Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D. (Beverly Hills, Calif.), distinguished professor of pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society.
Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, the American Philosophical Society is the country's oldest learned society, recognizing extraordinary achievements in science, letters and the arts. Ignarro joins an illustrious group of members that has included Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Andrew Carnegie and Beverly Sills.
The American Philosophical Society promotes knowledge through scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources and community outreach. Currently, there are 900 members.
Ignarro's groundbreaking discovery of the importance of nitric oxide in cardiovascular health secured him the 1998 Nobel Prize. He found that nitric oxide is produced in the blood vessels and controls the flow of blood by signaling vessels to expand and contract. A shortage in nitric oxide production, caused by poor diet and lack of physical activity, can lead to cardiovascular disease -- including heart attack, stroke and high cholesterol.
Ignarro also discovered that nitric oxide is the neurotransmitter responsible for penile erection, which led to the development of Viagra, the first oral medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Additional prestigious awards Ignarro has received include the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association, the CIBA Award for Hypertension Research and the Roussel Uclaf Prize for Cell Communication and Signaling. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has published more than 500 articles. Ignarro, who has been at UCLA for 22 years, is currently a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David 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, Ignarro received his bachelor's degree in chemistry and pharmacy from Columbia University and his doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota.
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