Solomon H. Snyder

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Solomon H. Snyder
Solomon H. Snyder.jpg
Born December 26, 1938
Washington D.C
Education Georgetown University
Occupation Neuroscientist Psychiatrist
Awards Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research National Medal of Science

Solomon Halbert Snyder (born December 26, 1938) is an American neuroscientist from Washington D.C., who is well known for researching addiction and its effects on the brain. He studied at Georgetown University, and conducted the majority of his research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Many advances in molecular neuroscience have stemmed from Dr. Snyder's identification of receptors for neurotransmitters and drugs and elucidation of the actions of psychotropic agents.[1] He is most famously known for his research on the opioid receptor, for which he received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.


Personal life

Solomon Snyder was born on December 26, 1938 in Washington D.C. He was one of five children.

Today, Snyder and his wife Elaine, who have two grown daughters and three grandchildren, live in Baltimore, Maryland.

Education and Early Career

Snyder attended Georgetown University from 1955 to 1958 and received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1962. After a medical residency at the Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco, he served as a research associate from 1963 to 1965 at the NIH, where he studied under Julius Axelrod. Snyder moved to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to complete his residency in psychiatry from 1965 to 1968. He was appointed to the faculty there in 1966 as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. In 1968 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and in 1970 to Full Professor in both departments.

His laboratory is noted for the use of receptor binding studies to characterize the actions of neurotransmitters and psychoactive drugs.

He is also known for his work identifying receptors for the major neurotransmitters in the brain, in the process explaining the actions of psychoactive drugs, such as the blockade of dopamine receptors by antipsychotic medications. He has described novel neurotransmitters such as the gases nitric oxide and carbon monoxide and the D-isomers of amino acids, notably D-serine.

Life as a Mentor and Teacher

Solomon H. Snyder is highly respected as a teacher and mentor in his medical field. He is noted for taking genuine interest in his students and their opinions. He is very generous and genuine to his students. Not only is he a quality teacher, he makes learning interesting. Snyder does not always go about research in the most conventional ways, but instead focuses on thinking creatively, clearly and simply when conducting experiments. He is very much an "idea man".

Working with Candace Pert

Candace Pert was one of Snyder's most promising students, working together for a productive five years. Their most notable collaboration was their research on the opioid receptor. In 1978 Snyder shared the Lasker Award in Basic Biomedical Research for research on opioid receptors..


Pert felt that she had been denied credit for her own work when she was not included as a Lasker Award recipient alongside Snyder. In response, she did something out of the ordinary, writing a letter to the head of the Lasker Foundation. Her letter caused a sensation in the field. Some saw her exclusion as an example of the burdens and barriers women face in science careers.

Later career

Presently he is University Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1980, he founded the Department of Neuroscience, and served as its first director from 1980 to 2006. In 2006, the department was renamed as The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience in his honor.

In 1980, he served as the President of the Society for Neuroscience. He is also Associate Editor, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). He helped start the companies Nova Pharmaceuticals and Guilford Pharmaceuticals and has been an active philanthropist.

He is listed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) as one of the 10 most-often cited biologists and he also has the highest h-index of any living biologist.

Dr. Snyder is also the of Director of Drug Discovery at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development [2] in Baltimore, MD.


Further reading


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