Candace Pert

Candace B. Pert is a leading researcher in the field of chemical receptors. Chemical receptors are places in the body where molecules of a drug or natural chemical, fit together and stimulate different physiological or emotional effects. As a graduate student, Candace Pert co-discovered the brain's opiate receptors, areas that link painkilling substances. She later discovered endorphins which are the naturally occurring substances produced in the brain that relieve pain and produce sensations of pleasure.
Candace Pert was born in New York City on June 26, 1946. She went to General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, New York. Later, she attended Hofstra University but dropped out in 1966. She married Agu Pert in 1966 and the couple moved to Philadelphia. In 1966, Candace Pert gave birth to thefirst of the couple's three children.
In 1970, She earned her BA in biology and entered the doctoral pharmacology program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Herfirst research assignment, working with Dr. Solomon Snyder, was to explore the mechanisms that regulate the body's most important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that react with other neurons in the body, which regulate the heart and other organs. In the summer of 1972, she found her next project, the search for opiate receptors. Opiate receptors were believed to exist, but trying to find them was another task.
Using technology borrowed from identifying insulin receptors, Pert used radioactive drugs to identify receptor molecules that bonded with morphine and other opiate drugs in animal brain cells. She went on to investigate whether opiate receptors developed before birth. She used pregnant rats to evaluate the brains of the fetuses and found out that the opiate receptors were present during the fetal development.
Pert and her coworkers wondered why opiate receptors existed. The scientist thought that there might be…

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