Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

Catalog Number 05.0009.018
Title David Mahoney Institute Decade of the Brain Award, 1990
Description A large wood plaque. Mounted on it is a bronze plate with black lettering: "The David Mahoney Institute for the Decade of the Brain Award, Julius Axelrod, Ph.D., for outstanding lifetime achievements and contributions in the neurosciences. July 18, 1990, David J. Mahoney."
Object Name Plaque
Date 1990
Collection Julius Axelrod Collection
Accession number 05.0009.018
Caption David Mahoney Institute Decade of the Brain Award, 1990
Catalog date 2005-06-09
Catalog type History
Provenance Dr. Julius Axelrod did his early work at National Institute of Mental Health on the metabolism of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other psychoactive drugs. He proceeded to revolutionize the field of pineal gland research, discovering that melatonin is the gland's key hormone. He also made key discoveries about the regulation and interaction of stress hormones. But he is probably best known for his research in the early 1960's on brain chemistry, which has become fundamental to our understanding of depression and anxiety disorders. His research described the "re-uptake" mechanism in brain cells, which regulates the levels of neurotransmitters available for communication between neurons (in fact, Dr. Axelrod coined the phrase "re-uptake inhibitor"). These findings led to the development of modern antidepressant medications--Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)--and to a 1970 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Dr. Axelrod and two other researchers.

Dr. Axelrod's curiosity and enthusiasm inspired him to investigate many topics in science, in addition to the brain. He studied the tissue distribution and metabolism of caffeine, amphetamines, ephedrine, and narcotic drugs. Prior to his discoveries, little was known about how these drugs worked in the body. Early in his career, prior to receiving his doctorate, Dr. Axelrod discovered the pain-relieving properties of acetaminophen, better known by its brand name, Tylenol.

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of his Nobel Prize in 1970 and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures: "Julius Axelrod was born on May 30th, 1912, in New York City. He obtained his B.Sc. in 1933 at the College of the City of New York, M.A. in 1941 at New York University, and Ph.D. in 1955 from the George Washington University.

"From 1933 to 1935 he was Laboratory Assistant at the Department of Bacteriology of New York University Medical School; from 1935-1946 he was Chemist at the Laboratory of Industrial Hygiene; 1946-1949, Research Associate, Third New York University Research Division, Goldwater Memorial Hospital; 1949-1950, Associate Chemist, Section on Chemical Pharmacology, National Heart Institute, NIH; 1950-1953, Chemist, National Heart Institute, NIH, where he became Senior Chemist in 1953, and was appointed Chief of the Section on Pharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical Science, National Institute of Mental Health, Health Services and Mental Health Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1955."
Number of images 1
Updated 2012-10-22
Condition Very Good
Organizations University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
NIH; NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
NIH Property # none
Old NIH Property # none
Serial # none
People Axelrod, Julius