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Schally, Andrew Victor


SCHALLY, ANDREW VICTOR (1926– ), medical research worker and Nobel laureate. Schally was born in Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), and became a U.S. citizen in 1962. At the outset of World War ii, his father, a professional soldier, left his family to fight with the Allied forces. Schally survived the war in Romania and immigrated to the U.K. in 1945. He was educated at Bridge of Allan School in Scotland and received his B.Sc. in chemistry from London University. After a period at the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, London (1950–52), he moved to Canada where he gained his Ph.D. in chemistry at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. M. Saffran (1952–57). He joined the department of physiology at Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, Texas (1957–62). In 1962 he moved for the rest of his career to New Orleans as chief of the Endocrine and Polypeptide Laboratories at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where he became a senior medical investigator (1973), and a member of the faculty of medicine at Tulane University, where he became professor of medicine in 1967. Schally's interest in medical research in general began at Mill Hill, and in endocrinology at McGill. He was early convinced that the hypothalamus in the brain produces hormones which regulate the pituitary gland, and hence the production of hormones by the thyroid and adrenal glands, and also the hormones which control growth and reproductive capacity. His initially controversial ideas were vindicated by a long and laborious series of experiments necessary to isolate sufficient material with which to characterize hormones produced by the hypothalamus and to demonstrate their actions. His research established the central role of the brain in controlling the endocrine system through the pituitary gland. It has immense implications for devising new strategies for birth control and suppressing hormone-dependent cancers. Indeed he has been consistently motivated to find clinical applications for his discoveries. In later work he was especially interested in developing novel antitumor peptides. Schally worked with close colleagues for most of his career in New Orleans and collaborated with many scientists and clinicians worldwide, and especially with clinical endocrinologists in the U.K. By 2005 he was an author of 2,200 papers, and he continued to be scientifically productive. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine jointly with Roger Guillemin and Rosalyn *Yalow (1977). His many other honors include membership of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Gairdner Award (1974), and the Lasker Award in Basic Medical Science (1975). He married Dr. Ana Maria de Medeiros-Comaru (1976), a distinguished Brazilian endocrinologist and his collaborator before her death (2004). Schally had a lifelong passion for soccer and as a young man contemplated a career in this sport.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

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