UCL News


Award for Professor Salvador Moncada's nitric oxide discoveries

26 March 2007

Professor Salvador Moncada (UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) today receives a Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award, principally in recognition of his discoveries relating to nitric oxide.

Salvador Moncada

Professor Moncada (FRS and Director of the UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) is the most often cited scientist in the UK, having made major contributions in three areas of cardiovascular pharmacology.

Since his 'Nature' paper of June 1987 - "Nitric oxide release accounts for the biological activity of endothelium-derived relaxing factor" - nitric oxide has become appreciated as a neurotransmitter, a regulator of vessel tone, a modulator of inflammation, and a sensor of cellular distress. Nitric oxide is both the target and effector of a score of compounds now in the clinic for the treatment of cardiovascular and rheumatic diseases.

He has also shown, together with the late Sir John Vane, that low-dose aspirin blocked the synthesis of stable prostaglandins and thromboxanes from arachidonic acid, a finding that has had a major impact on cardiovascular mortality from stroke and myocardial infarction worldwide.

In addition, he has elucidated the structure of prostacyclin, a compound formed by endothelial cells that relaxes blood vessels and prevents platelets from clumping; its derivatives ameliorate vasospasm and pulmonary hypertension.

Professor Moncada will receive the award this evening at the annual awards symposium of The Biotechnology Study Center of the New York University School of Medicine, which honours outstanding pioneers in biomedical research. In particular, the Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards, which are in their seventh year, recognise the role of pure science in the development of pharmaceuticals, and honour scientists whose work has led to major advances at the bedside. Winners receive a traditional Steuben glass sculpture and an honorarium.

Professor Moncada will make a presentation at the symposium, along with fellow 2007 winners Professor Joan V. Ruderman and Professor Charles N. Serhan.

To find out more about Professor Moncada's work, follow the links at the top of this item.

Image: Professor Salvador Moncada, whose contributions to cardiovascular pharmacology are honoured today by New York University School of Medicine