Roger C.L. Guillemin

National Medal of Science

Biological Sciences

For demonstrating the presence of a new class of hormones, made in the brain, that regulate the function of the pituitary gland, thereby making possible improved diagnosis and treatment of numerous endocrine disorders.

For demonstrating the presence of a new class of hormones, made in the brain, that regulate the function of the pituitary gland, thereby making possible improved diagnosis and treatment of numerous endocrine disorders.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
January 11, 1924
Age Awarded
52
Country of Birth
France
Key Contributions
Discovered New Class Of Hormones Produced In Brain
Awarded by
Gerald R. Ford
Education
Universite de Montreal
University of Burgundy
University of Lyon
Areas of Impact
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
Salk Institute of Biological Studies
Other Prizes
Nobel Prize
T

The hypothalamus, a cone-shaped brain structure, secretes tiny amounts of hormones. This chemical process signals other glands within the body to release additional hormones, regulating anything from hair growth to metabolism.

By the 1960s, researchers had long suspected – but been unable to prove – the hypothalamus’ role as a trigger in the hormonal process. It took 1.5 million sheep brains to find evidence.

From this cache of craniums, Roger Guillemin, the founder of neuroendocrinology, extracted a thyroid-regulating molecule called “thyrotropin-releasing hormone.”

A few years later, Guillemin’s team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies isolated other substances from brain tissue, including hormones that control reproductive functions of the pituitary. This discovery contributed to breakthroughs in the treatment of fertility and prostate cancer.

Synthetic versions of other compounds isolated by Guillemin’s laboratory – including gonadotropin-releasing hormone, somatostatin and somatocrinin – have been integrated into treatments for tumors and endocrine disorders.

...