David de Wied, the Netherlands

David de Wied received the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine 1996 for his innovative work in the field of neuropharmacology and behavioural pharmacology of neuropeptides.

David de Wied

Since the sixties, Professor De Wied's research has focused on the so-called neuropeptides. These are small proteins produced in the brain or the hypophysis. As early as 1969, De Wied formulated the hypothesis that these peptides directly influence brain function and consequently human and animal behaviour. The assumption that these neuropeptides play such an important role in the brain has later been confirmed time and again by scientific research with more advanced techniques.

Through his concept of neuropeptides, De Wied originated current research into neuropeptides and neuropeptide receptors. There currently is, in fact, renewed interest in his ideas. The results of the studies in this area are used to develop medicines for behavioural disorders (like stress) and are expected to provide new applications in the near future.

Biography

Born on January 12, 1925 in Deventer, the Netherlands, David de Wied enrolled in the University of Groningen to study medicine. During his study he performed his Ph.D. thesis on the role of absorbic acid in adaptation to cold and in 1955 he obtained his MD. He was appointed professor of experimental endocrinology in Groningen in 1961 and from 1963 he has been director of the Rudolf Magnus Institute for Pharmacology for twenty-five years and Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Utrecht during the same period. David de Wied held many national and international leading posts in science among which chairman of the Dutch Organisation for Medical Research, the International Steering Committee of the European Training Programme in Brain and Behaviour Research, president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

De Wied has made an active contribution to the dissemination of his scientific insights. Under his inspiring directorship, the Rudolf Magnus Institute has become the centre at which scientists from all over the world come to work in this field.