Eric Shooter, PhD


A Life in Science: Q& A with Eric Shooter

Eric Shooter is a professor of neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His research has dealt largely with understanding how nerves grow. He is perhaps best known discovering the protein known as nerve growth factor, which plays a key role in regrowing lost or damaged nerve cells. The discovery could someday make it possible to regrow nerves for those who have suffered spinal cord injuries, or to reverse the nerve degeneration that leads to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Additionally, Shooter has researched the structure and mechanisms of neurotrophins, the proteins that keep nerve cells alive. He also discovered the gene in mice underlying a group of diseases called the demyelinating peripheral neuropathies in which the protective covering on nerves breaks down and the nerves are unable to function properly. The diseases are similar to human neurological diseases, and the discovery lays the groundwork for understanding how nerves repair themselves.

Shooter obtained his PhD in chemistry in 1950 from the University of Cambridge and carried out his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin with J.W. Williams. Shooter was appointed as the USHS International Fellow with the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford in 1961. He was appointed associate professor of genetics and later as professor of biochemistry, and chaired the school's neurosciences PhD program. He served as chair of the Department of Neurobiology from 1975-87.

Shooter has received numerous honors, including election to the Royal Society, London; Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, NINDS; election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Ralph W. Garard Prize; Society of Neuroscience (shared with H. Thoenen) and was the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award winner for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research (shared with H. Thoenen).

Shooter has served editorships with several journals including the;
Journal of Neurochemistry, Neurobiology,
Journal of Biological Chemistry,
Journal of Neuroscience
and Neuron.
He has authored numerous journal articles.

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