Robert F. Furchgott: Nobel
Prize in Physiology or
by Seymour “Sy” Brody
Robert F. Furchgott is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 1998, which he shared with Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.
He was born on June 4, 1916, in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents had a department store here with other members of their family. Furchgott found his natural surroundings very interesting. He went on many field trips studying nature which was sponsored by the Charleston Museum. He lived here for thirteen years when the depression caused his family’s department store to close. They moved to Orangeburg, South Carolina, where his family opened a clothing store for women.
Furchgott went to The University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, where he received a B.S. Degree in chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Northwestern University, in Illinois, in 1940. He then went to Cornell University Medical School, 1940-1949, where he worked in a laboratory. In 1943, he replaced an instructor, who went into the military during World War II.
In 1949, he went to the Pharmacology Department of Washington University, St. Louis. Furchgott spent seven years here continuing with his work that he began at Cornell University on energy-metabolism.
In 1956, he accepted the position of chairman of the new Department of Pharmacology at the State University of New York (SUNY), College of Medicine in Brooklyn, New York. The name has been changed to the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.
In 1982, he resigned as the chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He continued his teaching duties as professor until he retired, in 1989, and received his emeritus status.
He is currently living in Brooklyn with his family. He is continuing to write about his experiences and he is still a Professor Emeritus at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1991 and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 1996.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1991 and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, 1996
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