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The Robert F. Furchgott Society

Message From The Society President

photo of Hillary Michelson

Hillary B. Michelson, PhD
President Robert F. Furchgott Society


In 1998, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Drs. Robert Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad, for their work on "nitric acid as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system." This landmark discovery, that a gas can act as a biological signaling agent within and between cells, led to widespread, significant advances in both biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, and continues to drive current research endeavors worldwide.

Dr. Furchgott joined the SUNY Downstate Medical Center faculty in 1956, and frequently acknowledged that he conducted his seminal Nobel Prize winning research experiments here on the SUNY Downstate campus. In recognition of this historic legacy, The Robert F. Furchgott Society was established in 2005 at SUNY Downstate to pay tribute to Dr. Furchgott and honor his groundbreaking research contributions. The Furchgott Society is dedicated to supporting and promoting excellence in research at SUNY Downstate through a variety of grants and award mechanisms. The Society gives annual awards to Downstate postdoctoral basic science and clinical research fellows, and recognizes outstanding research achievements of students in the College of Medicine and the School for Graduate Studies, as well as outstanding community students participating in the Health Science Academy in the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. The Society also hosts a yearly Visiting Professorship, for which a world-renowned scientist is invited to the campus to deliver the annual Robert F. Furchgott lecture and meet with smaller groups of students, fellows and faculty to discuss research in a more informal and collegial environment. The Society, to date, has proudly hosted several Nobel Laureates on our campus, including Dr. Harold Varmus, President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and, most recently, Dr. Eric Kandel of Columbia University Medical Center.

The Robert F. Furchgott Society is committed to enhancing the visibility and celebrating the outstanding research accomplishments of our Downstate scientists. Together with the Robert F. Furchgott Center for Neural and Behavioral Science, the Furchgott Society is proud to honor the memory and achievements of a truly inspirational scientist, and encourage the development of the next generation of researchers. We are grateful to the SUNY Downstate administration, our Society members, and our valued donors, whose vital support allows us to continue achieving our mission.