Eva J. Neer
Eva Julia Neer (1937–2000) was an American physician (Columbia University P&S), biochemist, and cell-biology scientist who gained U.S. national research awards (FASEB 1987 & American Heart Association 1996) for her discoveries on G-protein subunit structure and function. She described the physiological roles of these subunits as an integrated and versatile molecular system of signal transduction for membrane-receptor regulation of cell function. Her research concepts turned her into a world leader in G-protein studies and impinged widely on the general understanding of cell behavior.
Born Eva Augenblick in Warsaw, came to New York at age eight with her parents and grew up in Queens and Scarsdale. Eva's family fled Nazi-occupied Warsaw in 1939, emigrated first to Brazil, and soon after to the U.S.. Her parents held academic posts in Poland which they were unable to pursue in the US, but somehow inspired in Eva her love for scholarly endeavors. She graduated with honors from Bronxville High School in 1955, being awarded a Regent’s college scholarship by the State Education Department. Eva Augenblick attended Radcliffe and graduated from Barnard College in 1957. A list of student acquaintances of hers at college would include notable achievers such as economist Fischer Black, psychologist Robert L. Helmreich , and cardiologist Robert M. Neer  whom she married. Eva graduated as a physician at Columbia University in 1963. Three years later she joined Harvard University where she worked continuously for more than three decades. Eva Neer has been singled out for her "efforts to help women advance up the academic ladder". She died of complications from breast cancer in 2001, survived by her husband and two sons, Robert and Richard. A personal account of Eva Neer´s professional life was given by her close colleague David E. Clapham in an obituary note.
Eva joined Harvard research staff in 1966. She was appointed Assistant Professor in Biochemistry in 1976, and full professor in 1991. She was ascribed to the Cardiology Division at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Neer served on the Board of Tutors in Biochemical Sciences at Harvard, as well as on the Harvard Students Research Committee at the Harvard Medical School. She combined the tools of chemistry, biology, physics and molecular biology to explain how cells interpret the messages they get from light, hormones and neurotransmitters. The author of numerous papers, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and earned membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was honored with the FASEB prize for basic research in 1987 and the American Heart Association’s basic research prize in 1996. She was also an adviser to the National Institutes of Health.
Eva Neer's early research, performed under the guidance of Professor Guido Guidotti, was devoted to study aspects of hemoglobin chemistry. These included the role of sulfhydril groups of alpha and beta chains on the quaternary conformation of the molecule. She showed their importance in subunit interface interaction and functional cooperativity for oxygen binding. This binding is an essential property for oxygen transport in blood and is often referred as Bohr effect.
While still at Guidotti's lab Eva undertook independent research on the biochemical mechanisms of vasopressin's action on kidney's distal tubules. She described the purification and kinetic properties of vasopressin-sensitive adenylate cyclase from rat renal medulla. It would be later shown that vasopressin acts through a G protein-coupled receptor. This was the topic of Eva's work for most of her research career.
In order to dissect out different aspects of G protein messaging complexities Eva studied a variety of tissues including brain cortex, rat testis, pigeon erythrocytes, heart, brain, retina-rods. Some of her most cited research findings include:
- Purification and properties of free and membrane-bound adenyalate cyclase (1978)
- Size and detergent binding of adenylate cyclase from bovine cerebral cortex (1978)
- The site of alpha-chymotryptic activation of pigeon erythrocyte adenylate cyclase (1978)
- Calmodulin activates the isolated catalytic unit of brain adenylate cyclase (1981)
- Location and function of reactive sulfhydryl groups of alpha subunit 39 (1987)
- Action of G protein subunits on the cardiac muscarinic K+ channel (1987, 1988)
- Cloning and differential expression of alpha-subunit types in human tissues and cell types (1988)
- alpha-s and alpha-o synthesis in GH3 cells (1996) 
- Structure-function aspects of activation of PLC by G protein subunits: site mutation studies. (1998)
Awards and honors
- Damon Runyon Fellowship from the Cancer Research Foundation in 1973
- American Heart Association Research Achievement Award for Basic Research (1996) together with David E. Clapham
- FASEB Excellence in Science Award 1998
- Elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
- Earned membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Posthumously honored by Harvard Medical School by establishing the Eva Neer Memorial Lecture 
- "Professor of Medicine Eva J. Neer Dies at 62". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved Sep 27, 2017.
- "Remembering Dr. Eva Neer, read at the Faculty of Medicine meeting on Dec. 18, 2002". Harvard Gazette. March 6, 2003. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- "Dr. Eva J. Neer, in memorial". BioMolecular Engineering Research Center. 2000-02-21. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- Saxon, Wolfgang (2000-02-26). "Eva Julia Neer, 62, Biochemist Known for Work With Proteins". The New York Times. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- "HS,Yonkers,N.Y,May 13, 1955". Archives of the Yonkers NY Herald Statesman. Fultonhistory.com. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- Mehrling, Perry. "Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance". Dmmserver.com. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- "Eva Julia Neer, 62, Biochemist, Heart Researcher". Chicago Tribune. 2000-02-28. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- Clapham, David E. (April 2000). "Remembering Eva Neer". Cell. 101 (3): 247–248. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(02)71135-5.
