Leading Scientist and Mentor Awarded Gold Medal

Published 2010-09-02 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:24

[PRESS RELEASE 2010-09-02] One of the leading scientists of our age - American Nobel Prize laureate Paul Greengard - is to be awarded the Karolinska Institutet Gold Medal, which is being given during the year of the university's 200-year anniversary. Dr. Greengard receives the medal for his research, which has increased our understanding of neurological and mental diseases, and for his more than 40 years of collaboration with Karolinska Institutet.

Paul Greengard's innovative research has revealed many of the mechanisms behind neurological and mental diseases, and it has inspired several generations of scientists at Karolinska Institutet.

"He has been a speaker at many of our symposia and he has collaborated with and been a mentor to many of our scientists. It is impossible to overstate his importance," says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President of Karolinska Institutet.

Dr. Greengard is the Vincent Astor Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University in New York. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his discoveries of how brain cells communicate, and how this communication can be altered. This research has in turn led to the development of new pharmaceuticals and treatments for Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, schizophrenia and depression.

"Paul Greengard's most important discovery was that the communication, or signalling, between nerve cells of the brain takes place through a chemical reaction, protein phosphorylation. This involves the addition and removal of phosphate groups from proteins, leading to changes both in the form and in the function of the proteins. This discovery enables us to develop drugs that influence the phosphorylation and thus the functions of various nerve cells", says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson.

The Gold Medal will be presented on Thursday, 23 September 2010, in association with the Karolinska Institutets Bicentenary ceremony at the residence of the Swedish ambassador to the US in Washington DC.

This medal is the highest award conferred by the Karolinska Institutet during its 200 year anniversary celebrations, recognizing the work of an individual, who is not permanently located at Karolinska Institutet, who has contributed and has achieved acknowledged eminence in Karolinska Institutets activities.

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