National Academies Press: OpenBook

Biographical Memoirs: Volume 62 (1993)

Chapter: THE BRAIN

Suggested Citation:"THE BRAIN." National Academy of Sciences. 1993. Biographical Memoirs: Volume 62. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2201.
Page 341

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RICHARD BROOKE ROBERTS 341 Dick's enthusiasm to manually carry out experiments fast enough to catch the process where the turnover time was only a few seconds. The result was the proof that ribosomes rather than some other component of the microsome fraction were responsible for protein synthesis. THE BRAIN Over the years, Dick's interests moved to the intractable subject of the operation of the brain and the mechanisms of memory, and much of the work of this period was in cooperation with Louis Flexner. The rest of the group never became closely involved. The experiment Dick and Louie initiated was an attempt to determine whether protein synthesis was involved in the establishment of long-term memory. Mice were trained, and their brains were injected with puromycin. They obtained positive conclusions but later withdrew this interpretation, since memory was restored by intracerebral injections of saline. This was pioneering work which I am assured by experts is now carried out successfully. Dick states in 1974 (CIW Year Book 75, p. 178): "Puromycin blockage appeared to be caused by the formation of puromycin-peptides, which adsorbed to receptor sites and blocked certain synapses. Presumably these are receptors for catecholamines as the puromycin has a structural resemblance to these compounds. Thus, experiments designed to demonstrate a role for protein synthesis in memory formation ended in implicating the catecholamines. . . . Roughly 20 papers have been published. .." In the same review of the history of the group, Dick stated: "We are pleased to have participated in this exciting period in the development of biology. We believe that we did make significant contributions and that, since some of us will carry on in different places, our history is not

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Biographic Memoirs: Volume 62 contains the biographies of deceased members of the National Academy of Sciences and bibliographies of their published works. Each biographical essay was written by a member of the Academy familiar with the professional career of the deceased. For historical and bibliographical purposes, these volumes are worth returning to time and again.


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