"The Hank Yamamura Endowed Fellowship in Pharmacology," was established as a tribute to Dr. Yamamura from friends, colleagues and family in honor of his contributions to pharmacology and to the lives of his students and colleagues. The endowment is designed to attract and retain promising graduate students in the UA's pharmacology department.
Hank was born in Seattle, WA in 1940. He obtained a B.S. in Pharmacy at the University of Washington, continuing on for a Ph.D. in Pharmacology with Aki Horita in 1969. He was a Captain in the Army Medical Service Corps (1970-1973) after which he did a post-doctoral fellowship with Sol Snyder at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Yamamura joined the pharmacology department at The University of Arizona's College of Medicine in 1975. He was internationally renowned and credited with more than 500 scholarly publications and 11 books. He also held joint appointments in Psychiatry and Biochemistry. In 1997 he was named Regents Professor in the College of Medicine.
Hank pioneered radioligand binding assays, contributing valuable knowledge about neurotransmitter transporters and muscarinic, opioid and other G-protein-coupled receptors, publishing more than 600 articles and editing 10 books over 40 years. His work is cited more than 14,000 times in the scientific literature. He trained and mentored more than 100 students, fellows, and visiting faculty, including 57 post-docs and 18 Ph.D. students. He taught Medical Pharmacology and Neuroscience. He served many committees of professional societies and was President of the Western Pharmacology Society, 1987-1988. He was Associate Editor of Life Sciences (1975-1989), Editor (1990-1992) and Executive Editor-in-Chief (2002-2005).
Hank received numerous awards including the prestigious American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Award for Experimental Therapeutics in 1995. Despite his fame, Hank was a humble person who fondly quoted Walt Disney: "If you can dream it you can do it, it all started with a mouse." Above all Hank was a great humanitarian who was loved by his students, fellows and colleagues, who were his highest priority. "He was always there for you." said long-time collaborator Victor Hruby. "He was fun to work with because things got done. He had a habit of always doing the right thing." "Hank was a great mentor and friend." said Lin Mei, Ph.D. 1989, Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. "I was in a complete cultural shock when I arrived from China. He was very patient with me and always positive."
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