Dr. Samson majored in Chemistry at Duke University and after serving in the US Army received his PhD in Physiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center under the tutelage of Dr. S. M. McCann. As an Assistant Professor at UTSWMC, Dr. Samson directed his attention to actions of newly described vasoactive peptides in the central control of cardiovascular function, stress hormone secretion, and fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, establishing lasting collaborations with Dr. José Antunes Rodrigues (USP-Ribeirao Preto, Brazil) and Dr. Alastair V. Ferguson (Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada). Dr. Samson and his collaborator Dr. Jerry Fulton (UTSWMC) were first to apply cytotoxin-mediated cell targeting to study the physiological roles of the natriuretic peptides and oxytocin, the latter studies in collaboration with Drs. Edward Stricker and Joseph G. Verbalis (Univ. of Pittsburgh).
Dr. Samson moved in 1988 to the University of Missouri becoming a Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and in 1992 to the University of North Dakota as Chair in Medical Physiology. In 1999, Dr. Samson assumed his current position as Professor of Pharmacological and Physiological Science and Director of Graduate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences at Saint Louis University.
With Dr. Aaron Hsueh (Stanford Univ. School of Medicine) and Dr. Jaw-Kang Chang (Phoenix Pharmaceuticals), Dr. Samson and his colleague, Dr. Gina L. C. Yosten, employed a bioinformatics approach to discover the novel peptide neuronostatin and have characterized its biological activity in the brain (with Dr. Ferguson), pancreas (with Dr. John A. Corbett, Medical College of Wisconsin), and heart (with Dr. Jun Ren, Univ. of Wyoming). Drs. Yosten and Samson recently identified the orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR107 to be a cognate receptor for neuronostatin. In collaboration with Drs. Hsueh and Chang and also with Dr. Nae Dun (Temple Univ.), the Yosten/Samson lab recently announced the discovery of another novel neuropeptide, phoenixin, and demonstrated its potential role in the hypothalamic control of gonadotropin secretion. The lab now employs a Deductive Reasoning Strategy developed by Dr. Yosten to “pair” newly described and known peptides with orphan, G protein-coupled receptors for which ligands have yet to be identified.
Dr. Samson has served on numerous committees at NIH, APS, the American Heart Association, and the Endocrine Society. He served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the previous AJP-Regu Editor, Dr. Curt Sigmund, and shares the duties with Dr. Paul Davis (Albany, NY) as Heads of the Faculty of 1000 in Diabetes and Endocrinology. He is also the Editorial Advisor for the Endocrine Section of the APS publication, Comprehensive Physiology.