UCLA Nobel Laureate Honored With Membership in the American Philosophical Society

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Louis J. Ignarro (Beverly Hills, Calif.),distinguished professor of pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicineat UCLA and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine, has been elected to theAmerican Philosophical Society.

Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, the AmericanPhilosophical Society is the country's oldest learnedsociety, recognizing extraordinary achievements in science, letters and thearts. Ignarro joins an illustrious group of membersthat has included Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Andrew Carnegieand Beverly Sills.

The American Philosophical Society promotes knowledgethrough scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, libraryresources and community outreach. Currently, there are 900 members.

Ignarro's groundbreaking discoveryof the importance of nitric oxide in cardiovascular health secured him the 1998Nobel Prize. He found that nitric oxide is produced in the blood vessels andcontrols the flow of blood by signaling vessels to expand and contract. Ashortage in nitric oxide production, caused by poor diet and lack of physicalactivity, can lead to cardiovascular disease — including heart attack, strokeand high cholesterol.

Ignarro also discovered thatnitric oxide is the neurotransmitter responsible for penile erection, which ledto the development of Viagra, the first oral medication for the treatment oferectile dysfunction.

Additional prestigious awards Ignarrohas received include the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association,the CIBA Award for Hypertension Research and the RousselUclaf Prize for Cell Communication and Signaling. Hehas been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academyof Arts and Sciences and has published more than 500 articles.

Ignarro, who has been at UCLA for22 years, is currently a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at theDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941, Ignarroreceived his bachelor's degree in chemistry and pharmacy from Columbia Universityand his doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota.

 

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