Five years ago, on 6th of April 2017, prof. Jerzy Vetulani died as a results of fatal car accident. He published more than 240 original research papers and was one of the most cited Polish neuroscientists. His research, conducted together with Fridolin Sulser led to an interesting discovery that repeatedly administered antidepressants induce adaptive changes in the noradrenergic system and to formulate a hypothesis on the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs suggesting “downregulation” of β-adrenergic receptors. His research interests included neuropharmacology of addiction, neurodegeneration and mechanisms of memory.
Prof. Vetulani was closely associated with our Institute. He graduated in 1957 at the Department of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, which was later transformed into the Maj Institute of Pharmacology. He got a PhD in 1966. After 18 years since his graduation, Prof. Vetulani returned to our institute and became head of the Department of Biochemistry (1976–2006), deputy director for Science Affairs (1994–2002) and vice chairman of the Scientific Council (2003–2017).
He was widely known for science popularization and publicly argued for the legalization of marijuana. His books become bestsellers and his lectures were always filled with crowd. We can only assume, how much impact his work had on others, by inspiring them to pursue academic career and brain studies and reducing the social stigma upon marijuana.
Today, we can finally hold in hands first-ever published biography of Professor – “Vetulani. A beautiful mind, wild at heart”. A strongly recommended read for anyone interested in the colourful life history of Professor Vetulani (available only in Polish language).
Photo by Franciszek Vetulani (CC BY-SA 3.0)