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James W. Black

James W. BlackAKA James Whyte Black

Born: 14-Jun-1924
Birthplace: Uddingston, Scotland
Died: 22-Mar-2010
Cause of death: Illness

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: Scotland
Executive summary: Propranolol and cimetidine

Sir James Whyte Black's research led to the development of propranolol, a lifesaving breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease. Propranolol is a beta-blocker, interrupting adrenaline's stimulating effect on the heart and reducing the heart's need for oxygen. The medicine is used in treatment of angina, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, tremors, anxiety, and panic disorders. He also developed cimetidine, which inhibits acid secretion in the stomach and is thus used to treat heartburn and ulcers.

Black's career was split between academic labs and pharmaceutical giants, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988, sharing the honor with two American researchers from North Carolina, Gertrude B. Elion and George H. Hitchings. When told he had won the Nobel Prize, Black quipped, "I wish I had my beta-blockers handy." His wife died four years before Black received his honors, and in his biography for the Nobel Committee he described her as the most intellectually exciting person he ever knew.

Father: (mining engineer)
Wife: Hilary Vaughan (attorney, dated 1944-46, m. 1946, d. 1986)
Daughter: Stephanie (b. 1951)

    High School: Beath High School, Cowdenbeath, Scotland
    Medical School: MD, University of St. Andrews (1946)
    Teacher: Physiology, University of Malaya (1947-50)
    Professor: Veterinary Physiology, University of Glasgow (1950-56)
    Professor: Pharmacology, University College London (1973-77)
    Professor: Pharmacology, King's College London (1984-93)
    Administrator: Chancellor, University of Dundee (1992-2006)

    Lasker Award 1976
    Order of Merit 1979
    Knight of the British Empire 1981
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1988 (with Gertrude B. Elion and George H. Hitchings)
    Imperial Chemical Industries (1958-64)
    GlaxoSmithKline (1964-73)
    Wellcome Trust (1977-84)
    Royal Society
    Scottish Ancestry

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