ASBMB Nobel Prize Winners

1998 – Robert F. Furchgott



Robert Francis Furchgott (1916- 2009) was awarded one-third of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system. He demonstrated that cells in the endothelium of blood vessels produce an unknown signaling molecule which he named endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). EDRF signals smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls to relax, dilating the vessels. Eventually, he worked out EDRF's nature and mechanism of action and determined that EDRF was in fact nitric oxide.