Click on the name below to see their tribute
Paul M. Vanhoutte, MD/PhD/DHC
1940 – 2019
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Professor Paul M. Vanhoutte, without whom the Serotonin Club (renamed the International Society for Serotonin Research, ISSR in 2012) would not be. Dr. Vanhoutte passed on August 23, 2019, following complications resulting from a severe fall ten days earlier. Dr. Vanhoutte is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; children, Valerie, Jacqueline Jr., Paul Robert and Alexis; and grandchildren, Elina, Evita, Claire, Elio, Remi, Natalie and Katherine Emma.
Dr Vanhoutte founded the Serotonin Club in 1987, Heron Island, Australia. He was one of the giants in the field of serotonin research and a staunch advocate of the “Club”. His seminal findings include the discovery that serotonin is an important modulator of blood vessel constriction, which led to a burgeoning of research into the cardiovascular actions of serotonin. Dr. Vanhoutte’s illustrious career took him to all corners of the world. Among the many positions Dr. Vanhoutte held, he was an integral part of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR). He chaired the IUPHAR Committee for Receptor Nomenclature from 1989 to 1998, served as Secretary General from 1998 to 2002, and President of the Union from 2002 to 2006. He is the recipient of countless awards and honors, including being named an honorary member of the ISSR in 2012. In recognition of Dr. Vanhoutte’s enormous contributions to the field of serotonin research, pharmacology, and to his dedication to mentoring trainees and faculty at all levels, the ISSR created a named lectureship in his honor. The society was humbled to have Paul deliver the inaugural Paul Vanhoutte Distinguished Lectureship during the 2016 meeting of the ISSR, in Seattle, Washington, USA. Those fortunate enough to be in attendance will remember how truly wonderful his lecture was, and how moving the standing ovation that followed was for all present, including Paul. Paul was epitomized by his humility, collegiality, integrity, humor, and winning smile. He will be sorely missed.
--Lynette C. Daws, PhD., ISSR President 2015-2016
A Tribute to Dr. Vanhoutte
by Danny Hoyer, Michael Collis, Richard Bond, Michael Spedding
Paul M Vanhoutte passed away in Paris, France, on August 23rd 2019. Paul will be remembered as a leading figure in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology, as a great friend and mentor by those who were lucky enough to work with him, either in his lab or throughout his multiple activities. The 5-HT club will remember Paul for the creation of the Club in 1986/1987 (now ISSR), the numerous meetings that the club could organize following an initial number of special 5-HT meetings (1984 Zurich; 1986 Florence; 1988 Amsterdam & Munich; 1989, New York and Maui/ Hawaii; 1990 Cambridge; 1991, Birmingham & Houston, etc…) and satellite meetings to IUPHAR (1987 Heron Island; 1990 Basel, the latter was the basis for our financial stability), and then every subsequent IUPHAR meeting; the creation of the IUPHAR nomenclature committee as well as subcommittees (5-HT joined the club in 1990 when we met in Basel with Pat Humphrey, Paul Hartig, Terry Branchek, Graeme Martin, Manfred Goethert, Pramod Saxena, Ewan Mylecharane, John Fozard, Michel Hamon, Steve Peroutka and many others), and made very significant contributions to a new approach to receptor nomenclature which was by and large adopted by the other nomenclature committees; and is now updated every year in the BJP Guide to Pharmacology.
