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Release: April 19, 2001

Folk receives award from American Physiological Society

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- G. Edgar Folk, Jr., Ph.D., professor emeritus of physiology and biophysics in the University of Iowa College of Medicine, received the 2001 Ray G. Daggs Award from the American Physiological Society (APS). The award was presented to Folk April 3 at the APS meeting, "Experimental Biology 2001," in Orlando, Fla.

Since 1973, the Ray G. Daggs Award has been presented annually to a physiologist judged to have provided distinguished service to the science of physiology and to the APS.

"I'm so buoyed up by receiving this award," Folk said. "It really makes me think about all the wonderful scientists who have come before me and inspired me to be like them."

In particular, Folk remembers his doctoral degree sponsor at Harvard University, John Welsh, who at age 99 still is active.

"John Welsh discovered the third neurohumor, seratonin," Folk said. "Now we know of 50 to 60 of these neurochemicals. This for me is a clear example of how rapid our rate of progress in science has been in the last 50 years. It is a real condensing of history."

As Folk reminisces on the work of his scientific mentors, today's scientists praise Folk's own significant scientific achievements and contributions.

"As an environmental physiologist, Dr. Folk has received many honors for his research and his extensive contributions to other professional activities," said Robert E. Fellows, M.D., Ph.D.,
UI professor and head of physiology and biophysics. "He has been honored repeatedly by the University of Iowa and national and international organizations."

Folk is internationally known for his studies on biological clocks and their role in the timing of biological activities of animals, particularly with regard to cold adaptation and hibernation in the arctic. For many years he carried out an active research program at the UI and at the Arctic Institute of North America at Point Barrow, Alaska, for which he gained great respect from the environmental biology community worldwide.

In addition to his long and notable research career, Folk's teaching career at the UI has spanned almost 50 years since he first joined the faculty in 1953. Folk's dedication to and obvious enthusiasm for teaching and service in the field of physiology have won him many admirers.

"Dr. Folk remains a very vital presence in physiology in general and environmental physiology in particular," Fellows said. "What is truly inspiring is the strength of the relationships he has maintained with his discipline, his profession and with the new researchers coming into the field. These young scientists continually seek him out for advice and perspective."

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