|Birth Day:||May 31, 1941|
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He earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in pharmacology from, respectively, Columbia University and the University of Minnesota.
Louis J. Ignarro was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Italian immigrants and his father was a carpenter in Torre del Greco, near Naples. Ignarro grew up in Long Beach, NY, which is a suburb of New York City, NY on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Ignarro received his first chemistry set as a gift at the age of 8.
Ignarro attended Central Grade School and Long Beach High School. A strong interest in science led Ignarro to Columbia University where he studied chemistry and pharmacology and in 1962 received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. Ignarro then attended the University of Minnesota where he received a Ph.D. in pharmacology. His university studies also concentrated in chemistry, enzymology and cardiovascular physiology, which resulted in several published papers. While at the University of Minnesota, Ignarro studied under eventual Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Boyer.
Ignarro's work continued at the NIH in the fields he'd studied, collaborating with many other scientists to discover regulatory mechanisms of the cardiovascular system that would lead to his most famous work. This was his first time to apply his education outside of an academic setting. In 1968, Ignarro left the NIH to work for Geigy Pharmaceuticals. With this company, Ignarro helped develop new drugs and was able to continue research into new areas of pharmacology including cyclic GMP. After Geigy merged with Ciba Pharmaceuticals, Ignarro decided to move back to the world of academia, this time as a professor.
In 1973, Ignarro accepted the position of Assistant Professor of pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. Tulane was chosen partially because it would provide a good environment for continued research into cyclic GMP. While studying cyclic GMP, Ignarro read a paper by Ferid Murad, who demonstrated that nitric oxide elevates cyclic GMP levels. Ignarro then speculated that nitric oxide could be the key to relaxing vascular smooth muscles. In turn, this led to his extensive research on the subject. Ignarro's research demonstrated that nitric oxide serves the functions of vasorelaxant and inhibitor of platelet aggregation, with both effects mediated by cyclic GMP.
Ignarro continued his research at Tulane. In 1984 he realized that the properties of nitric oxide were the same as those seen in the endothelium derived relaxing factor (EDRF) previously identified by Robert Furchgott 3 years earlier. The exact nature of the EDRF was up to this point unknown. Furchgott and Ignarro came to similar conclusions about nitric oxide as the EDRF around the same time, and both presented evidence at conferences during 1986 demonstrating nitric oxide's role as EDRF.
In 1985, Ignarro moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles where he accepted a position at the UCLA School of Medicine and continues to research and teach.
While testifying before Congress in 2000, Ignarro remarked: "Only in America could the son of an uneducated carpenter receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine".
Louis was raised in New York City by Italian immigrant parents. Louis and his wife later settled in Southern California.
Currently, Louis Ignarro is 81 years, 2 months and 8 days old. Louis Ignarro will celebrate 82nd birthday on a Wednesday 31st of May 2023. Below we countdown to Louis Ignarro upcoming birthday.