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The GW Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to host Nobel Laureate Dr. Ferid Murad

The George Washington University Medical Center's Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology welcomes the Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D., as the inaugural speaker for The Nobel Laureate Distinguished Lecture Series. The series will showcase the achievements made within the scientific field in recent years. The inaugural lecture in this series will be co-sponsored by the GW Office of the Provost and the GW Office of the Vice President for Research.

In his lecture titled "NO Signaling: From Discovery to Drug Development," Dr. Murad will discuss his pioneering studies and breakthrough research on the mechanism of action of nitroglycerin, a drug used to reduce pain in cardiac ischemia among other uses. He will focus on the role of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule to relax smooth muscle and other new developments. Dr. Murad shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this research in 1998 with Robert F. Furchgott, Ph.D., and Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D.

Title: NO Signaling: From Discovery to Drug Development

When: Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 10:00 a.m.

Where: Funger Hall 103, 2201 G St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

Biography in brief

Born in Whiting, Indiana, Dr. Ferid Murad studied medicine and pharmacology simultaneously at Western Reserve University, receiving both his M.D. and Ph.D. in 1965. He was an intern and resident in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital until 1967, and then worked until 1970 at the National Institutes of Health's National Heart and Lung Institute as a clinical associate and staff fellow.

He followed a series of academic, research, and administrative appointments, beginning at the University of Virginia, continuing on at Stanford University and Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center, and more recently, at the University of Texas (1996-2010) where he serves as the Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine, for the Houston School of Medicine.

Dr. Murad's work with nitric oxide began when he was in graduate school. He set out to learn how nitroglycerin, used for more than 100 years to treat angina, affected blood vessels. He found that nitroglycerin was effective because it prompted the release of nitric oxide, which relaxed smooth muscle cells. Prior to this, nitric oxide was best known as an air pollutant present in automobile exhaust fumes. The gas was known to be present in bacteria, but it was not thought to be important in higher order animals such as mammals. Based on this, Dr. Murad postulated that nitric oxide and other nitrogen-containing compounds (he coined the term nitro vasodilators to describe them) might be produced by one cell, travel through membranes, and then regulate the function other cells. At the time, this was an entirely new concept for signaling in biological systems. Nitric oxide is now known to play a key role in many biological functions including inflammation, blood flow regulation, cell growth, smooth muscle relaxation, and preserving memory.


Contact: Anne Banner
George Washington University Medical Center

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