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Robert Francis Furchgott (June 4, 1916May 19, 2009) was a Nobel Prize-winning Americanmarker biochemist.

Furchgott was born in Charleston, SC, to Arthur Furchgott (December 1884 - January 1971) and Pena Sorentrue Furchgott. He graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1937 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillmarker, received his Ph.D in biochemistry at Northwestern Universitymarker in 1940. He was faculty member of Washington University School of Medicinemarker from 1949 to 1956. From 1956 to 1988, he was professor of pharmacology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

In 1978, Furchgott discovered a substance in endothelial cells that relaxes blood vessels, calling it endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). By 1986, he had worked out EDRF's nature and mechanism of action, and determined that EDRF was in fact nitric oxide (NO), an important compound in many aspects of cardiovascular physiology. This research was important in the creation of Viagra.

From 1989 to 2004, Furchgott was a professor of pharmacology at the University of Miamimarker School of Medicine.

Aside from the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine he received in 1998, Furchgott has also received a Gairdner Foundation International Award for his groundbreaking discoveries (1991) and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1996), the latter with Ferid Murad.

Furchgott, who was Jewish, lived in Brooklynmarker. He was married to Lenore Mandelbaum (February 1915 - April 1983) from 1941 until she died aged 68. They had three daughters: Jane, Susan and Terry. He later married Margaret Gallagher Roth, who predeceased him. He served as a professor emeritus at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. In 2008 he moved to Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood. Furchgott died on May 19, 2009 in Seattle. He is survived by his three daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


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