Dean of Natural Sciences and Business, Dr. Lee E. Limbird, Recipient of Prestigious 2013 ASPE-Julius Axelrod Award

Dr. Lee E. Limbird, Professor of Biochemistry and Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Business has been named recipient of the 2013 Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).  Dr. Limbird is recognized for her major contributions to research and her outstanding leadership and mentorship to several generations of graduate students. The Julius Axelrod Award, named after the 1970 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, is given to recognize outstanding scientific contributions in research and mentoring in pharmacology. The Award was established to honor the memory of the eminent American pharmacologist who shaped the fields of neuroscience, drug metabolism and biochemistry.

Dr. Limbird obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster in Ohio and earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. After post-doctoral research at Duke University, she joined the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University where she chaired  the department and later served as Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s first Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. In 2005, she joined Meharry Medical College as Vice President for Research and Chair of the multidisciplinary Department of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Limbird joined Fisk University in 2008.

Since her post-doctoral fellowship at Duke under Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz, Dr.Limbird’s research career has focused on G-protein coupled receptors. Her research on alpha-2 adrenergic receptors is considered pioneering and showed how those specific receptors relate to regulation of blood pressure, sedation, pain suppression and opioid drug action. She has also devised strategies for selective manipulation of these receptors, opening up opportunities for therapeutic development.  In addition to her many significant research discoveries, Dr. Limbird is credited with bringing Vanderbilt’s Department of Pharmacology to its leading position. While at Vanderbilt she developed a partnership with Meharry’s Department of Pharmacology to catalyze interactions between the two departments.

Dr. Limbird has been recipient of many awards including ASPET’s John Jacob Abel Award for young investigators and the Goodman and Gilman Award for Receptor Pharmacology. She has served on numerous NIH review committees and has been active in ASPET serving as Councilor, Secretary/Treasurer and in other leadership capacities. She has received many teaching awards given by the graduate students themselves and many of her own doctoral and post-doctoral students are among the most successful in the academy and industry.

Dr. Limbird will be presented the ASPET-Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology on Saturday, April 20 at the ASPET Business Meeting/Awards Ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics/Experimental Biology (EB) 2013 Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The ASPET Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony will take place at the Boston Convention Center, Room 107AB from 6:00-7:30 pm immediately followed by the Opening Reception. Dr. Limbird will give the 2014 Julius Axelrod Lecture.


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