Irwin Fridovich

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Irwin Fridovich
Born(1929-08-02)August 2, 1929
DiedNovember 2, 2019(2019-11-02) (aged 90)
Alma materCity College of New York (BS 1951), Duke University (PhD 1955)
Known forSuperoxide dismutase, oxygen free radicals
AwardsElliott Cresson Medal (1997)
Scientific career
InstitutionsCornell Medical College, Duke University
Doctoral advisorPhilip Handler
Doctoral studentsJoe M. McCord, Hara P. Misra
Ribbon drawing of the subunit 3D structure of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase

Irwin Fridovich (August 2, 1929 – November 2, 2019)[1] was an American biochemist who, together with his graduate student Joe M. McCord, discovered the enzymatic activity of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD),[2][3]—to protect organisms from the toxic effects of superoxide free radicals formed as a byproduct of normal oxygen metabolism.[4] Subsequently, Fridovich's research group also discovered the manganese-containing[5] and the iron-containing[6] SODs from Escherichia coli and the mitochondrial MnSOD (SOD2),[7] now known to be an essential protein in mammals.[8] He spent the rest of his career studying the biochemical mechanisms of SOD and of biological superoxide toxicity, using bacteria as model systems.[9][10][11] Fridovich was also Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Duke University.

Academic career[edit]

From 1951 to 1952, Fridovich served as a medical research associate at Cornell Medical College. He held junior teaching positions in biochemistry at Duke University 1956 to 1961 and was a visiting research associate at Harvard University from 1961 to 1962. He became an assistant professor in biochemistry at Duke University in 1961 and a full professor in 1971. He was appointed as James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry in 1976 and held the position as professor emeritus since 1996 until his death.

Awards and honors[edit]

Fridovich received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Elliott Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. According to Google Scholar, he has over 51,000 citations in the scientific literature, including 7 papers with >1000 citations, and an h-index of 97.[12] His discovery of the superoxide dismutase reaction essentially started the field of oxygen free radicals in biology and medicine,[11][13] and that influence is shown by his election as president of the American Society of Biological Chemists (for 1982–83)[1] Archived 2012-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, the Oxygen Society (1987–1990), and the Society for Free Radical Research (1992–94), as well as award of the Science & Humanity Prize at the 2000 Oxygen Club World Congress.


  1. ^ "Duke Flags Lowered: Biochemist Irwin Fridovich Dies at Age 90".
  2. ^ McCord JM, Fridovich I (1969). "Superoxide Dismutase, An Enzymic Function for Erythrocuprein (Hemocuprein)". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 244 (22): 6049–6055. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(18)63504-5. PMID 5389100.
  3. ^ Fridovich I (1998). "The trail to superoxide dismutase". Protein Science. 7 (12): 2688–2690. doi:10.1002/pro.5560071225. PMC 2143889. PMID 9865966.
  4. ^ Bannister WH, Bannister JV (1988). "Isolation and characterization of superoxide dismutase: a personal history and tribute to Joe McCord and Irwin Fridovich". Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 5 (5–6): 371–6. doi:10.1016/0891-5849(88)90110-4. PMID 2855737.
  5. ^ BB Keele Jr; JM McCord; I Fridovich (1970). "Superoxide Dismutase from Escherichia coli B: A new manganese-containing enzyme". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 245 (22): 6176–6181. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(18)62675-4. PMID 4921969.
  6. ^ FJ Yost Jr; I Fridovich (1973). "An iron-containing superoxide dismutase from Escherichia coli". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 248 (14): 4905–4908. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(19)43649-1. PMID 4352182.
  7. ^ Weisiger RA, Fridovich I (1973). "Superoxide Dismutase: Organelle specificity". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 248 (10): 3582–3592. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(19)43969-0. PMID 4702877.
  8. ^ McCord JM, Fridovich I (1988). "Superoxide dismutase: the first twenty years (1968-1988)". Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 5 (5–6): 363–9. doi:10.1016/0891-5849(88)90109-8. PMID 2855736.
  9. ^ Fridovich I (1978). "The biology of oxygen radicals". Science. 201 (4359): 875–880. Bibcode:1978Sci...201..875F. doi:10.1126/science.210504. PMID 210504.
  10. ^ Fridovich I (1995). "Superoxide radical and superoxide dismutases" (PDF). Annual Review of Biochemistry. 64: 97–112. doi:10.1146/ PMID 7574505. S2CID 26834871. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-03-06.
  11. ^ a b Kresge N, Simoni RD, Hill RL (2006). "Forty Years of Superoxide Dismutase Research: the Work of Irwin Fridovich (JBC Classics: Enzymology)". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 281 (22): e17. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(20)56010-9. Retrieved July 3, 2011.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Irwin Fridovich". Google Scholar. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  13. ^ Imlay JA (2011). "Redox pioneer: professor Irwin Fridovich". Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 14 (3): 335–40. doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3264. PMC 3026652. PMID 20518701.