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The Robert F. Furchgott Society

About the Robert F. Furchgott Society

Robert Furchgott shaking the King of Sweden's hand

During the 1950's, Dr. Robert Furchgott developed a method for determining how blood vessels respond to medications, neurotransmitters, and hormones, using a piece of rabbit aorta cut in the form of a helix. Dr. Furchgott's major research advances came in 1980, when he discovered a substance produced by endothelial cells that causes relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. He called this substance endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). This substance was later identified as nitric oxide. On October 12, 1998, Dr. Furchgott received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Furchgott's discoveries have helped scientists understand and discover new treatments for cardiovascular disease and a host of other conditions, ranging from immune disorders to memory loss, pulmonary diseases, and erectile dysfunction.

In 2005, Dr. Alfred Stracher, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, suggested the establishment of the Robert F. Furchgott Society as a tribute to his outstanding achievements and research contributions. Dr. JoAnn Bradley, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Philanthropy appointed the Society's first Director, Ms. Rose Jackman, Senior Administrator for the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. In its first two years, the Society provided research recognition awards to graduating PhD students, and later expanded its funding mechanisms to include travel awards to residents and postdoctoral fellows, as well as an award to a graduating medical student for excellence in research. Under the current Society President Dr. Henri Tiedge, Professor of Physiology/Pharmacology and Neurology, and the Society Vice President Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum, Professor and Chairman of Neurology, the Society has further enhanced the impact of its research awards with the establishment of the Robert F. Furchgott Scholar award.