Conversations With Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz, Founding Father of the Dopamine Era in Parkinson's: How Do You Wish to Be Remembered?
Author(s)Schlossmacher, Michael G.; Graybiel, Ann M
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On May 26, 2020, Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz died at the age of 93 years. His twin discoveries in the early 1960s of dopamine deficiency in the brains of subjects with Parkinson's disease and the amelioration of patients' symptoms by levodopa therapy represent milestone events in the history of medicine. These breakthroughs enabled much-needed relief for millions of patients suffering from neurological disorders every year and have given rise to the field of dopamine signaling in the regulation of complex behaviors in primates. What did Dr. Hornykiewicz, who was actively engaged in research until shortly before his 91st birthday, wish to pass on to younger scientists? What were his thoughts regarding the elusive cause of Parkinson's disease? How did he wish to be remembered? Here, the authors, one a former student and the other an admired colleague, recall messages conveyed by Dr. Hornykiewicz in public lectures; they also share the content of conversations and letters exchanged with him since 2004, as he began to reflect on his legacy. Through Dr. Hornykiewicz's own words and writings, the picture emerges of an extraordinarily committed scientist, who was exemplary in his professional integrity, who knew how to deploy a gallous sense of humor, who displayed little patience for physicians offering advice, and who kept any sense of pride over his monumental contributions private. When asked at the age of 91 years about the secrets of his long and fulfilled career in neuroscience, he identified himself as “a mad scientist.…I am someone who continuously fantasizes. I am someone who chases fantastical ideas and who keeps on dreaming…”, and as a man who was supported by the loving companionship of his wife, Christine. © 2020 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
DepartmentMcGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Schlossmacher, Michael G. and Ann M. Graybiel. "Conversations With Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz, Founding Father of the Dopamine Era in Parkinson's: How Do You Wish to Be Remembered?" Movement Disorders 35, 11 (October 2020): 1922-1932. © 2020 The Authors
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