Ferid Murad '58
April 23, 1999, Greencastle, Ind. - "The field has been so exciting," according to Ferid Murad, an Indiana native and DePauw University graduate, who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine. Dr. Murad, a 1958 DePauw graduate, discussed "Discovery of Cellular Signaling with Nitric Oxide" this morning in Kresge Auditorium in a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture. The event marked Murad's first visit back to Indiana since receiving the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Murad is chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and also director of The Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases. He was one of three researchers awarded the Nobel Prize on October 12, 1998 in recognition of their work for discovering that nitric oxide functions as a signal molecule in the cardiovascular system. The discovery was key to the development of Viagra, the anti-impotence drug, and has potential applications for the treatment of heart disease and other illnesses. All three researchers worked on the properties of nitric oxide, a gas that transmits signals from one cell to another. Murad analyzed how nitroglycerin and related compounds act.
Murad and his fellow researchers from the State University of New York-Brooklyn and University of California-Los Angeles shared the $978,000 awarded with the Nobel Prize.
"We've just scratched the surface of this application in biology and diseases," Murad told his DePauw audience today.
The researcher noted, "DePauw prepared me very well, and I'm very grateful for my experience here. I noticed a few minutes ago standing out in the lobby a few of my past professors and teachers, and I'm really grateful for what you've done for me."
Dr. Murad's speech is in conjunction with the beginning of the Celebration of the Percy Julian Centennial at DePauw. A 1920 graduate of DePauw, Dr. Julian was an internationally known African-American chemist whose discoveries included the synthesis of the glaucoma drug physostigmine and the improved production of cortisone.