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Fellows Directory

Leslie Iversen

Professor Leslie Iversen CBE FRS


Elected: 1980


Through his contributions to the neurochemistry of synaptic transmitters, Leslie Iversen has placed the study of uptake processes for noradrenaline on a quantitative basis and has discovered a second non-neuronal uptake which leads to a rapid metabolic degradation of the accumulated amines. He has exploited uptake processes in the study of the turnover of catecholamines and other synaptic transmitters and as a basis of an electron microscopic radioautographic method for delineating the transmitter specificity of terminal boutons. By this means, it was shown that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was taken up by a clearly defined subpopulation of nerve terminals distributed throughout the central nervous system. A selective loss of GABA-containing cells has been found in the basal ganglia of patients with Huntingdon’s chorea. Leslie (with Ed Kravitz, Masanori Otsuka and Zach Hall) was the first to demonstrate that GABA was released from inhibitory nerve terminals. He has demonstrated trans-synaptic regulation of enzymes concerned with transmitter biosynthesis and has carried out extensive studies of the effect of nerve growth factor on the biochemistry of sympathetic neurons.

Professional positions

Visiting Professor of Pharmacology, Department Of Pharmacology, University of Oxford
Chair, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Home Office

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Addiction, drug misuse, Neuropeptides, Neurotransmitters