Researcher and World Traveler

"The joy of what I do is that I love solving problems, scientific that is. It is a mental challenge. When you are right, it is a high." So Marc Freeman '65 summarizes his last 40 years of study, research and teaching in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Marc presently is a Distinguished Research Professor and the Lloyd M. Beidler Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at Florida State University, and continues active research with three grants from the National Institutes of Health.

After Moravian, where Marc recalls receiving a great liberal arts education, he went to West Virginia University to become an ecologist. "I hated it, but found a course in endocrinology that captivated my interest beyond imagination"--so much so that he found a graduate program in reproductive endocrinology at WVU and became its first Ph.D. student. With a burning passion, he spent 18-hour days in pursuit of his doctorate and continued with a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory Medical School with a rising superstar, Professor Jimmy Neill (now retired). While there, he states he "accidentally made an amazing discovery in neuroscience and my career has been meteoric." He discovered how an area of the brain uniquely controlled the secretion of prolactin from the pituitary gland.

In 1972 he accepted an assistant professorship at Florida State and promised his wife, Louise Anderson Freeman (formerly of Salisbury, Md.) they would only be there for three years. Thirty-three years later, he continues his devoted research in a fascinating field. He has published a long list of articles and has received many awards, including the Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, and he was designated a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Florida State University has bestowed a Professorial Excellence Award as well.

His many NIH grants through the years have led to the development of scientific relationships with an international group of scholars ranging from Hungary, Switzerland, and Italy to Brazil and others. This has allowed Marc and Louise to travel frequently over the years to many corners of the globe, usually on invitation from countries visited. The Freemans have been in almost every eastern and western European country, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. He shared the observation that he has never seen anything like the poverty in China anywhere else. In the summer of 2004 the Freemans visited much of the former Soviet Union, and had the opportunity to visit Riga, Latvia, the town where Marc's maternal grandfather was born and raised.

Marc admits to two irrational passions, Porsche sports cars (bought his first in 1974 and four since then) and his dogs; two Labrador retrievers and one Dalmatian. Though Louise and Marc have no children, they consider their family the many graduate students he has trained and then his dogs. Marc chuckles that he is scheduled to retire at the end of 2007, but because he has NIH grants that will take his team to 2010, he doesn't see retirement in the near future.

Photo: Courtesy of Marc Freeman