Salk Institute for Biological Studies researcher Wylie Vale Jr. has died, reports the Los Angeles Times. Vale was 70. He was known for discovering the hormone in the brain — corticotropin releasing factor — responsible for managing the body's response to stress, the Times says. Salk Institute professor Ronald Evans says that finding the source of the fight-or-flight response had been "the subject of speculation and investigation for more than a hundred years," and "one of the most challenging problems of our era." CRF — which is produced by the brain to control the release of cortisone from the adrenal gland to the rest of the body — is present in very small amounts in the brain, and finding it was like "trying to climb Mt. Everest in biology," Evans adds.
In 1982, Vale also discovered growth hormone releasing factor, the Times says. Overall, "Vale and his team discovered more than a dozen neuropeptides and their signaling mechanisms," it reports. "Vale co-founded two biotech companies — Neurocrine Biosciences and Acceleron Pharma — that have gone on to develop the medical and therapeutic potential of his discoveries."