Alexander SP and CGTP Collaborators: (2017) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2017/18: G protein coupled receptors. Br. J. Pharmacol. 174 Suppl 1: S17-S117. PMID: 29055037
Hoyer D, Martin GR. (1997) Classification and nomenclature of 5-HT receptors: Towards a harmonisation with the human genome. Neuropharmacology, 36: 419-428. PMID: 9225265, 432 cites
Hoyer D, Martin GR. (1996) Classification and nomenclature of 5-HT receptors: a comment on current issues. Behav. Brain Res. 73: 263-268. PMID: 8788515 170 cites
Hartig et al (1996) Alignment of receptor nomenclature with the human genome. Effects on classification of 5-HT1D/5-HT1B receptor subtypes, TiPS, 17: 103-105. PMID: 8936345 299 cites
Hoyer et al (1994). International Union of Pharmacology classification of receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine (Serotonin). Pharmacol Rev, 46:157-203. PMID: 7813563 3462 cites
Humphrey et al (1993). A new nomenclature for 5-HT receptors. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 14: 233-236. 653 cites
DH met Paul Vanhoutte in Zurich in 1984 at a cardiovascular meeting and since then, we have always been in touch. We had dinner in Melbourne only a few months ago (Paul was a regular visitor and was also here to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Geoff Burnstock, another legend earlier this year). Paul was very optimistic about his disease and kept travelling with great enthusiasm and energy. Everyone remembers with emotion the standing ovation, when Paul was made a honorary member of the club in 2012 in Montpellier, or when he attended the inaugural Paul Vanhoutte lecture in Seattle in 2016. Paul was also instrumental in helping with financial support for our more recent satellite meetings.
Paul was born and trained in Belgium (BS, MS, MD). He received postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA), which was the start of a long-term association with John Shepherd and the Clinic. Paul`s subsequent career spanned academia, industry and three continents. He held professorial positions at the University of Antwerp, The Mayo Clinic, and Baylor College of Medicine, where he was also Director of the Centre for Experimental Therapeutics. Paul moved to industry as Vice-President R&D, and Director of Discovery Research at the Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier, in France (1992 – 2002). From 2003 until his death (he never retired), he returned to academia at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong as Distinguished Visiting Professor, Director/ Founder of the Biopharmaceutical Development Centre and Head of Department.
Paul made many major contributions to Pharmacology and was awarded honorary fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society in 2006. He gave a number of prize lectures during his career including the BPS JR Vane Medal prize lecture in 2004. Named lectures in his honour have been created by the American Society for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the ISSR. Paul had major roles in IUPHAR (International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology), chairing the Committee for Receptor Nomenclature (1989 – 1998), was Secretary General (1998 – 2002), and President of the Union (2002 – 2006). He received honorary doctorates from 9 universities, was a member of many learned societies and an honorary member of the Physiological Society.
Paul had a prodigious scientific output having co-authored or edited 36 books, published 669 original research papers, and 574 editorials, reviews or chapters in books. He was a Highly Cited Researcher (ISI) in three categories: Biology & Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Clinical Medicine with an h-index of 128. Paul has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology (Heart and Circulatory Physiology), and was on the editorial board of numerous physiology and pharmacology journals (e.g. Circulation, Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research, Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension, American Journal of Physiology, Acta Sinica Pharmacologica, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) and the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Paul`s early research evolved from the control of veins to understanding why acetylcholine is a vasodilator. This led to investigations of the control of sympathetic neuro-effector junction and of the interaction of vasodilator and vasoconstrictor substances with the vascular endothelium. His major scientific contribution was to analyse the importance of endothelial cells in the control of the underlying vascular smooth muscle in health and disease. Paul had a world-wide reputation for his research in cardiovascular disease, vascular neuro-effector mechanisms, calcium-antagonists, and the interactions of endothelium, EDRF, EDHF and nitric oxide.
However, this impressive list of achievements and honours, underestimates the contribution to pharmacology Paul made through the great number of students and postdoctoral fellows that he trained and influenced. Those of us who had the privilege to work with Paul will always remember his charismatic scientific leadership and guidance. We will also remember him as a great friend and mentor. He had unbounded energy and enthusiasm for science, for people and for life. He travelled prodigiously, meeting all the leading scientists in cardiovascular pharmacology and inviting them back to his lab to present their work and to talk to his pre- and post-doctoral associates. He took a keen interest in the careers of the many young scientists that he mentored and inspired, helping them to work with other leading vascular biology groups. Pauls’ care and interest in the success of his trainees inspired a genuine warm loyalty from all who ever spent time with him. At every major scientific conference, there would be an impromptu Paul Vanhoutte dinner attended by all the ex- trainees attending the conference. If one had a conflict with another event, it was the other event that would be missed because of the loyalty and respect Paul had earned. Similarly, something was usually organized for major award events or milestones in Paul’s life. For example, for his 60th birthday a surprise gathering was held in Paris where over 100 former mentees from around the world paid their way to celebrate Paul’s birthday.
