Dr Harry L June, a Member of the College since 2004, succumbed to cancer on 7 June 2014. A native of South Carolina, Dr June received his PhD from Howard University in 1990 under Dr Michael Lewis. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in human psychopharmacology at Johns Hopkins University, Dr June held a dual appointment as assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Indiana University–Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Medical Neurobiology Program at Indiana University School of Medicine. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1998 and full professor in 2003. Dr June left Indiana in 2005 to join the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he held the rank of professor in both the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. In 2011, he was appointed Director of Substance Abuse Research and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Howard University College of Medicine. First, as a student with Michael Lewis, and later with colleagues at IUPUI, the University of Maryland, and finally at Howard University, Harry addressed fundamental questions about how GABAA receptor form and function relate to alcohol-driven behaviors. Harry employed a multidisciplinary approach to address these questions. Both Harry’s enthusiasm and outgoing personality enabled him to enlist collaborators in disciplines ranging from organic chemistry (James Cook) in order to synthesize GABAA receptor subtype-selective agents to molecular biology (Laura Aurelian) in order to construct amplicons containing siRNAs that could be delivered to specific brain regions. Throughout his career, Harry always had an eye toward translational research, and one of his last studies demonstrated that amitifadine, a triple reuptake inhibitor, reduced binge drinking as well as some of the negative behaviors associated with withdrawal in rats. NIAAA subsequently replicated these data, and amitifadine, currently in development for depression, is slated for an NIAAA-sponsored clinical study in alcoholism. This study would never have gotten off the ground without Harry’s vision of finding better agents to treat alcohol use disorders. Given his enthusiasm for science, it is no surprise that Harry was a gifted teacher and a dedicated, patient mentor. Harry was always grateful to NIAAA for supporting his work, and served on multiple NIH study sections during his distinguished career. Harry is survived by his wife, Terri White, and two sons, Leon and James. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and an extended scientific family of former students and collaborators.
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Skolnick, P. Harry L June. Neuropsychopharmacol 39, 3135 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.254