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Ferid Murad

The Role of Nitric Oxide and Cyclic GMP in Drug Discovery and Development

November 15, 2012

Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D., recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology and world renowned pioneer in biochemistry, joined the George Washington University (GWU) faculty in April 2011 as a university professor and director of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Signaling. Dr. Murad teaches an undergraduate course, mentors graduate and medical students and leads a laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at GWU.

After completion of his bachelor’s degree in premedical science and chemistry at DePauw University, Dr. Murad studied in one of the first physician-scientist training programs, earning his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1965. He completed an internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and continued his training in a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Murad’s long career as a physician-scientist has included

  • becoming faculty at the University of Virginia (1970-1981) as the director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology with medicine and pharmacology appointments
  • chief of medicine at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital (1981-1988)
  • chairman of medicine at Stanford University (1986-1988)
  • vice president of research and development at Abbott Laboratories (1988-1993)

Dr. Murad was chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology at the Medical School of the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center (1997-2005), as well as director (1999-2007) and director emeritus (2007-2010) of the Institute of Molecular Medicine, prior to joining GWU in 2011. He has advised approximately 140 trainees in his laboratories, and founded or advised many biotechnology companies over the years.

In 1998, Dr. Murad and two other scientists, Drs. Ignarro and Furchgott, received the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for their discovery of the role of nitric oxide in the body as a key signaling molecule increasing cyclic guanosine monophosphate and dilating blood vessels. This work has immensely impacted medicine, patient care and drug development, drastically improving our understanding of the body and the function of certain drugs such as nitroglycerin.

Dr. Murad has earned innumerable honors and distinctions for his work., and was th recipient of the

  • Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
  • American Heart Association Ciba Award
  • Association of American Medical Colleges Baxter Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences
  • American Society of Clinical Pharmacology Distinguished Research Prize
  • President’s Scholar Award from the UT-Houston Health Science Center

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and many foreign academies as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Murad has received 13 honorary degrees and has more than 400 publications— a number that is still growing.