The United States Neurologist was born in New York City, on December 11, 1925. During World War II, Paul Greengard served in the United States Navy as an electrician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who worked on an early warning system to detect Japanese kamikaze planes .
After the war, Paul Greengard entered Hamilton College, and graduated in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics. He decided to take a degree in physics because most postwar physics research focused on nuclear weapons, and instead of being interested in biophysics, Paul Greengard began his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University at Haldan Keffer Hartline’s Laboratory. Inspired by Alan Hodgkin’s lecture, he began working in the field of molecular and cellular function of neurons.
In 1953, he received his Ph. D. and began postdoctoral work at the University of Cambridge University and Amsterdam University. As a professor, Paul Grenngrad has had various work experiences, such as at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, and Rockefeller University.
Greengard’s research focuses on events inside neurons that are caused by neurotransmitters. Specifically, Greengard and his colleagues examined the behavior of the second ambassador cascade which changed the entry of neurotransmitters in the absorbent into permanent changes in neurons.
In a series of experiments, they showed that when interacting in a cell membrane receptor from a neuron, dopamine causes an increase in cyclic AMP in cells, which in turn activates protein kinase A, which turns on or turns off the function of other proteins through phosphorylation reactions.
Proteins activated by phosphorylation change DNA to make new proteins, move more receptors to synapses (increase the sensitivity of neurons), or move ion channels to the cell surface (increase cell excitability).
In 2000, Greengard with Arvid Carlsson and Eric Kandel were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of signal transduction in the nervous system.