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Robert F. Furchgott

AKA Robert Francis Furchgott

Born: 4-Jun-1916
Birthplace: Charleston, SC
Died: 19-May-2009
Location of death: Seattle, WA
Cause of death: unspecified

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Nitric oxide as a cardiovascular signal

American pharmacologist Robert F. Furchgott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998, sharing the honor with Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad. He spent most of his career investigating the interaction between drugs and the receptors in blood vessels, and became best known for his research showing that an unknown signaling molecule is produced in blood vessels. He called this the endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Subsequent studies showed that this previously unknown factor was nitric oxide (NO), which acts to increase the diameter of blood vessels, providing a new means to relax, widen, and increase the capacity of blood vessels. This phenomenon is now triggered to life-saving effect by nitroglycerin and other related medicines for the heart. Furchgott's research also led to the development of sildenafil citrate -- Viagra -- which uses NO's miraculous blood-flow effect to engorge the penis and Pfizer's bottom line.

His family owned the Furchgott Department Stores, a five-story retail landmark in Jacksonville, Florida, that barely survived the Depression of the 1930s. Furchgott was a second-string offensive lineman on his high school football team, which won the state championship in his sophomore year. He could not have afforded college if not for the National Youth Administration, a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" that gave Furchgott menial work on campus and helped with his tuition.

Dr Furchgott retired in 2004, and until his death worked one day a week as a visiting professor of medicine at the University of South Carolina, a few miles from his home.

Father: Arthur Furchgott (owned department store)
Mother: Pena Sorentrue Furchgott
Girlfriend: Nonie Richardson (high school)
Wife: Lenore Mandelbaum (m. 23-Nov-1941, d. 1983, three daughters)
Daughter: Jane
Daughter: Susan
Daughter: Terry
Wife: Margaret Gallagher Roth ("Maggie", d. Alzheimers)

    High School: Orangeburg High School, Orangeburg, SC (1933)
    University: University of South Carolina (transferred to UNC after 1933-34)
    University: BS Chemistry, University of North Carolina (1937)
    University: PhD Biochemistry, Northwestern University (1940)
    Medical School: MD, Cornell University (1949)
    Scholar: Washington University in St. Louis (1949-56)
    Scholar: Pharmacology, State University of New York at Brooklyn (1956-89)
    Professor: Pharmacology, University of Miami Florida (1989-2004)
    Professor: University of South Carolina (2004-09)

    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    Lasker Award 1996
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1998 (with Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad)

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