He was great fun to work with and also to relax with after work. He enjoyed good company, good food, good wine and good jokes (and the occasional cigar). He had many memorable sayings such as “I feel a paper coming on” and “There are three kinds of people, those who make things happen, those who watch what happens and those who wondered what happened”. He was in the first category and made good things happen for the young scientists he trained during his career and for his co-workers. His lunch / dinner invites whether in Paris, Hong Kong or any other place in the word, will be remembered as the quintessence of culinary, social, scientific and cultural events.
Paul will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We will remember his scientific insight and influence, his ‘art-de-vivre’, the seemingly impossible travel schedules, his quick wit and infectious laugh.
Our thoughts are with his wife Jacqueline, his four children and seven grandchildren.
Manfred Göthert, MD/DHC/DHC
1939 – 2019
See recent publication on Prof. Göthert's contributions:
Download Open Access Article: click here
Obituary for Prof. em. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Manfred Göthert
by Danny Hoyer of Melbourne, Australia &
Heinz Bönisch and Eberhard Schlicker of Bonn, Germany
Our Friend and colleague, Manfred Göthert, who was head of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Bonn from 1985 to 2006, passed away on June 28, 2019. I (DH) met Manfred in 1980 or 1981 at the annual meeting of the German Pharmacological Society in Mainz, and since then, have always been in touch through the Society, later the 5-HT club, at editorial board meetings of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg´s Archives of Pharmacology (of which I am a board member since 1986) and many meetings.
Manfred Göthert was born in 1939 in Braunschweig and attended schools in Lindau, Rognac (near Marseille in France), Hildesheim and Braunschweig. He studied medicine at the universities of Hamburg, Freiburg, Innsbruck, Vienna and Göttingen where Manfred graduated and completed his thesis (Dr. med.) in 1965.
From 1967 to 1978, Manfred was at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Hamburg. At the beginning, he dealt with a toxicological topic (carbon monoxide intoxication), but very soon switched to Pharmacology. He was interested in the effects of ethanol, local and general anesthetics on noradrenaline release from peripheral sympathetic neurons and on catecholamine release from the adrenal medulla. The latter two topics were the basis of his habilitation thesis (1971). In 1976, Manfred became a full professor. Using different methods to induce noradrenaline release e.g. electrical pulses, high KCl, tyramine, nicotinic or 5-HT3 receptors agonists, he demonstrated that noradrenaline release elicited by ligand-gated cation channels modulation can be inhibited by ethanol, halothane or pentobarbitone in pharmacologically relevant concentrations. Manfred Göthert appears to be the first that has understood that ligand-gated ion channels are essential targets of general anaesthetics.
In 1978, Manfred became Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology in Essen. His interest in serotonin (5-HT) had already been kindled in Hamburg by Hans-Georg Baumgarten. In Essen and later in Bonn, he examined the modulation of 5-HT release by presynaptic auto- and heteroreceptors. This was a very fascinating scientific area, which had been started a little earlier by the pioneering work of Erich Muscholl, Sol Langer and Klaus Starke on noradrenergic neurons. The group of Manfred Göthert was much engaged in the identification of presynaptic 5-HT autoreceptors in the brain and of 5-HT heteroreceptors on peripheral noradrenergic neurons. We (DH, ES)published several papers together on 5-HT1B/1D receptor in rodent and human brain, one of which was cited over 700 times.
