Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c391

Eva Neer papers


The Eva Neer papers, 1960-2000 (inclusive), 1980-1999 (bulk) consist of records created and collected by Eva Neer (1937-2000) throughout the course of her career as a researcher in biochemistry and cytology. Neer held positions at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Biochemistry and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the cardiovascular division. Together with David Clapham, she was responsible for the discovery of which G protein α subunit activated the ion channel responsible for vagal-mediated slowing of heart rate. Records include correspondence, laboratory notebooks, manuscripts, article figures, and meeting minutes.


  • Creation: 1960-2002 (inclusive),
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-1999 .


Language of Materials

Papers are entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions are noted where they appear in Series II and Series III. Access to personal information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series II. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series I) is also subject to the above restrictions and premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit.

The Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to consult Public Services for further information concerning retrieval of material.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


20.75 cubic feet (21 records center cartons, 1 legal half-manuscript box, 1 flat box, and 1 lantern slide box)

The Eva Neer papers, 1960-2000 (inclusive), 1980-1999 (bulk) consist of records created and collected during Eva Neer’s work as a researcher in cellular biochemistry at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Neer focused throughout her career on cellular proteins and, from 1986 onwards, on G proteins specifically. Neer was involved in faculty search committees and planning initiatives at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital and worked with graduate and post-graduate students; the papers reflect her work as an advisor, teacher, and mentor for students in the biological sciences. During her time at Harvard, Neer was noted for her work in promoting the status of women in the medical sciences generally and Harvard Medical School specifically; records in the papers demonstrate her work with the Harvard Committee for the Advancement and Support of Women in Academic Medicine, which collected data and made recommendations to Harvard administrators about the status of female employees and graduate students at the school.

Subjects of the records include experimentation with G proteins and subunits; educational exchanges with institutions in Poland; programs at Harvard Medical School including the M.D./Ph.D. program; the status of women in academic medicine at Harvard Medical School; and data collection and exchange between Neer's laboratory and others in the same field. Records include correspondence, survey instruments and data, laboratory notebooks, research data, lecture notes, letters of appointment, meeting minutes and agenda, and a small amount of personal information, including humorous material collected by Neer as well as information regarding her membership in societies such as the Institute of Medicine as well as an informal faculty gathering at Harvard known as the "Old Docs Club."

Papers are entirely in English.

Biographical Notes

Eva Julia (Augenblick) Neer (1937-2000), B.A., 1957, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Barnard College, New York, New York; M.D., 1963, Columbia University, New York, New York, was a Professor of Biochemistry at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts and a researcher in biochemistry and cytology with a specialization in proteins. Neer was the second woman at Harvard Medical School to receive a tenured professorship.

Eva Neer was born in 28 October 1937 in Warsaw, Poland; her parents left Poland in 1939 when Neer was a year old and went first to Brazil before coming to the United States in the mid-1940s. Neither of Neer’s parents were able to continue their academic careers after moving to New York City. Neer attended Bronxville High School, graduating in 1955. She attended Radcliffe College and graduated from Barnard College in 1957, after which she attended medical school at Columbia University, receiving her M.D. in 1963. Neer held post-graduate positions at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut before coming to Harvard Medical School in 1966.

Neer’s first position at Harvard Medical School was as a post-doctoral fellow in Guido Guidotti’s laboratory, purifying adenylyl and guanylyl cyclase from adrenal medulla to better understand the enzyme that generates the universal second messenger cAMP. In 1976, she was appointed Assistant Professor in Biochemistry; she received full professorship in 1991. She was the second woman at Harvard Medical School to receive a tenured professorship. Neer also held a position as a basic scientist from 1976 on in the Cardiovascular Division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

After 1976, Neer concentrated on cellular proteins and, from 1986 on, was involved in a long-term research partnership with David Clapham on G protein signal transduction. Neer and Clapham’s work was responsible for a shift in the science surrounding which G protein α subunit activated the ion channel responsible for vagal-mediated slowing of heart rate. Neer and Clapham were established that the Gβγ subunit was responsible for activating the ion channel; their research results were the subject of substantial controversy from their initial publication in Nature in 1987 until final outside laboratory confirmation in 1994. Neer worked with the G proteins project until shortly before her death.

While at Harvard, Neer served as chair of the Board of Tutors in Biochemical Sciences and was the Associate Master of the Cannon Society. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received awards from the American Heart Association (the Basic Research Prize), the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (the Excellence in Science Award), and the National Institutes of Health (the Merit Award).

Eva Augenblick married Robert Neer after they met during her time at Radcliffe College; the couple had two children, Robert and Richard. Both children and her husband survived Neer’s death from breast cancer in 2000 at age 62.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

  1. I. Research Records, 1960-2000
  2. ___ A. Administrative Records, 1980-2000
  3. ___B. Laboratory Records, 1960-1997
  4. ______ 1. Laboratory Notebooks, 1965-1997
  5. ______ 2. Research Data, 1960-1997
  6. II. Harvard Medical School Records, 1970-2002
  7. III. Professional Activities Records, 1978-2000
  8. ___ A. Correspondence, 1978-2000
  9. ___ B. Lectures and Speaking Engagements, 1989-1999
  10. ___ C. Manuscript Reviews, 1996-2000
  11. ___ D. Committees and Consultancies, 1993-2000
  12. IV. Personal and Biographical Files, 1992-1999

Immediate Source of Acquisition

  1. Gifted by Robert Neer. 2000 July 19 (Accessions 2000-19 and 2001-003)
  2. Gifted by Robert Neer. 2003 April (Accession 2003-062)

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Sedgwick and Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook 2014 August.

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and reboxed material and created a finding aid to increase researcher access. Processing actions were as follows:

  1. RNA gels from electrophoresis found with the collection were removed from the collection and discarded due to the possible presence of formaldehyde, acrylamide, and ethidium bromide in the gel preparations; printed notes were inserted at the beginning of each folder from which gels were removed
  2. Records were removed from three-ring binders and placed in file folders
  3. Personal names on file folders were redacted
  4. Files on 3.5 inch floppy diskettes and CDs (as found in Series I) were imaged using AccesData's FTK Imager software, with disk image files and extracted use copies of files copied to electronic storage. Files that could be opened were sampled for content; however, researchers should be aware that not all files were or could be opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed. Files on a single CD, the optical disk cartridges, and the data cartridge tapes could not be copied.



Neer, Eva. Papers, 1960-2000 (inclusive), 1980-1999 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Language of description
The Eva Neer papers were processed under the auspices of the Archives for Women in Medicine, a special project of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

10 Shattuck Street
Boston MA 02115
(617) 432-2170