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National Library of Medicine Announces the Addition of the Louis Sokoloff Papers to Profiles in Science

Louis Sokoloff

Louis Sokoloff (1921-2015) was an American physician and neuroscientist whose innovative research methods and tools transformed the study of brain structure and function. During nearly six decades at the National Institute of Mental Health, he developed new experimental methods, combining techniques and mathematical descriptions from biochemistry, enzyme kinetics, and physiological studies to accurately measure cerebral blood flow and metabolism. Using radioactive 2-deoxyglucose tracers, he was able to make real-time images of living animal brains under various physiological conditions, showing which brain regions were most active at a given moment. This work, which definitively linked regional metabolic activity to particular brain functions, constituted a quantum leap for brain-mapping research. It was also rapidly adapted to positron emission tomography (PET) scanning technology, which soon became essential for studying and diagnosing brain disorders and many types of cancer. He received a Lasker Award in 1981 in recognition of this important “bench-to-bedside” translational research.

Now available from the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library and a constituent institute of the National Institutes of Health, is a selection from the papers of Dr. Sokoloff, on the National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science® Web site. Profiles in Science is a digital project of the Library that provides online access to archival collections of twentieth- and twenty-first century leaders in science, medicine, and public health.

The Louis Sokoloff Papers Profiles in Science site features correspondence, published articles, interviews, and photographs from the Louis Sokoloff Papers held by the National Library of Medicine. Visitors to Profiles in Science can view, for example, photos from Sokoloff’s childhood and early career, correspondence with colleagues and students, and experimental brain images produced with the tracers he developed. An in-depth historical narrative leads to a wide range of primary source materials that provide a window into Sokoloff's life and major contributions to neuroscience.  Visitors may also view a brief chronology of Sokoloff’s life, a glossary of terms specific to the collection, and a further readings page, as well as search and browse the collection.

Since its founding in 1836, the National Library of Medicine has played a pivotal role in translating biomedical research into practice and is a leader in information innovation. NLM is the world's largest medical library, and millions of scientists, health professionals and the public around the world use NLM services every day.