No Sheepishness in Launching This Field

Tomorrow is the 73rd birthday of one of the founders of neuroendocrinology, Roger Guillemin. He and a competing group led by Andrew Schally showed that the hypothalamus, a brain region, regulates the pituitary gland by secreting chemicals called hormones into the bloodstream. Making this discovery was 99% perspiration: Guillemin and his colleagues had to wade through 500 tons of sheep brains to isolate 5 million slices of hypothalamus. Eventually they nabbed their quarry, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). By 1969, they reported the structure of TRH, which Guillemin later said marked the beginning of a major new science. In 1977, the French-born American endocrinologist shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Schally for this work.

[Source: Emily McMurray, Ed., Notable Twentieth Century Scientists. Gale Research Inc., ITP, 1995.]

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