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Philip Needleman spent 25 years at Washington University School of Medicine, where he was professor and chairman of the department of pharmacology. In 1989 he moved to industry, becoming senior vice president of Monsanto. In 1993 he became president of Searle Research and Development. He was also senior executive vice president and chief scientist of Pharmacia from 2000 to 2003.
Dr. Needleman’s research focuses on two main areas. His studies of the regulation of vascular, cardiac, and renal function led to the discovery of the mechanism of organic nitrate tolerance, the first peptide angiotensin antagonists, and the atrial natriuretic factor (the hormone by which the heart communicates with the kidney). His second area of research was on the role of prostaglandins in arthritis, an area in which he made multiple contributions culminating in the discovery of Cox-2, the isoform of cyclooxygenase responsible for the inflammation and pain suffered by arthritis patients. His work at Monsanto/Searle resulted in the 1998 FDA approval of Celebrex.
He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the John Jacob Abel Award of the American Pharmacology Society and the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association.
Listen to or download the Interview (mp3, 58 minutes, 55MB)
Last Updated: 6-15-2015
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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.