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The Florey turns 50

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The origins of the Howard Florey Laboratories of Experimental Physiology, Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, are tied to the ground‐breaking clinical work of Derek A Denton in 1947 and to the investigations of the initial scientific team into the control of salt and water balance in health and disease over the period 1947–1963 were Professor RD Wright, Drs JR Goding, IR McDonald, John P Coghlan, E Marelyn Wintour and John R Blair‐West. An Act of Parliament in 1971 by the Victorian State Government formally established the Institute named after Howard Florey, the Australian Nobel Prize winner who isolated penicillin. The Howard Florey Laboratories/Institute quickly became an international leader in the scientific areas of the physiological control of body fluids and electrolyte balance, especially sodium regulation and the regulation of the secretion of aldosterone, the adrenal salt‐retaining hormone; the micro measurement of hormones, in particular steroids and peptides; instinctive ingestive behaviour; fetal fluid regulation; hybridization histochemistry, and the hormone relaxin. Subsequently, the senior staff included, inter alia, Bruce Scoggins, Richard Weisinger, John McDougall, Brian Oldfield, Michael McKinley, Robin McAllen, Hugh Niall, Geoff Tregear and Felix Beck. During the 1990s, an explosion occurred in neuroscience and, in 1997, the Board made the strategic decision to change the focus of the Institute to brain disorders. From 1997 to 2007, Fred Mendelsohn steered the Florey to become one of Australia's premier brain research institutes and, under the current director (the eminent clinician and neuroscientist Geoffrey Donnan), this reputation has been further enhanced.
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Keywords: Howard Florey institute; aldosterone; angiotensin; hybridization histochemistry; hypertension; instinctive behaviour; relaxin; sodium appetite; testosterone

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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