Dr. George Aghajanian
Dr. George Aghajanian of Guilford, a dedicated professor of psychiatry, esteemed researcher, U.S. Army veteran, loving family man, and passionate golfer, passed away July 4, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and compassion. Born April 14, 1932, in Beirut, Lebanon, George led a remarkable life that touched the hearts and minds of many.
George’s pursuit of knowledge began at an early age, driven by a deep curiosity and a life-long desire to make a difference. His academic journey included a B.A. from Cornell University and an MD from Yale School of Medicine. His research in neuropharmacology began during his Army service, reaching the rank of captain, where he conducted seminal studies on the effects of LSD and other psychedelic as well as antipsychotic drugs.
As a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, George dedicated himself to the education and mentorship of countless students, postdoctoral fellows, and other faculty. He was a leader, and his unswerving scientific integrity was central to the origin and development of neurobiological research in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. He was a pioneer in the field of neuropharmacology. His research on serotonin and treatment-resistant depression gained him recognition as a leading researcher in the field and shaped the landscape of medical knowledge. His work paved the way for many advancements in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. His awards include the CINP Pioneer Award from the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Lieber Prize for research on schizophrenia, the Daniel H. Efron Research Award, and the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Scheele Award from the Swedish Academy of Pharmacy, the Heffter Award from the Heffter Research Institute, and election to the National Academy of Medicine.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, George had a passion for golf that brought him immense joy and relaxation, although it was the one endeavor he could never master. George’s love for the sport was infectious, and his enthusiasm inspired many others to embrace the game, including his peers, sons, and grandchildren. His annual family trip to Cape Cod, where golf with the family was a centerpiece, was a highlight of his later years.
George’s life was enriched by the love and support of his family. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anne, and his four children: Michael, Andrew, Carol, and Laura; daughters-in-law, Melinda and Lynn; and his son-in-law Rand David. In addition to his immediate family, George embraced his role as a grandfather. He leaves behind eight grandchildren: Jeremy, William, Ben, Madeline, Jonah, Audra, Ella, and Aliza, who brought him joy and filled his life with love and laughter. He provided wisdom to each of them, imparted valuable life lessons, and leaves behind memories that will be treasured for generations to come.
Today, as we mourn the loss of George, we also celebrate the profound impact he had on the world. His memory will forever remain a source of inspiration, reminding us to pursue knowledge, cherish our loved ones, and approach life with unwavering passion and dedication.
Dr. George Aghajanian, may you rest in peace, knowing that your legacy lives on in the lives you touched and the hearts you inspired.
Friends are invited to a memorial service at noon on Saturday, July 15, to be held at the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church Street, Guilford. To share a memory or leave condolences, visit www.guilfordfuneralhome.com.