Irwin Fridovich
Irwin Fridovich is an American biochemist who, together with his graduate student Joe M. McCord
Joe M. McCord
Joe Milton McCord is an American biochemist and current Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is most famous for his discovery, along with Irwin Fridovich, of the enzyme superoxide dismutase. For this work, Dr. McCord has earned numerous awards and recognition...

, discovered the enzyme superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutases are a class of enzymes that catalyze the dismutation of superoxide into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. As such, they are an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen...

 (SOD). He is currently Professor emeritus of Biochemistry at Duke University. Superoxide dismutase is a central enzyme for the detoxification of harmful oxygen free radicals (superoxide
A superoxide, also known by the obsolete name hyperoxide, is a compound that possesses the superoxide anion with the chemical formula O2−. The systematic name of the anion is dioxide. It is important as the product of the one-electron reduction of dioxygen O2, which occurs widely in nature...

) formed by the metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 of organisms. Following the discovery of SOD1, Fridovich also discovered mitochondrial MnSOD (SOD2
Superoxide dismutase 2, mitochondrial, also known as SOD2, is an enzyme which in humans is encoded by the SOD2 gene.- Function :This gene is a member of the iron/manganese superoxide dismutase family. It encodes a mitochondrial matrix protein that forms a homotetramer and binds one manganese ion...

, now known to be an essential mammalian protein) and spent the rest of his career studying the biochemical mechanisms of biological superoxide toxicity, using bacteria as model systems.

Fridovich received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...



  • City College of New York (1951). BS. Major: Chemistry, Minor: Biology
  • Cornell Medical College (1951–1952). Department of Medicine - Research Associate
  • Duke University (1955). PhD. Department of Biochemistry

Positions Held

  • Duke University - Instructor in Biochemistry, (1956–58)
  • Duke University - Associate in Biochemistry, (1958–61)
  • Harvard University - Visiting Research Associate, (1961–62)
  • Duke University - Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, (1961–66)
  • Duke University - Director of Graduate Studies in Biochemistry (1965–67, 1990–92)
  • Duke University - Associate Professor of Biochemistry, (1966–71)
  • Duke University - Associate Director of Medical Scientist Training Program, (1968–72)
  • Duke University - Professor of Biochemistry, (1971–76)
  • Duke University - James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry, (1976–96)
  • Duke University - James B. Duke Prof Emeritus (1996–present)

Editorial Boards, Panels

  • National Institutes of Health - Member of Biochemistry StudySection, (1967–71)
  • National Board of Medical Examiners - Member (1973–76)
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry - Editorial Board, (1971–1976, 1979–1984)
  • Life Sciences - Editorial Board, (1975–79)
  • Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics - Editorial Board, (1974–90)
  • Analytical Biochemistry - Editorial Board, (1984–present)
  • Free Radical Biology and Medicine - Editorial Board, (1984–present)
  • Biochemistry - Editorial Board, (1986–present)
  • The Biochemical Journal - Editorial Board, (1992–1994)
  • Advisory Committee on Biochemistry and Chemical Carcinogenesis, American Cancer Society, (1980–84)
  • President, American Society of Biological Chemists, (1982–83)
  • President, The Oxygen Society, (1987–1990)
  • President, The Society for Free Radical Research, (1992–94)


  • Predoctoral Research Fellowship, NIH - August, (1954–1955)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, NIH - August, (1955–1956)
  • Research Career Development Award, NIH - Jan, (1959–1969)
  • Herty Award, Georgia Section, American Chem Society, (1980)
  • Founders' Award for Outstanding Research Contributions to Progress in Toxicology, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, (1980)
  • Cressy A. Morrison Award in Science, New York Academy of Science, (1984)
  • North Carolina Award in Science, (1986)
  • Senior Passano Foundation Laureate, (1987)
  • Townsend Harris Medal,City College of New York, (1990)
  • Elliott Cresson Medal
    Elliott Cresson Medal
    The Elliott Cresson Medal, also known as the Elliott Cresson Gold Medal, was the highest award given by the Franklin Institute. The award was established by Elliott Cresson, life member of the Franklin Institute, with $1,000 granted in 1848...

    , Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, (1997)
  • City of Medicine Award. Durham, North Carolina, (1998)
  • Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award. Duke University, (1998)
  • Science & Humanity Prize - 2000 Oxygen Club World Congress, (2000)


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