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February 2001

Release Date: February 23, 2001

Important Cardiovascular Discovery Topic of 25th Moon Lecture Feb. 27

Dr. Ferid Murad, who made one of the most important discoveries in the history of cardiovascular medicine, will deliver the 25th Annual Roy E. Moon Distinguished Lectureship in Science Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Angelo State University.

Murad received the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for identifying the exact chemical mechanism by which nitroglycerin eases heart pain. His free public lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday will explore how "Cells Use Nitric Oxide to Talk to Each Other." The lecture will be in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center of the Houston Harte University Center.

The 2001 Moon lecturer is professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology, Pharmacology and Physiology, and director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center.

His research found that nitric oxide, among its many functions, signals blood vessels to relax and widen, thus lowering blood pressure. By releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream, nitroglycerin helped ease angina pain in heart patients. Subsequent studies based upon his research showed that nitric oxide helped prevent blood clots and relaxed the smooth muscle cells in the lungs and gastrointestinal systems.

His research has opened the doors for the future formulation of new medications to stimulate or inhibit the production of nitric oxide in the body. Such drugs will be able to treat a variety of conditions, including heart disease, stroke, shock, cancer, retinal diseases, infertility, bacterial infections and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and colitis.

The Moon Lectureship was established by five of Dr. Moon's colleagues in 1976 in memory of the San Angelo physician. The lecture has been funded annually by a grant from the physicians of West Texas Medical Associates. The lectureship brings scientists of national prominence to the ASU campus each year for public lectures, colloquia, classroom visits and informal discussions.

Members of the Moon Lecture selection committee are Chair David H. Loyd Jr., Ph.D., Patrick E. Gibson, M.D., John T. Granaghan, Jr., M.D., Crosby W. Jones, Jr., Ph.D., C. Varren Parker, Jr., Ph.D., Fazlur Rahman, M.D., Jane Rider, M.D., and George E. Shankle, Ph.D.