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Institutional affiliation: 1965 - Present
Sol Snyder came to Hopkins in 1965 with a medical degree and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and was appointed to the pharmacology faculty while he completed his psychiatry residency at Phipps. He was then also appointed to the psychiatry faculty, but his contributions as a neuroscientist have been of greater significance in helping to improve life for millions of patients who rely on medications to soothe pain, quell emotional distress, and make sense of chaotic thoughts.
Through their decades-long search for the receptors that bind drugs, as well as the hormones and neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, which bind to these same receptors, Snyder and his colleagues have made possible a revolution in drug development. We had effective drugs before this revolution, but discovered them all through serendipity. Now, by designing the chemical structure of drugs to fit precisely only to certain configurations of a receptor, later generations of drugs have specific desirable effects in the brain—pain relief, emotional stabilization, thought clarification—with a minimum of undesirable side effects.
Dean MacKinnon, M.D.