She has conducted studies centered on monoamine oxidase (MAO) genes and how they affect personality and vulnerability to psychiatric disorders. In earlier research, she discovered that cigarette smokers have reduced levels of MAO, an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, the neurotransmitter that mediates reward, motivation and movement. This finding may help explain the high rate of smoking among individuals who are depressed or addicted to drugs.
After earning a B.A. in chemistry from the University of South Florida in 1964 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Colorado in 1967, Fowler did postdoctoral research at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, England, and at Brookhaven Lab. She joined Brookhaven Lab in 1969, where she has spent her entire career.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Fowler was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2009. In that year, she also received the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences, the New York State Distinguished Woman Award, and she was inducted into the Long Island Technology Hall of Fame. Among her numerous other honors, she received three previous ACS awards: the Glen T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear and Radiochemistry in 2002, the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal in 1998, and the Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest in 1988. She received the Society for Nuclear Medicine's Paul C. Aebersold Award and the U.S. Department of Energy's E.O. Lawrence Award in 1997.
A faculty member of the Mount Si
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DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory