Angus Nairn Is Appointed the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor

Angus C. Nairn, recently named the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry, is noted for his research on the molecular actions of dopamine in the basal ganglia.

Nairn has extensive experience in the study of enzymology, protein chemistry and the molecular biology of signal transduction, particularly with respect to the role of protein phosphorylation in the nervous system. With more than 300 peer-reviewed publications in the area, Nairn has identified, purified and characterized a variety of neuronal phosphoproteins that are important in mediating the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the central nervous system. The disruption of normal dopaminergic neurotransmission, he notes, is known to underlie neurological diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as schizophrenia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Nairn has also carried out detailed studies of the structure and function of many protein kinases and protein phosphatases that play critical roles in neuronal function. Recent studies by Nairn and his colleagues have focused on identifying long-term adaptive changes in signal transduction processes that might be involved in mediating the actions of psychomotor stimulants and other drugs of abuse.

Nairn holds a joint appointment in the Department of Pharmacology and is co-director of the Yale/National Institute of Drug Abuse Neuroproteomics Center at the School of Medicine. He was appointed to the Yale faculty in 2001 after teaching since 1983 at The Rockefeller University in New York. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale from 1979 to 1982 after earning his bachelor’s degree at Edinburgh University in Scotland and his Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham in England.

The Yale scientist was named a NARSAD Independent Investigator in 1999 and a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator in 2006. His other honors include a Short ­Fellowship for Research in Japan from the Japan Society for the Promotion of ­Science and a Muscular Dystrophy Society Fellowship.

Nairn is an associate editor of the Journal of General Physiology. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Biology, the Society for Neuroscience, the Biophysical Society and the New York Academy of Sciences.

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