John M. Sarvey
Members of the Society for Neuroscience will be deeply saddened to learn of the death, on August 20, 2003, of Professor John Michael Sarvey, at the age of 56. He was Professor of Pharmacology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.
Born in North Tonawanda, New York, in 1946, Professor Sarvey received his B.A. in Chemistry from Williams College in 1969, and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Manfred Klee at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt (1976-79), Professor Sarvey took up his appointment as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he advanced from Assistant (1979-85), to Associate (1985-91) and then Full Professor, where he remained until his passing.
Professor Sarvey’s graduate work, performed in the laboratory of Professor Edson Albuquerque, examined the mechanisms of action of a number of natural toxins on cholinergic receptor function at the neuromuscular junction of both invertebrates and mammals.
Through his postdoctoral studies in collaboration with Professor Manfred Klee at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Professor Sarvey was part of the revolution in neurophysiology that demonstrated the remarkable viability and utility of the in vitro brain slice preparation for the electrophysiological study of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity, research he continued to pursue vigorously and productively upon his arrival at Uniformed Services University.
His laboratory was one of the first to demonstrate essential roles for postsynaptic excitation, the nucleotide second messenger cyclic AMP and protein synthesis in the induction of long-term potentiation of synaptic strength in the mammalian hippocampus. Over the next twenty years, Professor Sarvey made many significant contributions to our understanding of the importance of NMDA and metabotropic glutamate receptors, inhibitory GABAergic transmission, neuromodulators such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine and neurotrophins, and timing of ERK/MAPKinase-stimulated CREB phosphorylation, in regulating the biochemical events that link ephemeral synaptic activity with persistent changes in synaptic strength believed to underlie memories. Most recently, Professor Sarvey, in collaboration with fellow neuroscientists at Uniformed Services University and elsewhere, uncovered evidence for an exciting and important new role for the transynaptic movement of Zn2+ in long-term activity-dependent plasticity.
The high reputation of Professor Sarvey's work is reflected in numerous publications in leading international journals, and in his frequent invitations to give seminars and chair symposia throughout the world. At Uniformed Services, Professor Sarvey directed both Introductory and Advanced Topics Neuroscience courses for over a decade and, in 2003, he received the Uniformed Services University Medal, one of 16 awarded in the University’s history, in recognition of his extensive and outstanding contributions to graduate and medical education.
Throughout his career, Professor Sarvey contributed to the mentoring, training and growth of many dedicated and grateful junior colleagues, and maintained a host of strong scientific relationships with researchers around the globe. All these scientists, in particular his dearest friends and collaborators, will remember John’s many gifts to us: his boundless enthusiasm for science and life, vast and thoughtful knowledge, overriding attention to careful and rigorous experimentation, warm and supportive mentoring, droll sense of humor and, through it all, his deep empathy, belief and support of all those near him. He was a true scientist/scholar and a unique man who will be sorely missed.
John is survived by his wife of 23 years, Cornelia, sisters Betty and Bonnie, and children Lisa, Benjamin and Thomas.