Gentle Giant Award
Professor Roger Guillemin, M.D., Ph.D.
Immediate past President of the
Salk Institute of La Jolla, CA.
2010 Gentle Giant Award Recipient
Roger Guillemin, immediate past president of the Salk Institute and distinguished professor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1977 for discoveries that laid the foundation for brain hormone research. His work brought to light an entire new class of substances shown to be important for the regulation of growth, development, reproduction and responses to stress. The impact of his studies has been profound for a variety of diseases and disorders, including thyroid diseases, problems of infertility, diabetes, and several types of tumors.
One of these hormones, called growth-hormone releasing factor, is used to treat growth deficiencies in children; another, called somatostatin, is used to control tumors of the pituitary gland. Dr. Guillemin was also among the first to isolate endorphins, brain molecules known to act as natural opiates. Following the isolation of endorphins, his work with cellular growth factors (CGFs), in addition to inhibins and activins, led to the recognition of multiple physiological functions and developmental mechanisms.
Since his retirement from the active pursuit of science in 1989, Dr. Guillemin has shifted his long-standing expertise with computers from science to art.