In 1985, Manfred took the Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Medical Faculty in Bonn. Modulation of 5-HT and noradrenaline release still was one of his major scientific interests and a huge number of papers was written by his group. In addition, publications about the identification and characterization of neuronal calcium channels and of imidazoline and glutamate receptors appeared. Methods like cell culture and molecular biological techniques were established by one of the authors of this obituary (H.B.) and his coworkers (in particular Michael Brüß) which paved the way for Manfred Göthert’s interest in molecular biology. Molecular properties of naturally occurring variants of human 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2C, 5-HT3A und 5-HT7A receptors were studied in a collaborative research centre (SFB 400, DFG), with the Psychiatric Clinic and the Institute of Human Genetics. Variants of these receptors might be involved in neuropsychiatric diseases. Further, new subtypes of 5-HT3 receptors (5-HT3C, 5-HT3D and 5-HT3E) were discovered (jointly with Beate Niesler and Jutta Walstab). Manfred was a very successful dean of the Medical Faculty in Bonn (1998 to 2002), which resulted in a greater emphasis on research within that faculty. Medical students appreciated Manfred Göthert as a brilliant academic teacher. Manfred was highly estimated as head of the Institute due to his straightforwardness and friendliness.
Manfred has been president of the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies (EPHAR) from 2004 to 2006, of the German Pharmacological Society (1997 - 1999) and vice president of the 5-HT Club (1994 – 1998). He was Managing Editor of Naunyn-Schmiedeberg´s Archives of Pharmacology (1995 - 2002). Manfred Göthert organized a series of international conferences dedicated to 5-HT and cardiovascular research, including the 2004 EPHAR meeting in Porto, with a very successful 5-HT satellite symposium. His last contribution as an invited speaker, was in 2010 at the 9th meeting of the 5-HT Club in Montreal. His Honorary Rapport Lecture received much applause.
Manfred was a member of German National Academy of Sciences, of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and was made a honorary member of the International Society of Serotonin Research, the German Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT) and the Polish Pharmacological Society.
Manfred Göthert will be remembered as a great colleague and friend with a distinguished career, very gentle manners and a great sense of service.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Gerald Curzon, PhD
1928 – 2019
Obituary for Professor Gerald Curzon
by Charles Marsden and Richard Green
Gerald Curzon died in April 2019, only a few months after the death of his wife Stella.
Gerald was born in 1928 in Leeds and attended Cockburn High School in that city. He studied chemistry. He remembered that and at one stage neither he, nor his schoolfriend Sidney Cotson, were doing that well and his form-master suggested they both become apprentices at Yorkshire Copperworks. Happily, neither student followed this career advice since Cotson also had a distinguished academic career, becoming a member of the University Grants Committee.
Gerald obtained his first degree in Chemistry at the University of Leeds, following this with a PhD in biochemistry, also at Leeds. He then moved to London and after a brief period at the Institute of Orthopaedics moved in 1953 to the Dept. of Chemical Pathology at the National Hospital, Queen Square where he remained for the rest of his academic career. He became Reader in the Institute of Neurology in 1968 and joined the new Dept of Neurochemistry in 1971, becoming Professor of Neurochemistry in 1975. He was appointed Emeritus Professor on his retirement in 1993.
Although he had a strong attachment to neurochemistry, and would have probably called himself a neurochemist, his links with all the associated disciplines is evident from his society memberships. He was a member of the Biochemical Society and the International Society of Neurochemistry, becoming their archivist following his retirement from the Institute of Neurology. He was an honorary member of the International Society for Serotonin Research and was appointed a member of Council of the British Association for Psychopharmacology. He was also a long-time member of the British Pharmacological Society and it is striking that many of his PhD students and post-docs have been, and continue to be, active members of the BPS, so his influence on pharmacology are substantial.
