How I see the future of redox research

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by Henry Jay Forman

With this issue, we start a series of short texts about the theme “How I see the future of redox research”. The radical-free corner was really radical in this regard and invited several prominent colleagues from Brazil and abroad. These comments are meant to be highly personal accounts, by known experts, of the directions they foresee redox research. We are sure these short insertions will kick on our minds to help our thinking.

And we started in great style, with no one less than Prof. Henry Jay Forman, a long-standing investigator of the area. Prof. Forman is the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Merced, and the former President of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine.


Henry Jay FormanBased on nearly a half century investigating redox biochemistry, I have observed repeatedly how trendy approaches have affected progress. Some still think “omics” are the what we should all be focused upon to generate hypotheses; however, now “omics” are just tools for those who have an actual hypothesis. I see a great future for mitochondrial biology, which was once the “thing,” fade (I was told that my discovery of dihydroorotate driven superoxide production was “an uninteresting artifact”), and then return when new techniques allowed greater insight. But, the greatest advances will be made in understanding how redox signaling works in both normal and pathophysiology. It is likely that pathophysiology associated with aging involves greater inflammatory signaling responses partially due to decreased signaling that increases antioxidant defenses. This, rather than some kind of “redox signaling gone wild” may even have something to do with the aging process per se. While I don’t have a pet theory of aging, I think the speculation of others is fun to watch, as it is an area we must pursue as the population itself ages.

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