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Candace Beebe Pert was an American neuroscientist and pharmacologist who discovered the opiate receptor, the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain. Pert is the author of Molecules of Emotion. She appeared as one of the experts in Bill Moyers 1993 PBS video production, "Healing and the Mind", and in the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know ! ?
Beginning in 1975, Pert held a variety of research positions with the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1983, she became the Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch, the only female chief at NIMH. As a mere graduate student, in 1972 Candace Pert discovered the brain’s opiate receptor – the cellular site where the body’s painkillers and "bliss-makers", the endorphins – bond with cells to weave their magic. Pert’s discovery led to a revolution in neuroscience, helping open the door to the “information-based” model of the brain which is now replacing the old “structuralist” model.
Pert lectured worldwide on these and other subjects, including her theories on emotions and mind-body communication. Her popular book, Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, (Scribner, 1997) expounded on her research and theories. Molecules of Emotion begins as an eye-opener into the intellectual warfare of modern scientific discovery – the gamesmanship, the sly purloining of others’ results – but also into the round-the-clock work, the exhilaration of a shared breakthrough, and the slow, painful rise of women in the scientific professions. The book concludes with the author integrating the science she pioneered with the holistic “energy medicines” which work on the same principles – till now without scientific rationales. She was featured in The Washingtonian magazine (December 2001) as one of Washington's fifty "Best and Brightest" individuals.