Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Ferid Murad to Speak at University of Virginia on Jan. 23

January 18, 2006 — Nobel laureate Dr. Ferid Murad, a groundbreaking physiologist who conducted some of his most important research during the 1970s at the University of Virginia, will present a public lecture, “Before and After the Nobel Prize,” on Monday, Jan. 23, at 4 p.m. in the Rotunda Dome Room. A reception in the Lower West Oval Room will follow. The lecture, part of a series of annual public lectures at U.Va. by Nobel science laureates, is free and open to the public.

Murad, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology, will discuss his research into nitric oxide, some of its many biological effects and its application in drug development for numerous diseases.

Murad and two other researchers earned their 1998 Nobel Prize for discoveries during the 1980s concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system, and how the molecule serves to relax blood vessels. The work initiated a new chapter in several areas of biomedical research and initiated new therapies for the treatment and diagnosis of heart disease and other serious inflammatory diseases.

“Dr. Murad’s work has relevance to almost every area of medicine and physiology,” said Dr. Ariel Gomez, U.Va. vice president for research and graduate studies. “He transformed the way medical researchers think about how cells communicate with one another and how signals are interpreted within cells to accomplish their missions.”

Murad is a professor of integrative biology, pharmacology and physiology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Throughout the 1970s he was a professor at U.Va. in the departments of internal medicine and pharmacology, and for much of that time served as director of the Clinical Research Center and the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.

The Nobel laureate speaker program, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, gives the University community and the public an opportunity to celebrate discovery and creativity as essential features of the University’s mission. Several other initiatives are under way to increase the quality and visibility of scientific research at U.Va., including a commitment to interdisciplinary and multi-investigator research, recruitment of leading researchers and accelerating the construction of research facilities.