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 Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s 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 Institutet’s 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 Institutet’s activities.

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For further information, contact:
President Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, via press officer Sabina Bossi
Tel: +46 8 5248 6066 or +46 70 614 6066

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of human health through research and education. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden, and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.