Anne B. Young

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Anne Buckingham Young is an American physician and neuroscientist who works on neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on movement disorders like Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease.[1] She became the first woman chief of service at Massachusetts General Hospital when she was appointed Chief of Neurology in 1991.[2] She retired from this role and from clinical service in 2012.[1] She is the only person to have been president of both the international Society for Neuroscience and the American Neurological Association.


Young grew up in a North Shore suburb of Chicago. Her feisty nature led her father to nickname her "Tiger Annie," and she was sent to prep school to keep her out of trouble.[2] She did her undergraduate studies at Vassar College and worked in a laboratory, developing a keen interest in biochemistry. After enrolling in an M.D.-Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and was awarded both the M.D. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology within 5 years.[2] She completed her dissertation in a neuropharmacology lab focused on psychiatric disorders, and helped to define the role of neurotransmitters in different cell types.[3][4] She completed residency training in neurology at the University of California San Francisco, and along with her late husband Jack B. Penney Jr. she started a laboratory at the University of Michigan studying the anatomy and pharmacology of the basal ganglia.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Her research career includes many highlights. In 1974 she published a paper correlating the excitatory action of granule cells and the neurophysiological effect of glutamic acid, to suggest that glutamate is the primary neurotransmitter of the granule cell.[5] Today glutamate is considered to be the chief excitatory neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system. Additionally, a 1989 paper she co-authored describing an anatomically derived model of basal ganglia disorders has been cited over 2000 times.[6]

In 1991 Young was appointed chief of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Julianne Dorn Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She was the first woman service chief in the hospital's 180 year history.[7] She was the president of the Society for Neuroscience from 2003 to 2004 and was also the president of the American Neurological Association. She is currently a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.


  1. ^ a b "Anne Buckingham Young, MD, PhD - Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA". Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b c "Brainy Women". Harvard Magazine. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Vision | MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease". Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  4. ^ Young, A. B.; Oster-Granite, M. L.; Herndon, R. M.; Snyder, S. H. (1974-06-14). "Glutamic acid: selective depletion by viral induced granule cell loss in hamster cerebellum". Brain Research. 73 (1): 1–13. ISSN 0006-8993. PMID 4152168. 
  5. ^ "Glutamic acid: selective depletion by viral induced granule cell loss in hamster cerebellum," PMID 4152168.
  6. ^ "The functional anatomy of basal ganglia disorders," PMID 2479133
  7. ^ Thomas, Patricia (May 2002). "Brainy Women". Harvard Magazine.