John Porter was one of the early pioneers in the science that later became known as neuroendocrinology — the study of how the nervous system and the endocrine system interact.
He was among the first to study how the hypothalamus interacted with the pituitary gland and to measure peptide hormones in the brain. Using tiny cannulas and an “embolating” devise to inject air bubbles at prescribed intervals, he collected discrete aliquots of hypophysial portal rat blood over long periods of time. This system was revolutionary because it prevented the mixing of peptides during prolonged collections.
A 1949 graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Dr. Porter received his Masters of Arts degree from Texas Technological College in Lubbock (1950). After earning his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa (1952), he spent a year doing postdoctoral research under the direction of Edwin C. Hamblen, M.D., in the Division of Endocrinology at Duke University School of Medicine. In 1953, he joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School as an Instructor of Physiology. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1955, Associate in 1959, and Professor in 1964.
When the Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences was created by the Board of Regents in September 1970, Dr. Porter became its scientific director. (Later, the Center’s name was change to the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences.) In 1972, he received a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and moved his laboratories to the Department in 1973. In 1981, he became the first recipient of the newly created Arthur Grollman Professorship in Neuroendocrinology.
A leading authority on prolactin and dopaminergic research in the rat brain, he trained 35 research fellows from 16 countries over his 50-year career at UT Southwestern. He maintained an NIH continuation grant for more than 30 years and published more than 270 scientific papers. His interest in the role of the pituitary gland in controlling dopamine neurons in the brain as it aged led to an NIH MERIT grant to study “Aging and Molecular Neuron Impairment” in 1989.
Retiring in 1995, he continued to work part time as an Adjunct Professor, consulting and mentoring faculty and fellows and distributing the tyrosine hydroxylase monoclonal antibody he’d developed. After his full retirement in 2003, Dr. Porter became the first Ph.D. in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology to be named Professor Emeritus — and only the third faculty member to achieve that status.
- Graduate School
- Duke Univ - School of Medicine (1952), Reproductive Biology
- Developmental changes in molecular forms of immunoreactive adrenocorticotropin in the anterior pituitary gland of humans.
- Parker CR, Porter JC Endocr. Res. 1999 Aug-Nov 25 3-4 397-410
- Adenosine acts by A1 receptors to stimulate release of prolactin from anterior-pituitaries in vitro.
- Yu WH, Kimura M, Walczewska A, Porter JC, McCann SM Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1998 Jun 95 13 7795-8
- A study of the cellular mechanism by which lead affects catecholamine secretion.
- Ramin SM, Porter JC Life Sci. 1997 61 13 1313-21
- Purification and identification of pituitary cytotropic factor.
- Porter JC, Ijames CF, Wang TC, Markey SP Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1995 Jun 92 12 5351-5
- Secretion by hypothalamic dopaminergic neurons of the aged brain.
- Porter JC, Aguila-Mansilla N, Ramin SM, Kedzierski W Neurobiol. Aging 1994 Jul-Aug 15 4 535-9
- Expression of tyrosine hydroxylase gene in cultured hypothalamic cells: roles of protein kinase A and C.
- Kedzierski W, Aguila-Mansilla N, Kozlowski GP, Porter JC J. Neurochem. 1994 Feb 62 2 431-7
- Action of lead on catecholamine secretory processes of fetal hypothalamic and adrenal cells.
- Ramin SM, Kedzierski W, Porter JC Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 1993 Oct 4 5 449-54
- Localization of a defect in hypothalamic dopaminergic neurons of the aged brain that results in impaired PKA-dependent activation of tyrosine hydroxylase.
- Aguila-Mansilla N, Kedzierski W, Porter JC J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 1993 Oct 267 1 171-5
- Dopa accumulates in the hypothalamic-hypophysial portal vessels and is taken into the anterior pituitary of NSD-1015-treated rodents.
- Telford N, May PC, Sinha YN, Porter JC, Finch CE Neuroendocrinology 1992 Apr 55 4 390-5
- Effects of acute hypercapnia on maternal and fetal vasopressin and catecholamine release.
- Faucher DJ, Laptook AR, Porter JC, Rosenfeld CR Pediatr. Res. 1991 Oct 30 4 368-74
Hypothalamic Peptide Hormones and Pituitary Regulation
Porter, JC (ed) (Ed.) (1977). New York, Plenum Press
Circulating Regulatory Factors and Neuroendocrine Function
Porter, JC and D Jezova (eds) (Ed.) (1990). New York, Plenum Press
"A pituitary cytotropic factor modulates tyrosine hydroxylase expression in cultured dopaminergic cells". In In Stress: Neuroendocrine and Molecular Approaches. R Kvetnansky, R McCarty, J Axelrod (eds), pp. 351-362
Porter, JC, W Kedzierski, N Aguila-Mansilla, SM Ramin, GP Kozlowski. (1992). New York, Gordon and Breach
Honors & Awards
- Recipient of Doctor Honoris Causa Award
University of Aix-Marseille, France (1990)
- Recipient of MERIT Award from National Institutes of Health
For demonstrating superior competence and outstanding productivity during previous research endeavors (1987)
- First recipient of Arthur Grollman Professorship of Neuroendocrinology
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UT Southwestern (1981)
- Recipient of The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Purdue Frederick Award
for Excellent Medical Research (1978)
- American Physiological Society
- Phi Kappa Phi
- Sigma Xi
- Society for the Study of Reproduction
- The Endocrine Society