Open Access Peer-Reviewed



A tireless researcher in psychopharmacology and a gold-standard philosopher: the scientist and humanist João Romildo Bueno (1938-2019)

Antonio E. Nardi1,2, José C. Appolinário1,2, Antonio Geraldo da Silva2

DOI: 10.1590/1516-4446-2019-4111

Professor João Romildo Fanucci Bueno August 7, 1938 - August 17, 2019

World psychiatry - and Brazilian psychiatry in particular - are in mourning. We have lost one of our greatest teachers and dearest friends. Professor João Romildo Fanucci Bueno has left us, but his classes, his stories, and his universal knowledge will remain in our hearts and in our meetings forever.

On August 17, 2019, Professor Romildo passed away suddenly, just 10 days after his 81st birthday. He remained very active to the last, continuing his clinical work and his leading role in the professional associative life of the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (ABP).

Professor Romildo had a long and outstanding career in psychiatry with a special interest in psychopharmacology, covering the areas of research, teaching, and assistance, and serving as a leading mentor for many generations of Brazilian psychiatrists. He was very clever and recognized for his general knowledge of several aspects of life not restricted to psychiatry. His charismatic personality was characterized by constant curiosity, a challenging attitude toward the status quo, and affection for everyone, always with a friendly smile.

Professor Romildo was born in Cambuí, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He graduated from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) medical school - then the National Faculty of Medicine - in 1964. Interested early in his career in psychopharmacology and under the mentorship of Professor Lauro Solero, a Brazilian pharmacologist, he received a research fellowship from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for an internship at the Galesburg State Research Hospital in Illinois, supervised by Professor Harold E. Himwich, a leading researcher in biological psychiatry at the time. During this period, he participated in pivotal investigations into biological mechanisms underlying mental disorders and completed his psychiatric training.

Returning to Brazil in 1965, he was appointed associate professor at the UFRJ Institute of Psychiatry, where he subsequently held several academic positions. To mention a few, he was responsible for the Psychopharmacology discipline in the Graduate Program, participated in the general management of the Institute as Vice-Director for more than 15 years, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Jornal Brasileiro de Psiquiatria for several years. Professor Romildo was also Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine from the Medical School of UFRJ between 1990 to 1996. In 1979, he became full professor of Psychiatry at the same institution until his retirement 2005.

Professor Romildo published more than 100 articles, book chapters, reviews, and papers in conference proceedings. In the 1960s, he was the lead author of seminal papers on the pathophysiology of depression ("A dualistic approach to some biochemical problems in endogenous depressions"1) and schizophrenia ("Behavioral and biochemical alterations in schizophrenic patients"2). Given his broad scientific interest, his publications covered a wide range of subjects in the field of psychiatry3,4 and even beyond.5 Of note, Professor Romildo took part as investigator in the development programs of several psychopharmacological agents launched in recent years.6,7 Over the past year, he was enthusiastically involved in a long-term study he had closely followed for over two decades.8

Finally, we cannot but mention the fundamental role that Professor Romildo played in the development of our association, the ABP, since its inception. He chaired the ABP between 1983 and 1986, and was its treasurer from 2010 to 2016. He currently held the positions of Senior Editor of the journal Debates in Psychiatry, Special Advisor to the ABP Executive Board, and Secretary-Director of the Latin American Psychiatric Association (APAL). Furthermore, he remained very active at his beloved ABP, and was delighted to attend all meetings.

Dear Romildo, Brazilian psychiatry meetings will certainly not be the same without your presence. But you will always be in our stories and memories. Whenever Brazilian psychiatrists come together, you will be with them.

A great teacher and storyteller never dies. You will live forever in our hearts.


1. Bueno JR, Himwich HE. A dualistic approach to some biochemical problems in endogenous depressions. Psychosomatics. 1967;8:82-94.

2. Spaide J, Tanimukai H, Bueno JR, Himwich HE. Behavioral and biochemical alterations in schizophrenic patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18:658-65.

3. Bueno JR, Teixeira AR, Fernandes MF. An experimental evaluation of the anti-anxiety effects of some antidepressants. J Bras Psiquiatr. 1971;20:179-91.

4. Tanimukai H, Ginther R, Spaide J, Bueno JR, Himwich HE. Detection of psychotomimetic N,N-dimethylated indoleamines in the urine of four schizophrenic patients. Br J Psychiatry. 1970;117:421-30.

5. Appolinario JC, Bueno JR, Coutinho W. Psychotropic drugs in the treatment of obesity: what promise? CNS Drugs. 2004;18:629-51.

6. Versiani M, Bueno JR, Mundim FD, da Silva JA, Rocha AV. A double-blind comparison between loxapine and chlordiazepoxide in the treatment of neurotic anxiety. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 1976;20:701-15.

7. de Oliveira IR, Elkis H, Gattaz WF, Chaves A, de Sena EP, de Matos E Souza FG, et al. Aripiprazole for patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an open-label, randomized, study versus haloperidol. CNS Spectr. 2009;14:93-102.

8. Ferreira-Garcia R, da Rocha Freire RC, Appolinário JC, Levitan MN, Halkjær-Lassen RD, Bueno JR, et al. Tranylcypromine plus amitriptyline for electroconvulsive therapy-resistant depression: a long-term study. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2018;38:502-4.

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