Pfizer Fellowship To Honor Patricia Goldman-Rakic

Yale Provost Susan Hockfield announced Friday, November 7, 2003 that Pfizer Inc. will fund a graduate fellowship in neuroscience in honor of Patricia Goldman-Rakic, who died last July. Goldman-Rakic was Eugene Higgins Professor of Neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine.

Each year, an outstanding graduate student in the University’s Combined Program in Biological & Biomedical Sciences will receive full support for a year’s study.

Pat Goldman-Rakic’s groundbreaking investigations into the neurobiological basis of memory exemplify scientific excellence. Her work provides a brilliant example of the ability of women to conduct science at the highest level,” said Hockfield. “It is most fitting that her dedication to the education of the next generation of young scientists will be remembered through the generous gift from Pfizer of the Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic Fellowship in Neuroscience.”

The announcement was made at the Marie Curie Nobel Centennial: Celebrating Women in Science, a symposium held at Yale November 6-8. Pfizer was represented at the event by Dr. Peter Corr, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, and by Dr. Diane Jorkasky, Vice President, Global Clinical Sciences.

Goldman-Rakic is regarded as a pioneer in research on the structure and function of the brain’s frontal lobe-specifically, on working memory. She brought a broad multidisciplinary approach to this inquiry, which allowed her to develop a model that describes working memory at the levels from brain anatomy to molecular biochemistry, both under normal conditions and as altered by illnesses such as schizophrenia. Her work also paved the way for scientists to understand other conditions that involve malfunctioning of the frontal lobe, including deficit-hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Goldman-Rakic authored hundreds of scientific papers, received numerous awards and honors, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1990. She was President of the Society for Neuroscience from 1989-90 and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

“We have great respect for a lifetime of very significant scientific achievements by Patricia Goldman-Rakic and for the work that continues at Yale,” said. Corr. “This donation honors her and, we believe, will help nurture the next generation of excellent scientists. We also hope that this will further strengthen the collaboration between industry and academia. This is a partnership that can deliver great science and important medical benefits to mankind.”

Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals as well as many of the world’s best-known consumer products.

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Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157