Charles H. (Tom) Sawyer Distinguished Lecture

The Charles H. (Tom) Saywer Lecture is an annual event in honor of the late Dr. Sawyer, a distinguished member of the BRI. The Sawyer Distinguished Lecture invites an outstanding neuroendocrinology researcher from another institution to present work at the cutting edge of the field. 

Dr. Sawyer created groundbreaking insights into our understanding of how the brain controls the pituitary gland and reproductive function, leading to the birth of the field of neuroendocrinology. His research contributed significantly to the development of effective contraceptives and the management of infertility with scientific experimentation that essentially started the intense study of monamines in neurobiology in terms of normal and pathological brain function. In his early electrophysiological experiments Dr. Sawyer was among the first researchers to describe REM sleep. 

In 1951 Dr. Sawyer was invited by BRI founder H.W. Magoun to join the new Department of Anatomy at UCLA where he gave the first lecture at the new UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Sawyer was one of the first members of the BRI, and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at UCLA from 1955 to 1963 and again in 1968. During his tenure at UCLA, Dr. Sawyer was the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Koch Award of the Endocrine Society in 1973. He gave the first Geoffrey Harris Memorial Lecture in India, awarded by the International Neuroendocrine Federation in 1974, received the UCLA Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award in 1976, and won the Hartman Award of the Society for the Study of Reproduction in 1978. Dr. Sawyer was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in the Physiology and Pharmacology section in 1980 and received the Henry Gray Award from the American Association of Anatomists in 1984. He received the Award of Extraordinary Merit from the UCLA Medical Alumni Association in 1990. 

During Dr. Sawyer’s long research career he published over 350 papers in distinguished medical journals and taught Gross Anatomy to medical students for close to 60 years. Part of Dr. Sawyer’s legacy at UCLA is that he initiated an interactive group of investigators studying and training in neuroendocrinology. This legacy still exists in the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology of the Brain Research Institute, which remains at the forefront of research on the relationship between hormones and brain development and function.