The major thrust of Gerald’s work was on the chemistry of the brain, particularly serotonin, and the effects of drugs on this neurotransmitter. This interest was initiated following discussions with Richard Pratt, a psychiatrist at Queen Square who, soon after the first reports of the psychoactive properties of LSD, showed him its structure and asked him how it might act. Gerald said it looked a bit like 5-HT. When asked whether 5-HT was in the brain Gerald said he did not know, but would find out, thereby discovering that its presence in this organ had been reported only a few months earlier by Sir John Gaddum. His interest in 5-HT in the brain, its involvement in mood, and the mechanisms by which its concentration and function could be altered dominated his subsequent career. This is reflected in his publication list of 267 papers of which no less than 151 involve some aspect of serotonin neuropharmacology and function.
Early studies examined the effects of corticosteroids and plasma tryptophan levels on brain 5-HT concentrations (primarily with Richard Green, Michael Joseph and Peter Knott). This work was enhanced by his development with Richard Green of a fluorimetric method of measuring both 5-HT and its major metabolite in small areas of rat brain. This was published as a short paper in the Br J Pharmacol and cited more than 1000 times in the next 10 years. Interestingly, it was superseded by a hplc method developed by Charles Marsden, a later post-doc in Gerald’s department. Charles also initiated studies which examined the association between 5-HT function and behaviour.
Gerald’s later research had a much more psychopharmacological bent. With Mark Tricklebank he examined analgesia and with Guy Kennett he investigated the role of stress in altering rodent behaviour. The link between 5-HT and feeding behaviour in rodents was examined by Colin Dourish and this seamlessly evolved into investigations on the anorectic drug fenfluramine. Methods of examining neurotransmitters and drugs in vivo were spearheaded by Peter Hutson leading to the examination of clinically used drugs in vivo.
Gerald’s great gift to all his colleagues was showing them how integration of scientific approaches used by neurochemists, biochemists, and pharmacologists resulted in information that was much more valuable than those pursuing only one specialist approach. In that regard one is reminded of the quote of Sir John Gaddum that pharmacologists are ‘jacks of all trades’. Gerald was certainly that, and it was this multidisciplinary approach that attracted many of his young scientists.
Gerald’s legacy to pharmacology, particularly serotonin pharmacology, is huge. Even after his retirement he continued to be interested in all that went on in serotonin research. In 2008 he expressed pleasure at being able to attend the dinner of the ISSR meeting being held in Oxford and we were all delighted to see him there. He also took part in the 2012 Wellcome Trust Witness Seminar on serotonin research in the UK and was an active contributor to the subsequent book. Our thoughts are not only with the many pharmacologists who he influenced in so many positive ways but also with his daughters Catherine and Jane at this sad time.
Gerald Curzon, PhD
Gerald Curzon, PhD
A. Richard Green, PhD, DSc
1944 – 2020
Dr. Green was a Past President of, and the second Secretary/Treasurer for, the International Society for Serotonin Research (at the time called Serotonin Club). He was greatly respected, a dedicated pharmacologist, and a lifetime membership honoree of the International Society for Serotonin Research. Dr. Green was also very involved in the British Pharmacological Society, as well as the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Dr. Green was lead author on an article published in 2008 in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences on the Serotonin Club (link). For more information on his prodigious research contributions, see his ResearchGate profile (link). The photos above were kindly provided by Dr. Daniel Hoyer.
Here is a link to an interview with Dr. Green in 2015.
A Tribute to Dr. Green
Prof. A. Richard Green: BPS Symposium, Pharmacology 2022, Liverpool, UK
"Pioneers in Pharmacology & Drug Discovery”.
Prof. Daniel Hoyer, University of Melbourne, Australia.
