired by Allen Hodgkin's lecture on nerve conduction at Johns Hopkins, where Greengard was a graduate student. Greengard's work addressed the process whereby signals are transmitted between nerve cells across the synapses which separate them and the role of fast and slow chemical neurotransmitters in neurotransmission. Novel findings were largely built on his entirely vindicated conviction that biochemical and biophysical events in the transmission across the synapses between nerve cells have to be analyzed in tandem. He and his colleagues concentrated on slow transmission by dopamine to analyze biochemical and physiological events on both sides of the synapse during neurotransmission and thereby discovered a key molecule in dopamine signaling called darpp-32. These and other observations helped to build up a detailed picture of the mediators, structures, and signaling involved in trans-synaptic transmission whereby slow neurotransmitters serve to modulate fast transmission. His work has major implications for diseases involving the dopamine system such as Parkinson's disease, the adverse effects of drug abuse, and the design of therapeutic agents. He received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine jointly with Arvid Carlsson and Eric Kandel (1980). He continued to work on neurotransmission and the broader implications of his findings for other systems, diseases, and drug design. His many awards include the National Academy of Sciences Award in the Neurosciences (1991), the Goodman and Gilman Award in Receptor Pharmacology (1992), and the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research (1996).

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

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Greengard, Paul

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