Tuesday, July 28, 2020

John Vane: British pharmacologist

John Vane's contribution to society was the science underpinning the finding that a daily low dose of aspirin prevents heart attacks and strokes, saving millions of lives each year, and the development of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension.

In 1982 he won a Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for his work on prostaglandins and for the discovery of the mechanism of action of aspirin.

John was born on 29 March 1927 in Tardebigg, Worcestershire, in west central England.

He attended the King Edward VI High School in Edgbaston, Birmingham, where he was greatly influenced by a chemistry teacher, John Lambert, who was co-author of school textbooks. After receiving his secondary education, he enrolled at the University of Birmingham in 1944 and received a BSc degree in 1946. In 1953 he was awarded his DPhil degree from Oxford University.

In 1953, Vane joined the faculty of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, first as an instructor, then as an assistant professor in pharmacology.

In 1955, he returned to England, where he spent the next 6 years (1955-1961) at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. From 1961 to 1965, he was a reader in pharmacology and, from 1966 to 1973, professor of experimental pharmacology. It was while John was at the Royal College of Surgeons that he developed what could be regarded as one of his greatest scientific achievements: the blood-bathed superfusion bioassay technique.

He created his own hub of energy at the Institute of Basic Medical Scientists of the University of London in the Royal College of Surgeons. Vane gathered scientists from around the world to study vasoactive hormones—in particular, prostaglandins and their role in the pulmonary circulation. John Vane passed away on 19 November 2004.
John Vane: British pharmacologist

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