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Louis Ignarro in front of glass backdrop

The road to Stockholm: Nobel Laureate to share his personal journey

By Mary Hare
Louis Ignarro, Pharmacologist and Nobel Laureate

Nobel Laureate Louis Ignarro, a pharmacologist sometimes referred to as the “Father of Viagra,” will give a public lecture as part of the Linus Pauling Institute’s 10th International Conference on Bioactives, Botanicals, and Redox Mechanisms. Dr. Ignarro’s talk, “The Road to Stockholm – A Nobel Mission,” encompasses far more than his vast research accomplishments.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, from a working-class, Italian immigrant family, Ignarro will share his inspiring journey to the pinnacle of success in the science community, and the many steps he took along the way that landed him the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1998.

By identifying the little-known substance nitric oxide as an important player in blood vessel expansion and relaxation, Ignarro and his fellow Nobel Prize winners set off waves of medical advancements that are still instrumental and influential to the field of research today. Their research led to many pharmaceutical developments, including lifesaving treatments for heart and cardiovascular diseases, but perhaps most recognizably a little blue pill to treat impotence.

Ignarro earned his B.S. in chemistry and pharmacology at Columbia University and his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota  School of Medicine in Minneapolis. He received a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical pharmacology from National Institutes of Health in 1968. He then worked as a staff scientist at Geigy Pharmaceuticals, a former Swiss pharmaceutical company now part of Novartis, before leaving industry for academia and joining the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1973. Since 1985, Ignarro has been on the faculty at University of California, Los Angeles, where he is currently a professor emeritus of pharmacology in the School of Medicine’s department of molecular and medical pharmacology.

The public lecture will be held on Friday, August 16, 2019, at the LaSells Stuart Center. The lecture begins at 4:30 p.m. followed by Q&A. Guests are welcome to attend a light reception at 3:30 p.m. to enjoy refreshments and visit with conference sponsors. Co-sponsored by the College of Science, the events are free and open to everyone, but advance registration for the lecture is required.

The three-day conference will take place August 14-16, 2019, at Oregon State University and features a diverse lineup of speakers with Dr. Ignarro’s closing public lecture capping the event. All OSU faculty, staff and students are invited to register for the conference at a discounted rate using the code omit.

New this year is an exciting partnership with the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM), who will be hosting their fourth Regional Redox Symposium in conjunction with the to the Linus Pauling Institute (LPI) International Conference. Together, the events have attracted numerous high-profile researchers to come and share insights during the multiple sessions discussing the safety and regulation of dietary supplements, vitamins, and oxidation-reduction (redox) biology of neurodegeneration and cancer.

As one of the three scientists to receive the Nobel Prize for “discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system,” Dr. Ignarro could not be better suited to serve as the keynote speaker for the event.


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