- "Guido Guidotti". Molecular & Cellular Biology - Harvard University. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.
- Neer, EJ; Guidotti, G (Feb 10, 1970). "The recombination of alpha and beta chains of human hemoglobin. Effect of sulfhydryl group modifications". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 245 (3): 570–3. PMID 5412713.
- Neer, EJ (Jul 10, 1973). "The vasopressin-sensitive adenylate cyclase of the rat renal medulla". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 248 (13): 4775–81. PMID 4352409.
- Prat, AG; Ausiello, DA; Cantiello, HF (July 1993). "Vasopressin and protein kinase A activate G protein-sensitive epithelial Na+ channels". The American Journal of Physiology. 265 (1 Pt 1): C218–23. PMID 8393279.
- Neer, EJ (Aug 25, 1978). "Physical and functional properties of adenylate cyclase from mature rat testis". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 253 (16): 5808–12. PMID 670231.
- Neer, EJ (Mar 10, 1978). "Size and detergent binding of adenylate cyclase from bovine cerebral cortex". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 253 (5): 1498–502. PMID 627551.
- Marshak, DR; Neer, EJ (May 25, 1980). "The site of alpha-chymotryptic activation of pigeon erythrocyte adenylate cyclase". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 255 (10): 4781–5. PMID 7372611.
- Salter, RS; Krinks, MH; Klee, CB; Neer, EJ (Oct 10, 1981). "Calmodulin activates the isolated catalytic unit of brain adenylate cyclase". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 256 (19): 9830–3. PMID 6268633.
- Winslow, JW; Bradley, JD; Smith, JA; Neer, EJ (Apr 5, 1987). "Reactive sulfhydryl groups of alpha 39, a guanine nucleotide-binding protein from brain. Location and function". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 262 (10): 4501–7. PMID 3104318.
- Logothetis, DE; Kurachi, Y; Galper, J; Neer, EJ; Clapham, DE (Jan 22–28, 1987). "The beta gamma subunits of GTP-binding proteins activate the muscarinic K+ channel in heart". Nature. 325 (6102): 321–6. doi:10.1038/325321a0. PMID 2433589.
- Logothetis, DE; Kim, DH; Northup, JK; Neer, EJ; Clapham, DE (August 1988). "Specificity of action of guanine nucleotide-binding regulatory protein subunits on the cardiac muscarinic K+ channel". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 85 (16): 5814–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.85.16.5814. PMC 281855. PMID 2457901.
- Kim, SY; Ang, SL; Bloch, DB; Bloch, KD; Kawahara, Y; Tolman, C; Lee, R; Seidman, JG; Neer, EJ (June 1988). "Identification of cDNA encoding an additional alpha subunit of a human GTP-binding protein: expression of three alpha i subtypes in human tissues and cell lines". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 85 (12): 4153–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.85.12.4153. PMC 280384. PMID 3132707.
- Li, Y; Mende, U; Lewis, C; Neer, EJ (Sep 15, 1996). "Maintenance of cellular levels of G-proteins: different efficiencies of alpha s and alpha o synthesis in GH3 cells". The Biochemical Journal. 318 (Pt 3): 1071–7. PMC 1217725. PMID 8836158.
- Panchenko, MP; Saxena, K; Li, Y; Charnecki, S; Sternweis, PM; Smith, TF; Gilman, AG; Kozasa, T; Neer, EJ (Oct 23, 1998). "Sites important for PLCbeta2 activation by the G protein betagamma subunit map to the sides of the beta propeller structure". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 273 (43): 28298–304. doi:10.1074/jbc.273.43.28298. PMID 9774453.
- Li, Y; Sternweis, PM; Charnecki, S; Smith, TF; Gilman, AG; Neer, EJ; Kozasa, T (Jun 26, 1998). "Sites for Galpha binding on the G protein beta subunit overlap with sites for regulation of phospholipase Cbeta and adenylyl cyclase". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 273 (26): 16265–72. doi:10.1074/jbc.273.26.16265. PMID 9632686.
- Neer, EJ (1990). "Structural and functional studies of the Go protein". Society of General Physiologists series. 45: 143–51. PMID 2116036.
- Clapham, DE; Neer, EJ (Sep 30, 1993). "New roles for G-protein beta gamma-dimers in transmembrane signalling". Nature. 365 (6445): 403–6. doi:10.1038/365403a0. PMID 8413584.
- Neer, EJ (Jan 27, 1995). "Heterotrimeric G proteins: organizers of transmembrane signals". Cell. 80 (2): 249–57. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(95)90407-7. PMID 7834744.
- Neer, EJ; Clapham, DE (May 12, 1988). "Roles of G protein subunits in transmembrane signalling". Nature. 333 (6169): 129–34. doi:10.1038/333129a0. PMID 3130578.
- "Damon Runyon Fellows + Grantees (by award year): '70s". Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Retrieved Jan 2, 2014.