9/29/2011 -The achievements of distinguished Vanderbilt University researchers Jackie Corbin, Ph.D., and Sharron Francis, Ph.D., were celebrated last week with a scientific symposium and dinner at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center.
Corbin and Francis, who with former postdoctoral fellow Thomas Lincoln, Ph.D., contributed to the discovery of the blood pressure drug that became Viagra, are retiring in November after research careers spanning five decades at Vanderbilt.
The symposium featured presentations by Lincoln, now at the University of South Alabama, Joseph Beavo, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, and Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., of Duke University.
“Together Jackie and Sharron have hundreds of publications, have been world leaders in cyclic nucleotide research and have received many, many honors,” Roger Cone, Ph.D., chair of their department, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, said in his introductory remarks.
Their discovery and characterization of PDE-5, a phosphodiesterase that modulates blood pressure by degrading cyclic GMP, “not only led to a treatment for erectile dysfunction but also other diseases including forms of pulmonary hypertension,” Cone said.
“While accomplishing all this, both Jackie and Sharron have been exemplary mentors, exemplary scientific colleagues, and two lovely human beings as well,” he added.
They also founded and have been strong supporters of the Charles Park Educational Fund, and the department’s annual Earl W. Sutherland Lecture series.
Recently, former graduate student James L. Weeks and his family established the Jackie D. Corbin and Sharron Francis Student Travel Fund in their honor. Senior faculty in the department along with former students and others have committed to converting this into a permanently endowed fund.
“Their careers have truly exemplified the best in science and academia – honesty and integrity, innovation, intense curiosity, enthusiasm, encouragement, hard work, cooperation (and) camaraderie,” said Corbin’s first graduate student, Chuck Cobb, Ph.D., now research professor of Molecular Pharmacology & Biophysics.©2013 Vanderbilt University Medical Center