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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 20, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 22
For the Record: JHM Names Richard Huganir Director of Neuroscience


By Joann Rodgers
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Richard L. Huganir, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins since 1988 and an international authority on the way molecular signals in neurons are created in the brain to bring about human learning and the construction of memories, has been named director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine.

He becomes the second chair in the 25-year history of the department, succeeding the founding director for whom it is now named.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, professor of neuroscience since 1993 and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the school, Huganir is widely acclaimed for his novel experiments shedding light on the makeup and activity of proteins and other brain chemicals at work when nerve cells in the brain communicate.

Because his work is focused on the fundamental issues surrounding synaptic plasticity, it has profound implications for treatment of an array of neurological diseases and movement disorders, including Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), stroke and dementia.

"It is always a special pleasure to recognize that one of our own faculty is the very best candidate we could hope to have," said Edward D. Miller, dean of the faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine in announcing Huganir's appointment. "His scientific credentials are sterling, but in addition, he has been an effective leader in the department, active in many roles in the school and nationally. And most important, he has the vision to take the department into what is quickly becoming a new Golden Age of neuroscience."

Huganir graduated with a degree in biochemistry from Vassar College and earned a doctorate in biochemistry, and molecular and cell biology from Cornell University. Following postdoctoral work at Yale and Rockefeller universities, he came to Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor in 1988.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific articles and reviews and is well-known at Hopkins as a consummate mentor of young investigators.


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