Rivier spent his career as a Salk professor studying a class of stress hormones called corticotropin-releasing factors (CRFs). He showed that CRFs are responsible for many of the body’s reactions to stress, including disabling the immune system in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In an attempt to develop treatments for these conditions, he designed peptide molecules that block CRF receptors. He recently founded a company called Sentia Medical Sciences Inc. and obtained exclusive rights to CRF-targeted molecules from the Salk Institute. Aside from his contributions to understanding stress, his work has resulted in eight drugs used to diagnose and treat neuroendocrine tumors, prostate cancer, hypogonadism, pituitary dwarfism and intractable pain.