Lester Packer 1929-2018

Lester Packer, August 28, 1929–July 27, 2018, following a rapid decline in his health, died peacefully at his home in Orinda, CA with his wife Anne, attending to him. His family including his children David, Anna Beth and Michael and grandchildren Sammy, Gretchen and Ella will all miss him immensely.

Born and raised in the Bronx in NY, he earned his Ph.D. from Yale University studying bacterial hydrogenases. Subsequently, he did postdoctoral studies on mitochondria, enzymology, and biological oxidations at the Johnson Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania and began his academic career at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
In the early 1960s, Lester moved to the University of California, Berkeley where he became a professor of Physiology-Anatomy and later of Molecular and Cell Biology.

He published over 700 papers spanning a vast range of biological research. His early research focused on electron transport in enzymes and mitochondria and this led to studies on oxidants, oxidative stress, and the cellular adaptive responses associate with such stresses. The relationships between a myriad of pathologies and errant oxidant production and inadequate antioxidant protection led to his well-known
research on antioxidants both vitamins and natural food supplements designed to enhance human health. Professor Packer was the author of many books, editor of the series Oxidative Stress and Disease, served on numerous editorial boards, and is often best known as the organizer of dozens of international meetings where he fostered the interactions between senior scientists and students. Professor Packer developed the Antioxidant Network, a concept that engaged many institutions and
colleagues all over the world and that materialized as conferences with a focus on redox biology.

His intellect was complimented by boundless energy, unrelenting enthusiasm, and superb mentoring of a generation of scientists to study cellular redox processes inherent in health and disease. His extensive travels took him to all over the world and wherever he went he made new friends throughout his life. He was an avid and competitive sailor and he knew the value of exercise in maintaining our “health span” well before this was common knowledge. He will be thoroughly missed by his
family, friends, colleagues, and students.

The Family requests that in his memory you may make a contribution to The Oxygen Club of California, a California non-profit started by Professor Packer in 1994, and is now a prominent promoter of education and research into oxidants in medicine and biology.

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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