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Release: Immediate

UI's Gormezano awarded Spence Professorship in Psychology

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Isidore Gormezano, professor of psychology in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and an internationally known expert for his work in learning and memory mechanisms, has been awarded the Kenneth W. Spence Professorship in Psychology.

The professorship is named for one of the university's preeminent researchers and is bestowed upon the most outstanding researchers. Gormezano, who retired from full-time teaching last month, has spent more than 37 years using an animal model he developed to study the basic principles of learning and memory, their basis of change in the nervous system and the effects of drugs, including such abused drugs as cocaine, morphine and LSD. In addition, he conducted his work in the largest laboratory of its kind with equipment he designed and built. Gormezano's methods have been re-created in more than 50 laboratories in the United States, Canada, China, Korea, Australia and England.

Gormezano came to the UI in 1966 after earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1958 and beginning his academic career at Indiana University. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and has received several awards for his research, including the prestigious 1994 Howard Crosby Warren Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Experimental Psychology from the Society of Experimental Psychologists. The only other Warren Medal recipient from the UI was 1953 winner Kenneth Spence.

"Professor Gormezano has made fundamental long-term contributions to experimental methods and our understanding of learning, particularly classical conditioning," says Michael O'Hara, professor and chair of the department of psychology. "Also, throughout his career he has been a dynamic teacher of undergraduate and graduate students, interested as much in the general education of students as their education in psychology. He has been a credit to the department of psychology, the university, and the discipline."

Gormezano, who has published more than 140 journal articles, has also received the Pavlovian Investigator Award from The Pavlovian Society for Distinguished Research Achievements. His research has been funded almost continuously throughout his career by agencies including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as private contributions to the UI Foundation.

Gormezano has supervised 20 postdoctoral appointees and 21 doctoral dissertations, and many of his postdoctoral and doctoral students have gone on to make major contributions to the profession. He has held numerous visiting professorships, including the post of Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia in 1975. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.