Toshio Narahashi

Northwestern University, USA

Toshio Narahashi, John Evans Professor of Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, was born in Fukuoka, Japan, and received his DVM in 1948 and PhD (ScD) in 1960 from the University of Tokyo. After spending about 10 years as a faculty member, he came to the United States first to the University of Chicago in 1961, and then to Duke University Medical Center (1965) where he rose from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in 1967, and then to Professor in 1969. After spending 12 years at Duke, he was recruited to Northwestern University as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology in 1977. He stepped down from the Chairmanship in 1994 after serving for 17 years, and has since continued his research and teaching activities as Professor. His research involves pharmacology and toxicology of receptors and ion channels of excitable cells using voltage clamp and patch clamp techniques. During his tenure at the University of Tokyo, he devoted himself to the study of physiological mechanism of action of insecticides, and is credited in discovering the sodium channel modulation caused by DDT and pyrethroids as the major mechanism of toxicity. He also undertook a study that suggested the selective tetrodotoxin (TTX) inhibition of sodium channels (1960). This hypothesis was clearly demonstrated in his voltage clamp experiments conducted at Duke University (1964). TTX has since become an extremely important chemical tool in the laboratory. Equally important is the fact that his TTX study has opened the door leading to cellular and molecular pharmacology which now flourishes as one of the most crucial biomedical science fields. More recently, he has been working on the mechanism of action of alcohol, anesthetics, and Alzheimer’s drugs on neuroreceptors and ion channels.

Biography Updated on 2 January 2011

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