Three Generations Honor Downstate Nobel Laureate Robert F. Furchgott’s Legacy

By Office of the President | Apr 30, 2024

group photoOn April 21, three generations of Downstate Nobel Laureate Robert F. Furchgott’s family spent the afternoon on campus to remember and celebrate his life and legacy. The family, including daughter Terry Furchgott, granddaughter Chloe Francois, grandson-in-law Sasha’mani Francois, and great-grandchildren Fernande and Odilon Francois, visited the Robert F. Furchgott Library, where over lunch, they reminisced and learned more about Dr. Furchgott.

Rose Jackman, Physiology and Pharmacology Senior Administrator, close friend to Dr. Furchgott and his family, shared anecdotes about the day Dr. Furchgott was awarded the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking research on nitric oxide that was conducted at Downstate.

Gabe Rodriguez, Executive Director of Development for Research,  emphasized the significance of Dr. Furchgott’s legacy for Downstate and highlighted how it continues through the Robert F. Furchgott Society.

In a pre-recorded video, Hillary B. Michelson, Ph.D., Physiology and Pharmacology Associate Professor and President of the Robert F. Furchgott Society, explained the scientific significance of the discovery to Dr. Furchgott’s great-grandchildren. She noted that the Nobel-winning discovery emerged from a laboratory mistake. Her parting message to them was the importance of embracing mistakes as opportunities for learning and improvement.

Ms. Jackman ended the afternoon honoring Fernande and Odilon with two awards their great-grandfather had designated for her in recognition of her longstanding commitment to Downstate and for her support at numerous events following his Nobel Prize win. As an added delight, Ms. Jackman arranged for the Nobel medal, which the family had graciously lent to Downstate, to be displayed for all attendees to admire and photograph.