It is with great sadness that we notify you of the death of Alberto Boveris, Emeritus Professor of the University of Buenos Aires. He died on March 27, 2020.

With more than 300 publications, Alberto Boveris' seminal work on the formation of oxyradicals derived from mitochondrial electron transport was recognized globally and established an important understanding of the mitochondrion-driven redox component in cell regulation and numerous pathophysiologies, ranging from cardiovascular disease to neurodegeneration to apoptosis.   

Professor Boveris was also intimately engaged in policy development at the University of Buenos Aires in his positions as Academic Secretary and Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. Alberto was a strong proponent of technology transfer from the University to government and industry.
We will remember Alberto as an enthusiastic friend and colleague, always devoted to scientific exploration and embracing numerous disciplines from the seminal work that he created.

Alberto was a strong supporter of the goals and mission of The Oxygen Club of California and until recently attended all meetings with enthusiasm and gusto. We will miss him.
Enrique Cadenas & John Maguire


It is with sadness that I have learned of the passing on March 28, 2020 of Professor Alberto Boveris. Over many years, our scientific paths have crossed and we became great friends.   
My first contact with Alberto was indirect. I had sent one of my students, Gerriet Loschen, to the Johnson Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania to work on the kinetics of glutathione peroxidase with the fancy stop flow equipment of Britton Chance. The enzyme, we prepared was unfortunately denatured due to a strike at Kennedy airport. Alberto, Britton Chance and Nozomu Oshino, were searching for H2O2, the substrate of catalase, in biological systems. Their preferred
detection method was the formation of compound I, a catalase intermediate. The method had worked in bacterial cultures (1) and in whole rat liver (2) but the subcellular sources of H2O2 remained unclear. In his hand luggage, Gerriet had brought along the reagents for the detection of minute amounts of H2O2, using the horseradish peroxidase/scopoletin method, and thereby could detect the production of H2O2 as a byproduct of the respiratory chain in mitochondria (3).  The
surprising finding was soon verified and extended by Alberto and colleagues (4-6).  

A German-Italian cooperation demonstrated that the mitochondrial H2O2 is synthesized by dismutation of the superoxide radical anion (7) and this was almost simultaneously reported by Alberto and others (8,9).  A lively debate about the molecular source of the mitochondrial superoxide dominated the rest of the decade. We favored the mechanism of autoxidation of a btypecytochrome, whereas Alberto
insisted on autoxidation of the ubiquinone system, and his view proved to be correct

I finally met Alberto in the early 1980s in Buenos Aires where he organized a UNESCO
training course for senior students along with the late Lars Ernster.  I still remember the wonderful meal we had at restaurant at the Plaza de Mayo. Many of the students at this training session now chair departments all over the southern hemisphere and beyond.  
Following this initial meeting Alberto and I met often, sometimes while on a business trip or to a SFRR or OCC meetings, we became very good friends.
I learned much from Alberto, in particular about an unusual Trypanosoma cruzi, which
produces H2O2 (11) but was devoid of catalase and glutathione peroxidase activity (12). I was not able to study this at the time but later my associates demonstrated that T. cruzi and its relatives handle hydroperoxides using a unique cascade of oxidoreductases that is only partially related to the mammalian systems (13).

The selection of Alberto’s earlier papers are biased by my own interests. Alberto worked in many other fields and he kept on working as a professor emeritus. In recent years, he focused on the role of the NO radical in mitochondria, oxidative brain damage and the pathology resulting from iron and copper exposure. With Alberto’s passing we have lost a brilliant scientist, an efficient organizer, an excellent teacher and a good friend, but his incisive and seminal science will survive.  

         Leopold Flohé
         Potsdam, April 1, 2020

1 B. Chance, Science 116, 202-203, 1952
2 H. Sies and B. Chance, FEBS Lett. 11, 172-1176, 1970
3 G. Loschen, L. Flohé, B. Chance, FEBS Lett. 18, 261-264, 1971
4 A. Boveris, N. Oshino, B. Chance, Biochem. J. 128, 617-630, 1972
5 A. Boveris and B. Chance, Biochem. J. 134, 707-716, 1973
6 A. Boveris, Acta Physiol. Lat. Am. 26, 303-309, 1976
7 G. Loschen, A. Azzi, C. Richter, L. Flohé, FEBS Lett. 42, 68-72, 1974
8 H. J. Forman and J. A. Kennedy, BBRC 60, 1044-1050, 1974
9 A. Boveris and E. Cadenas,  FEBS Lett. 54, 311-314, 1975
10 A. Boveris, E. Cadenas, A. O. M. Stoppani, Biochem. J.156, 435-444, 1976
11 A. Boveris  and A.O.M. Stoppani, Experientia 33, 1306-1308, 1977
12 A. Boveris, H. Sies, E. E. Martino, R. Docampo, J. F. Turrens, M. A. O. Stoppani, Biochem.
J. 188, 643-648, 1980.
13 L. Flohé, Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 302, 216-220, 2012

Oxygen Club of California

The Oxygen Club of California (OCC) is a non-profit scientific organization dedicated to enhancing education and promoting research in the field of oxidants, antioxidants, nutrition, micronutrients and free radicals in biology and medicine with the goal of promoting human health.


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