Susumu Hagiwara; Medical Pioneer, UCLA Professor


Susumu Hagiwara, a physician and professor of physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine who was a pioneer in understanding the mechanisms of excitability in nerve and muscle cells, has died of a heart attack, a school spokesman announced. Hagiwara was 66 and died April 1 at his Los Angeles home.

Hagiwara, the Eleanor I. Leslie professor of neuroscience at the Westwood campus, was the first to hold an endowed chair there.

“Susumu Hagiwara revolutionized our understanding of how calcium moves across cell membranes, basic discoveries which lead to the calcium-blocking agents currently used to treat patients with heart disease, migraine and stroke,” said Dr. Kenneth Shine, dean of the UCLA School of Medicine.


Hagiwara, who is survived by his wife, Satoko, and a son, won dozens of honors and had been awarded several honorary degrees.

Most recently he was involved with the regulation of ion channels in nerve and muscle membranes.