Gian Carlo Salmoiraghi, 1924–2020
Gian Carlo “Nino” Salmoiraghi, D.Sc., MD, Ph.D., a Fellow Emeritus in the ACNP, had a long and distinguished career in medicine and science. He earned his medical degree from the University of Rome in 1948 and a Doctorate of Philosophy from McGill University in Physiology in 1959. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Hahnemann University (now the Drexel University College of Medicine) in 1995. Following medical school, Dr. Salmoiraghi worked for the International Refugee Organization, as a Medical Emigration Officer in the aftermath of World War II. He then moved to the United States of America and served as a Fellow and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic and as a lecturer at McGill. In the early 1960’s he joined the National Institutes of Mental Health and established the Division of Special Mental Health Research at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. His division not only developed innovative mental health clinical and basic research information but his own research on how the brain functions established a new understanding of these processes. Dr. Salmoiraghi was appointed as an Associate Commissioner of research for the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene from 1973 to 1977. He then worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1984, where he received the Superior Service Award. Among other leadership positions, Dr. Salmoiraghi was an Associate Director for Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. After a very successful career in government, Dr. Salmoiraghi served as chairman of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and the Assistant Vice President of Science Affairs at Hahnemann University until his retirement in 1994. Nino was an accomplished scientist but his even larger legacy was as a deft administrator, one with a keen insight into human nature and an uncanny talent for managing bureaucracies. The research teams that he assembled at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Hahnemann University included many prominent neurobiologists who made, and continue to make, lasting contributions to neuroscience. At St. Elizabeth’s he marshaled the laboratories of Floyd Bloom, Erminio Costa, and Richard Wyatt to work synergistically on a spectrum of mental health issues ranging from molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission to the in-depth biological characterization of schizophrenia. His was a cutting-edge vision of bringing together a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines to focus on mental disorders at a time when the idea of a biological basis for a range of abnormal human behaviors was gaining traction and even the discipline of “neuroscience” was in its infancy. He was an outstanding mentor and role model. Many who served under him absorbed his talent for administration and became successful program leaders, institute directors, and department chairs in their own right. He will always be remembered for helping to pioneer the fields of neuroscience and neuropsychopharmacology and for his warmth, wit, and wise counsel.
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Hoffer, B., Foote, S., Waterhouse, B. et al. In Memoriam: Gian Carlo Salmoiraghi, D.Sc., MD, Ph.D.. Neuropsychopharmacol. 46, 1547 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-01008-3