The Serotonin Club (currently International Society for Serotonin research) was created by Paul Vanhoutte in 1987 and has since been an essential component in 5-HT research, due to its successful and frequent meetings organised in association with IUPHAR, SFN, EPHAR and the BPS. Richard Green was a founding member, president and importantly for many years a highly efficient mentor/promoter of the Club , in addition to his multiple professional commitments with Astra Zeneca, the BPS, BAP and various journals. Under Richard’s watch, the Club prospered and enabled multiple collaborations on preclinical and clinical aspects of 5-HT research between academia, biotech and big Pharma and taking a leading role in nomenclature. Our systematisation of 5-HT receptor nomenclature [2-6] paved the way for IUPHAR to set up multiple receptor and other nomenclature committees and forms the basis of the BJP Concise guide to Pharmacology in association with IUPHAR . The multiple contributions of Richard to the 5-HT field are summarised in two events dedicated to 5-HT research in general and Richard Green in particular [8,9], where he highlights aspects of his preclinical and clinical work, and the importance of mentorship with clinical colleagues such as David Nutt, Guy Goodwin, Phil Cohen, Jeff Aronson and of course David Grahame-Smith.
 Green AR, Marsden CA, Mylecharane EJ (2008). The Serotonin Club: coming of age. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 29: 431-432
 Humphrey PPA, Hartig PR, Hoyer D (1993). A new nomenclature for 5-HT receptors. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 14: 233-236.
 Hoyer D, Clarke DE, Fozard JR, Hartig PR, Martin GR, Mylecharane EJ, Saxena PR, Humphrey PPA (1994). International Union of Pharmacology classification of receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine (Serotonin). Pharmacol Rev, 46: 157-203.
 Hartig P, Hoyer D, Humphrey PPA, Martin G (1996). Alignment of receptor nomenclature with the human genome. Effects on classification of 5-HT1D/5-HT1B receptor subtypes, Trends Pharmacol Sci, 17: 103-105.
 Hoyer D, Martin GR (1997). Classification and nomenclature of 5-HT receptors: Towards a harmonisation with the human genome. Neuropharmacol, 36: 419-428.
 Barnes NM et al (2021). International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. CX. Classification of Receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine; Pharmacology and Function. Pharmacol Rev, 73: 310-520.
 Alexander SP et al (2021). The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2021/22. Br J Pharmacol, 178.
 Overy C, Tansey EM (eds) (2013). Drugs Affecting 5-HT Systems. Wellcome
Witnesses to Contemporary Medicine, vol. 47. London: Queen Mary, University of London.
 Tansey EM (intvr); Tansey EM, Zarros A (eds) (2016). Green, Richard: transcript of an audio interview (17-Dec-2015). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2016034. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Prof. Jeff Aronson, Oxford University, UK.
From the inception in 1972 of the MRC Unit and University Department of Clinical Pharmacology in Oxford, its Director, David Grahame-Smith, recognized the importance of combining basic pharmacology and clinical pharmacology, linking laboratory work with clinical experience, the former suggesting clinical applications and the latter feeding ideas back to the laboratory for further exploration. Among the basic scientists who working in the Oxford Department, as he did from 1973 to 1986, Richard Green played a pivotal part. His work on the pharmacology of neurotransmitters, mainly 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT, serotonin), but also dopamine, noradrenaline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate, on all of which he published from time to time, was a central part of departmental activities. In his studies in experimental animals of the effects of various pharmacological interventions to probe brain function, he put to good use an assay that he and Gerald Curzon had described in 1970 for measuring brain concentrations of 5HT and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA). His work on depression included the use of animal models such as the serotonin syndrome, induced by injecting the animals with tryptophan plus a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, and the use of electrically and pharmacologically induced seizures to mimic the actions of ECT in humans. His work, much of it in collaboration with clinical psychopharmacologists, informed interventions in clinical psychiatry, which formed a major area of collaboration of the Department.
Prof. Julia Buckingham, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.
