Robert F. Furchgott, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
Dr. Furchgott was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1937 and a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Northwestern University in 1940. He taught at the Cornell University College of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology from 1949-1956. Dr. Furchgott served as professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center (now SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn) from 1956-1982, and is a distinguished professor emeritus.
Dr. Furchgott is recognized for his research in drug-receptor theory, autonomic neuroeffector mechanisms, and vascular pharmacology and physiology. He performed seminal experiments which led to the identification of nitric oxide as a key signaling component from endothelial cells, influencing smooth muscle cell relaxation. Dr. Furchgott was presented with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10, 1998. When he returned to his hometown of Charleston in 2001, he was appointed Distinguished University Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Furchgott died at the age of 92 in May of 2009, in Seattle, Washington.