RIP Nelson Mandela

December 5, 2013

If you had any political awareness during the 80s and into the 90s this is your eternal earbug for one of the greatest statesmen and political leaders we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

Another legendary figure of substance abuse research has passed away.

Nancy K. Mello was a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at McLean Hospital. Her work spanned across a broad range of psychoactive and/or addictive substances with a focus on treatment medications in the recent years [PubMed].

According to the Obituary in the Boston Globe:

With her husband, Dr. Jack H. Mendelson, she cofounded the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center at McLean Hospital in 1974, and they became leading researchers in the field of substance abuse.

“Their findings on loss of control and mood dysfunction as a result of drinking by alcoholics not only revolutionized scientific understanding of alcoholic drinking behavior, it also stimulated a new generation of behavioral and psychological researchers to apply experimental models to the study of alcoholism,” Dr. Roger Weiss, chief of McLean’s division of alcohol and drug abuse, said in a prepared statement.

Dr. Mello, who was director of McLean’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center and also taught at Harvard Medical School, died Monday, the hospital said. She was 78; other details, such as the cause of death, were not immediately available.


February 12, 2012

Field says it best

Girlfriend had some serious pipes.

Yes, she certainly did. Thank you for all the music, Whitney. RIP.

RIP Jon Driver (1962-2011)

January 3, 2012

I have just discovered a blog which notes the untimely passing of Professor Jon Driver. Driver was a central figure in cognitive psychology for much of my career and has contributed many papers investigating the way the human brain pays attention to things and fails to pay attention to other things. His work was mostly concerned with the processing of visual information and included work in both neurologically damaged patient groups and normal, healthy control subjects.

The blog indicates that he passed away unexpectedly.

Jon Driver died suddenly on 28th November 2011. Jon was a wonderful individual; a loving son, husband and father; and an irreplaceable friend and colleague.

This is a place for everyone who knew Jon to share our memories of him and through this to help celebrate his life.

If you would like to add a description of your memories of Jon to this blog please contact with the text you would like posted. We welcome any contribution, from short snippets to longer pieces. Please bear in mind this is a place to remember Jon and to help celebrate his life.

He will be missed.

RIP: Joe Brady

August 5, 2011

A towering legendary figure of behavioral pharmacology and the drug abuse sciences has passed on.

Joseph V. Brady, Ph.D. [Department, PubMed, Neurotree] died Friday July 29, 2011 at the age of 89. He earned his doctorate in 1951 from the University of Chicago, worked at Walter Reed Institute from 1951 to 1970 and spent the balance of his career at Johns Hopkins University.
His most recent paper listed in PubMed was on the effects of gamma-radiation,

Hienz RD, Brady JV, Gooden VL, Vazquez ME, Weed MR. Neurobehavioral effects of head-only gamma-radiation exposure in rats.Radiat Res. 2008 Sep;170(3):292-8.

is a continuation of his longstanding association with NASA and spaceflight. Oh yes, Joe Brady trained the first space chimps.

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An towering figure of the substance abuse research fields has passed away. According to a note posted to an ASPET mailing list, Charles Robert Schuster, Ph.D. suffered a fatal stroke on Feb 21 in Houston Texas. NIDA Director Nora Volkow has also posted a notice to the NIDA-grantees mailing list.
The CPDD biography of Dr. Schuster is a brief overview of his career.

After six years in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan, he joined the Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Behavioral Sciences and founded the University of Chicago´s Drug Abuse Research Center. In 1986, Dr. Schuster was appointed the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a position he held until 1992. In January of 1995, Dr. Schuster was appointed as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State School of Medicine and the Director of the Substance Abuse Research Division.

ResearchBlogging.orgOne of the most fundamental and lasting advances of Dr. Schuster was the development of the self-administration model of drug reinforcement. Bob Schuster was one of the first to demonstrate that animals would work to receive intravenous infusions of drug and he was a major player in several of the initial observations on the reinforcing properties of recreational drugs through the 1960s and 1970s.
James R. Weeks published in 1962 that female rats would press a lever to receive intravenous infusions of morphine. Schuster and his colleagues were the first to adapt this method to nonhuman primates, getting started at approximately the same time as Weeks (there are references to Abstract presentations from Weeks as early as 1960 or 1961).

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The man who constituted one of the best explored case studies in cognitive psychology, perhaps the best explored case study ever, has passed away. As reported in the Montreal Gazette:

The 82-year-old man scientists have known only as HM died of heart failure Tuesday after decades in a Connecticut chronic care home, unaware of what he gave to science.