Richard was an outstanding scientist, renowned internationally for his work in the field of neuropharmacology, particularly 5-HT. He was also someone who gave his time very generously to the broader scientific community, particularly to the BPS of which he was an ardent supporter, and a great friend to many of us. He relished being Meetings Secretary and then General Secretary and continued to support the Society even his ‘retirement’ when he regularly attended meetings not just to keep up with the science but also to see his many friends and catch up with the news. Richard was passionate about developing next generation of scientists, always taking time to talk to early career researchers presenting posters at meetings and chivvying colleagues chatting over coffee to ensure a good audience at oral sessions! But his efforts went much further than that – Richard was a natural teacher and mentor. When he left Oxford to head Astra’s Neuroscience Laboratories in London, he was keen to maintain foothold in academia and joined the Department of Pharmacology at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School as a Visiting Professor - he was a very regular visitor, giving lectures and tutorials, mentoring PhD students and hosting students at Astra for a neuropharmacology course and for final year projects – the ‘Astra experience’ was hugely popular and competition for places was fierce! Looking back, it was a great partnership and a golden era but circumstances change. Astra merged to become AstraZeneca and Richard’s laboratories moved to the Midlands where he also fostered his interest in education, contributing to programmes at both De Montfort and Nottingham Universities – generations of students have much to thank him for, as have we.
Dr. Alan Cross, Boston, USA.
The Astra Neuroscience Research Unit (ANRU) was established in 1986, with the remit of extending the research capability of Astra Pharmaceuticals into neurodegenerative disorders and building on the UK academic strengths in both psychopharmacology and neurodegeneration. The Unit was housed in an annex of the Institute of Neurology, University of London alongside the laboratories of Prof Gerald Curzon and Prof David Bowen, with Richard Green as Director. Richard recruited a group of young psychopharmacologists and synthetic chemists with a mix of strong academic backgrounds and pharmaceutical industry experience. ANRU capitalised on the broad academic networks of Richard and his colleagues in the UK, along with the links of Astra Pharmaceuticals SE to the Karolinska Institute, to establish and advance a series of drug discovery programs targeting neurodegenerative disorders. Richard’s drive and enthusiasm, allied with his commitment to scientific collaboration and mentorship were major factors in the success of ANRU. The Unit was closed in 1996 following the acquisition of Fisons Pharmaceuticals R&D, by which time 4 drug candidates had been delivered into the Astra drug development organisation, 2 of which advanced to Phase 3 efficacy studies and Astra was established as a leader in novel neuroprotective agents (Green 2004). The pioneering organisation of ANRU is reflected in that at no time did the number of full-time staff exceed 30, serving as a role model for the contemporary ‘virtual drug discovery’ model (Nwaka 2003, Owens 2015).
Ewan J. Mylecharane, PhD
1944 – 2022
by Daniel Hoyer
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of Ewan James Mylecharane, aged 77. Ewan was a distinguished pharmacologist who made a significant contribution to serotonin receptor pharmacology and to the service of our discipline.
Ewan began his career at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Melbourne, with a Diploma in Pharmacy (1966) followed by a Bachelor of Pharmacy (1969) from the Victoria Institute College, Melbourne. He then gained his Bachelor of Science (1970) and PhD (1975) from The University of Melbourne. Ewan joined the Department of Pharmacology at The University of Sydney in 1978 as a Lecturer, rising to Associate Professor, and retiring after 27 years’ service to pharmacology in 2005 when he became an Honorary Associate Professor. He was Head of the Department of Pharmacology 2002 - 2004. Ewan was a long-standing member of ASCEPT and served as an ASCEPT Council Member 1989 -1991.
Ewan’s first research paper was published in 1970 with Colin Raper, in the British Journal of Pharmacology, on the prejunctional actions of beta-adrenoceptor antagonists in the vas deferens preparation of guinea pigs. He was a classic organ bath pharmacologist using a variety of vascular, cardiac and other smooth muscle tissues. His two most cited publications were major, multi-authored reviews. The first: “Proposals for the classification and nomenclature of functional receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine”, published in Neuropharmacology (1986) 25: 563 - 576 was cited 1281 times; the second: “International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) classification of receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin)”, published in Pharmacological Reviews (1994) 46: 157 – 203 was cited 3898 times (Google Scholar). Alongside these notable outputs, Ewan published numerous research papers in collaboration with many eminent pharmacologists including Danny Hoyer, Jim Angus, Pramod Saxena, Judy Black and others.
