Robert F. Furchgott Biography
Birthday: June 4, 1916 (Gemini)
Born In: Charleston, South Carolina
Robert F. Furchgott was an American biochemist who discovered that nitric oxide (NO) acts as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system of mammals. This discovery earned him a share of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with several other prestigious awards and recognitions. The son of a department store owner, he spent many years of his youth in small towns where he developed a love for nature and sciences. As a boy, he loved visiting beaches, marshes and woods, and was an avid bird watcher. From a young age there was no doubt in his mind that he was meant to become a scientist and his parents’ encouragement further fuelled his ambitions. After completing a degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he proceeded to earn his doctorate in biochemistry from Northwestern University. He taught and researched at Cornell and Washington Universities for several years before joining the SUNY-Brooklyn’s department of pharmacology in 1956 from where he retired after more than three decades. Over the course of his research he primarily studied the mechanism of drug interaction with the receptors in blood vessels. Experimenting with rabbits, he also developed a method for determining how blood vessels respond to medications, neurotransmitters and hormones.