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Clifford Saper

Clifford Saper

Harvard professor | Groundbreaking neuroscientist | Class of 1972

Clifford Saper (BS/MS '72, biology) made up for it later in life, but the future groundbreaking neuroscience researcher’s first project — in a lab here, as a 1960s undergrad — was something of a whiff.

“It was badly designed — by me — to require injecting rats with a drug that I hoped would affect their memory,” said the Harvard professor, who heads up the neurology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“The animals required three injections, at four-hour intervals prior to testing their memory, and for some reason I decided that I needed to do the actual behavioral testing in the morning. So I had to come in at midnight, 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. the night before I did the behavioral experiment to inject the rats. 

“I remember taking my future wife on a date that was interrupted by having to come in to inject the rats.”

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