Ewan was one of the founding members of the Serotonin Club, now the International Society for Serotonin Research, serving as Secretary-Treasurer and President. He was made an Honorary Member in recognition of both his distinguished contribution to serotonin research and his long and valuable service to the Club. In 1987, he organised the inaugural meeting of the Club on Heron Island, Queensland. In recognition of the silver anniversary of the Serotonin Club and its Australian beginnings, he highlighted some of the contributions made to serotonin research by Australian scientists in an article written for the American Chemical Society journal, Chemical Neuroscience: “Serotonin and the Australian Connection: the Science and the People” (ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2013) 4: 28-32).
For those who were taught or supervised by Ewan, or who worked with him, Ewan was an inspiring lecturer and tutor, a patient research supervisor, an excellent mentor as research supervisor and Head of Discipline. He nurtured the careers of his research students, as well as staff, and was a highly collegial and equitable colleague. He was also a deft player of cricket; you were lucky to be on his team at the annual Department of Pharmacology Christmas party, held on St Paul’s Oval at The University of Sydney!
We say goodbye to our mentor, colleague and friend - a humble, kind and gentle man with a meticulous attention to detail, a jolly disposition and a genuine interest in everyone.
Written by Tina Hinton, Graham Johnston, Ann Cincotta, Hilary Lloyd and Ann McGregor.
On a personal note, I first met Ewan in 1984 at a cardiovascular meeting organised by Paul Vanhoutte in Zurich; Pramod Saxena was also at the meeting and as became increasingly evident, Pramod and Ewan had a shared interest in all aspects of serotonin and perhaps as importantly, in cricket. In 1987, Ewan organised the IUPHAR 5-HT satellite meeting on Heron Island, and as shown below, Ewan was the closest to guess the actual number of 5-HT receptors at a time when this matter was much debated by the 5-HT “experts”. This was the real start of the Serotonin Club.
Ewan was a founding member of the Club, he was our secretary treasurer until 1995, was President from 1998 to 2000, a council member from 1987 to 1993, and again from 1996 to 2000. In 2008, Ewan co-authored a paper on 21 years of the Serotonin Club at the occasion of the Oxford 5-HT meetings and in 2012 gave the Maurice Rapport Lecture in Montpellier, when we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the club; Ewan was also made an honorary member of the Society.
Ewan used to spend some time in Rotterdam in Pramod’s lab and we met at multiple 5-HT club and IUPHAR meeting across the globe. The 1990 5-HT meeting organised by John Fozard in Basel was highly successful both scientifically (this is when/where the IUPHAR 5-HT Receptor Nomenclature Committee took off) and financially: as a result, our finances and membership flourished under the leadership of Ewan as Secretary/Treasurer. Over the years, we had many more successful meetings, either standalone or in combination with the BPS, SFN, EPHAR or IUPHAR. Ewan had this very special ability for “herding the cats” and gently reminding people what they had agreed to do for the next meeting or simply pay their membership dues.
We have very fond memories of our multiple Serotonin Club or private encounters (and teleconferences to prepare the next meeting or review or newsletter), e.g. in Sydney and wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, in Rotterdam at the Pramod Saxena retirement Festschrift, in Auckland when Ewan was my best mate at our antipodean wedding in 2007, in Montpellier when tasting Corbieres wines and food in 2012 for the 25th anniversary of the Club.
Our wishes and thoughts are with Carol, his beloved wife, who took great care of Ewan at their home in Sydney over the last 2 years after some time spent in hospital.
Ewan J. Mylecharane