Samuel Barondes is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) who helped bring these fields together as a researcher, author, and builder of interdisciplinary programs. Barondes was born to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, on December 21, 1933, and attended Jewish elementary and high schools that combined religious studies with the standard secular curriculum. He earned a BA from Columbia College summa cum laude in 1954, an MD from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1958, and trained in clinical medicine and psychiatry at several Harvard teaching hospitals. In the early 1960s, as a postdoctoral trainee at the National Institutes of Health, Barondes was introduced to the new science of molecular biology by Gordon Tomkins and participated in Marshall Nirenberg's Nobel Prize-winning studies that deciphered the genetic code. In his subsequent career he used this molecular perspective to study mechanisms that control brain functions and behavior. His discoveries ranged from demonstrating the critical role of brain protein synthesis in memory storage to identifying a class of galactoside-binding proteins, named galectins, that modulate interactions between many types of cells, including neurons. Barondes spent most of his career at the University of California, first at its San Diego campus (UCSD 1970-86) as a founding Professor of Psychiatry and in the interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. He then moved to its San Francisco campus (UCSF 1986-) where he was Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute before founding the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry as the Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Endowed Chair. He also held many editorial and advisory positions including co-founding and serving for ten years as President of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. His honors include election to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In this oral history Barondes discusses his personal life and rich friendships, while presenting a view of the evolution of biological approaches to psychiatry over more than half a century, and of the daunting challenges that remain.




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