In short, H.M. suffered intractable epilepsy for which he underwent a removal of large portions of his temporal lobes. Although successful in curbing his seizures, the procedure resulted in a anterograde memory loss resulting in an individual stuck in time. The rather selective nature of his impairment led to a huge number of investigations and information on the neuronal basis of various processes that we think of under the general term”memory”.
RIP, H.M., voluntarily or not you are a lion of science.
[additional here; h/t: PP]

RIP: Everette L. May

August 12, 2008

2005 Winter Newsletter
Medicinal chemist Dr. Everette Lee May has passed away at the age of 94. A newsletter dated Winter 2005 from the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Virginia Commonwealth University overviewed Dr. May’s accomplishments and career on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

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George Carlin Has Died

June 23, 2008

It is sad news that George Carlin has died. His mordant wit, disdain for bullshit, and penetrating insight into social and political wackaloonery have been an inspiration to many. Of course, he would have mocked the shit out of anyone who melodramatically mourned his passing.
Some of his best work pierced the conceits and deflated the overweening self-centeredness of those who mourn the deaths of public figures they never even met. He would be disgusted if his own death were subject to the kind of arrogant starfucking me! me! me! fake-ass public self-aggrandizing “mourning” garbaggio that Tim Russert’s death inspired.
Adios motherfucker!!

RIP: Billy Ray Martin

June 9, 2008

An absolute lion, perhaps even the dean, of exogenous cannabinoid pharmacology has passed away.
The obituary from the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch is here.

MARTIN, Dr. Billy Ray, 65, of Richmond, died Sunday, June 8, 2008. He was Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at VCU.

Billy Martin’s scientific output was prodigious, with a majority of it focused on the pharmacological properties of the cannabinoids. His interest dated at least back to 1975 with the publication of this paper:

Martin BR, Dewey WL, Harris LS, Beckner J. Marihuana-like activity of new synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1975 Sep-Oct;3(5):849-53.

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Albert Hofmann, the chemist who synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938 died of a heart attack on April 29, 2008 at the age of 102. Hofmann (Wikipedia entry) also discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD because of an accidental ingestion about five years after he first synthesized the compound. The impact of this train of events on our understanding of the neurochemical function of the brain stretches across many disciplines from basic neuroscience to studies of consciousness and theology.
Obituaries: NYT, LA Times, Reuters.
[and thanks to reader Neuro-conservative who already noted this for the DM readers]

‘course we never called it that. We were just trying to jump our bikes as far as we could. For those of us who’s formative bike riding years were the 70’s, well, Evel Knievel has passed. See Dave Moulton’s post for the reminiscing about the BMX years…

The research fields we follow here at DrugMonkey have lost another tremendous contributor. Dr. Mendelson authored some 339+ articles with a focus on the human and nonhuman primate psychopharmacology of alcohol abuse. The notice from the Research Society on Alcoholism reads:

Jack H. Mendelson, MD (8/30/29 - 8/15/07)

Jack H. Mendelson MD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical
School and Co-Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center  at
the McLean Hospital, died Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, after a  brief
illness. Dr. Mendelson received the Jellinek Memorial Award for  research
on alcoholism in 1978 and the Distinguished Research Award  from the
Research Society on Alcoholism in 1989. He was Editor of the  Journal of
Studies on Alcohol from 1984 to 1991. He leaves his wife  of 33 years,
Nancy K. Mello, Ph.D., two sons, John E. Mendelson, M.D.  and Adam
Mendelson, a daughter, Ellen Mendelson Maher, and four  grandchildren.

Condolences may be sent to his wife:
Dr. Nancy K. Mello
1010 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA   02138

A Memorial Service is being planned for late autumn.  Those wishing  to
contribute to the establishment of an award for innovative  research on
substance abuse in honor of his memory, may send  donations to the Jack
H. Mendelson Memorial Fund, McLean Hospital,  115 Mill Street, Belmont,
MA 02478.

I mark the passing of Lew Seiden, a giant in behavioral pharmacology and related areas of research. He’s revered here at DrugMonkey for his lifetime of work on the toxicity of amphetamine-related drugs, most specifically methamphetamine and MDMA. As with many great scientists, their legacy is not only their body of published work but the host of scientific descendants who continue on with additional excellent work.

Still not done with the issue of nontraditional entries to independent research positions. “Independent” here being somewhat narrowly defined as the ability to submit and hold research grant funding (not just fellowships) as a Principal Investigator. I’ve been advocating postdocs to look beyond the traditional route to independence, i.e., applying for hard money salary, tenure track assistant professorships (with startup funds!) advertised halfway across the country. Physioprof is most familiar with the more traditional route to independence but is, I hope, being won over a bit. S/he asks:

Drugmonkey, if you personally have taken a “non-OldeSkool” route, would you mind summarizing your path?

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