University Honors Nobel Prize Winner

December 03, 2008

Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson will receive the University of Rochester’s Eastman Medal Thursday, Dec. 4, when he also will give a lecture at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The award ceremony and lecture will begin at 3 p.m. in the Lower Adolph Auditorium (1-7619) in the University of Rochester Medical Center. University President Joel Seligman, Chairman of the Board Emeritus G. Robert Witmer and Senior Vice President for Health Service and Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., will present the Eastman Medal to Carlsson.

The Eastman Medal, named for George Eastman, philanthropist and founder of the Eastman Kodak Co., is awarded to individuals who, through their outstanding achievement and dedicated service, embody the high ideals for which the University stands.

Carlsson, a professor emeritus of Pharmacology at Göteborg University in Sweden, is one of three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.

Carlsson received the Nobel for his discovery that dopamine is a transmitter in the brain and that it has great importance in the ability to control movements. “His research has led to the realization that Parkinson's disease is caused by a lack of dopamine in certain parts of the brain and that an efficient remedy (L-dopa) for this disease could be developed,” the Nobel Assembly said. “Arvid Carlsson has made a number of subsequent discoveries, which have further clarified the role of dopamine in the brain. He has thus demonstrated the mode of action of drugs used for the treatment of schizophrenia.”

Born in Sweden in 1923, Carlsson earned a medical degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Lund, where he went on to hold teaching positions in pharmacology.

From 1955 to 1956, he conducted research as a visiting scientist in the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology at the National Heart Institute in Bethesda, Md.

In 1959, he was named professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Göteborg, where he served as chair from 1959 to 1976. He achieved emeritus status in 1989. He later joined with other collaborators to establish A. Carlsson Research Aktiebolag, a biotechnology company in Sweden that develops new drug treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders. A member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Carlsson is a foreign associate member of the Institute of Medicine.

Carlsson’s lecture is titled “Mixed Agonism-Antagonism: An Established Pharmacologic Principle Still Waiting for Therapeutic Exploitation.”

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