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Nobel Laureate Robert F. Furchgott, PhD
20th Anniversary Celebration


October 18, 2018

Lecture for Science Students and Community Members


Robert Furchgott's Discovery of the Role of Nitric Oxide in the Vasculature:
"Chance favors the Prepared Mind"


In May 1978, an accidental finding resulting from a technician's error (failing to remove the inner endothelial layer of a blood vessel) completely changed the course of research in Dr. Furchgott's laboratory. On a preparation of rabbit aorta, muscarinic agents such as acetylcholine induced relaxation rather than the expected contraction. This finding was perplexing, and Dr. Furchgott set out to determine why this happened.

In 1981, Furchgott carried out the seminal "Sandwich Bioassay" - a novel experimental preparation that included both a section of intact vascular tissue, and a section of vascular tissue with the endothelial layer removed. In this experiment, Furchgott showed that, initially, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine did not cause relaxation in the vascular tissue without endothelium; however, when that tissue was sandwiched next to a section of intact vascular tissue, acetylcholine triggered the release of an "endothelial derived relaxing factor" from the intact preparation that transferred and caused relaxation in the neighboring preparation without its endothelium. Thus, from this pivotal experiment, Furchgott concluded that the ability of blood vessels to expand is dependent upon having an intact endothelium, and a substance that dilates blood vessels is formed in the endothelial layer of blood vessels when stimulated by acetylcholine.

In 1982, Cherry and Furchgott coined the phrase EDRF and two years later Furchgott published the finding that hemoglobin inhibited the action of EDRF. In the spring of 1986, Dr. Furchgott suggested based on many experiments including those of Dr. Ferrid Murad that EDRF was Nitric Oxide. Dr. Louis Ignarro presented spectrographic evidence to confirm this conclusion. Since then, many new nitric oxide-based therapies have been developed, including medications used to treat cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and impotence.

Nicholas Penington, PhD
Associate Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology


Thursday, October 18, 2018. 10:00 a.m.
Health Science Education Building Lecture Hall 1A
Refreshments to follow

Lecture to SUNY Campus and Community Members


"The influence of nitric oxide on our daily living"


Nitric oxide is a colorless, highly diffusible gas that is naturally produced by essentially all life forms. It commands our attention, literally. Our every thought is in some way made possible through its action on neurons in our brain and the blood vessels that provide supporting nutrients. It strongly affects the control of blood pressure, sexual functioning, the immune response and our body is processing of the food we eat; it even brings added life to cut flowers. It is a signaling molecule that influences a host of internal cellular events and coordinated processes among cells, including whole-body systems level behaviors. It brings life to life.

In this lecture, I will discuss the myriad of biological processes affected and made possible by nitric oxide. Among these is a host of pathological states. Efforts to address this has fostered commercial development of pharmaceuticals and the need to consider how use of a multitude of body monitoring technologies are impacted by the actions that nitric oxide has on living tissues. These understandings bring new opportunities for business development, and in doing so adds to the life that it brings to life. Is it any wonder that its discovery by Drs. Furchgott, Ignarro and Murad resulted in the awarding of the Nobel Prize?

Randall Barbour, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Bioengineering


Thursday, October 18, 2018, 12 noon.
Health Science Education Building Lecture Hall 1A
Lunch to be provided

October 19, 2018

The 2018 Robert F. Furchgott Visiting Professor Lecture


"The Road to Stockholm- A Nobel Mission"


A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Ignarro studied undergraduate pharmacology and pharmacy at Columbia University (1958-1962) before earning his doctorate in Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota (1966). In 1968, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical pharmacology at the National Institutes of Health. Upon completing his fellowship, Dr. Ignarro was recruited by Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals in NY to lead the company's biochemical and anti-inflammatory program. His work led to the development and marketing of diclofenac. In 1973, he left the drug industry to pursue a career in academia.

As a professor with the Tulane University School of Medicine, Dr. Ignarro began his basic research into nitric oxide and its relationship with the cyclic nucleotide cGMP. He later joined the faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1985 to continue his basic research on nitric oxide and cGMP. In 1993, Dr. Ignarro became Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at UCLA School of Medicine, where he currently serves as professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. At UCLA, he has excelled as both a research scientist and a professor, winning many Golden Apple teaching awards from his medical students.

His numerous discoveries, including that nitric oxide relaxes vascular smooth muscle, is responsible for the mechanism of action of nitroglycerin, is biosynthesized in mammalian cells, and is responsible for erectile function have led to significant advancements in cardiovascular science and the understanding of heart disease.

Dr. Ignarro was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad, "for their discovery that nitric oxide acts as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system". He also has received the American Heart Association's Basic Research Prize and Distinguished Scientist Award "for the advancement of cardiovascular science", the Roussel UCLAF Prize in France "for cell communication and signaling", the CIBA Award for Hypertension Research, the Canadian Medal of Merit, and the Golden Plate Award "for outstanding contributions in cardiovascular research".

A prolific scholar, Dr. Ignarro has published numerous articles and books. He is the founder of the Nitric Oxide Society and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He also is well known as a Nutritional Advisory board member for Herbalife International, a global nutrition and weight-management company. Dr. Louis J. Ignarro has devoted his life's work to advancing heart health around the world.

Louis Ignarro, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
1998 Nobel Laureate
UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California


Friday, October 19, 2018. 12 noon. Alumni Auditorium
Refreshments to follow in the Atrium

For more information about the lectures contact