Professor Ricardo Miledi was born in Mexico in 1927 and received his B.Sc. and M.D. at the Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico or UNAM) where he served at the National Institute of Cardiology. He held a fellowship at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (USA) and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in the University of Canberra, Australia. From 1958-1985, he was Professor and Head of the Department of Biophysics at the University College in London. In 1985, he moved to the University of California at Irvin where he is currently Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior and Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the College of Biological Sciences. He is also a member of the Board of Santa Ana’s Discovery Science Museum.
Professor Miledi is a world authority in neurophysiology, particularly the physiology of synapses. His fundamental studies of the processes by which nerve cells transfer information to muscles and other nerve cells opened the way for the advent of new methods for studying the brain. His current research focuses on understanding signal transmission across nerve cells at the molecular level. Miledi’s overall contribution to neurophysiology also had been significant to understanding certain neurological disorders and developing new methods of treatment. He published more than 450 papers in prestigious scientific journals and is one of the 10 most cited neurobiologsts of all times. He also mentored generations of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
Miledi is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), the US National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Third World Academy of Science, and the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Science in Mexico. He is also the recipient of many illustrious prizes and honors. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Science, he was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the University of the Basque Country (Universidad del Pais Vasco), Triesta University in Italy and three Mexican universities. His other major awards include the Royal Medal from the Royal Society (London) and the Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research – Spain’s highest honor for science. He was also awarded the UCI medal, the highest honor and the university’s equivalent of an honorary doctorate.
Professor Miledi is honoured for his major contributions to the study of the processes by which nerve cells transfer information to muscles and to other nerve cells. Such, knowledge is essential to explain how the brain processes information and how drugs and toxic substances affect the nervous system. It forms the basis for understanding certain devastating neurological diseases, and for the development of treatment for disorders of the nervous system.