Daniel Bovet (1907-1992)
Swiss-born Italian chemist, born on Mar. 23, 1907 in Neuchčtel (Switzerland). His father Pierre Bovet was a psychologist and a professor of pedagogy at the University of Geneva and the founder of the Institut J.-J. Rousseau, in Geneva. Descendant of pastor Jean Monod (1765-1836). He had a relationship with J. Monod.
1927 Graduated with a "licence" degree in biology, from the University of Geneva.
1928 Became Battelli's assistant in the laboratory of physiology, at the University of Geneva.
1929 Became Guyenot's assistant in the laboratory of zoology, at the University of Geneva.
1929 As an assistant, entered E. Fourneau 's laboratory of therapeutic chemistry, at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. At E. Fourneau's request, created a laboratory of pharmacology, which was joined by L. Demanche, A. Simon-Cardin, A.-M. Staub, F. Nitti, F. Depierre and G. Montezin.
1929-1942 Had consulting agreements with the Rh"ne-Poulenc company chemistry, at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. At E. Fourneau's request, created a laboratory of pharmacology, which was joined by L. Demanche, A. Simon-Cardin, A.-M. Staub, F. Nitti, F. Depierre and G. Montezin.
1930 Thesis defense for PhD, about the influence of the nervous system on organ regulation : "Les territoires de r'g'n'ration, leurs propri't's 'tudi'es, par la m'thode des d'viations des nerfs".
1931-1933 Within Fourneau's group, conducted research on chemotherapy against malaria, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness.
1933 Demonstrated the adrenolytic (or sympatholytic) activity of benzodian derivatives, which molecules were synthesized in the laboratory of therapeutic chemistry at the Institut Pasteur. Until then, such properties had only been described in naturally occurring substances. Those derivatives revealed to be crucial pharmacological tools for studying the pharmacology of the sympathetic nervous system.
1935 Under E. Fourneau's direction and in collaboration with J. Tr'fou%l, Th. Tr'fou%l and F. Nitti, discovered that para-amino-phenyl-sulfamide is a bacteriostatic agent (which inhibits growth and reproduction of bacterias) and studied its therapeutic potential in treatments of streptococcal and pneumococcal infections, as well as gonorrhea. Over the next several years, Bovet and his associates went on to synthesize many other sulfanilamide derivatives that together formed the group of sulfa drugs that were to save millions of lives during Second World War and afterward.
1936 Obtained the Martin-Damourette prize from the French Academy of Sciences ; other prize obtained from the Academy : G'n'ral Muteau (1941).
1937 In collaboration with his assistant A.-M. Staub, discovered, for the first time, selective antagonists of histamine, which was known to play a key role in the allergic response. This work formed the basis for the development of subsequent clinically useful antihistamines. Later, Bovet conducted research on Neoantergan, which effectively counteracted the histamine reaction and is still used in the treatment of allergies.
1939 Married Filomena Nitti (F. Bovet-Nitti), who was the sister of his colleague Federico Nitti, with whom he had two daughters and one son. She was closely and continuously associated with Bovet's research.
1939-1942 During Second World War, succeeded E. Fourneau at the head of the laboratory of therapeutic chemistry, at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
1942-1947 Worked at the department of pharmacological research of the Rh"ne-Poulenc company.
1946 Obtained the cross of "Chevalier de la L'gion d'honneur".
1946 Described the selective curare-like properties of 2559 F (Flaxedil), prepared by Y. de Lestrange at the Institut Pasteur. Worked to develop synthetic substitute for curare, which had valuable potential as a muscle relaxant in surgery, allowing lower doses od anaesthesia. Contributed to advance in anaesthesiology.
1947 Became an Italian citizen.
1947-1967 Had consulting agreements with the Rh"ne-Poulenc company.
1947-1964 Accepted the invitation of Domenico Marotta (director of the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome) to go to Italy and organize a laboratory of therapeutic chemistry, with the Institut Pasteur's agreement ; then became head of the laboratory of therapeutic chemistry of the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome ; continued research on pharmacology : study of new synthetic curare and curare-like compounds (including short-acting succinylcholine, which came into wide surgical use) ; study of new sympatholytic agents ; investigations into the interaction between chemicals and the brain, hoping to clarify the causes of mental illness.
1949 Elected member of the Accademia nazionale dei XL.
1955 Became member of the Accademia Medica di Roma.
1957 He was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, for his discoveries relating to "synthetic compounds for the blocking of the effects of certain substances occurring in the body, especially in its blood vessels and skeletal muscles".
1958 Entered the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (physiology section).
1959 Honorary chairman of the French Society of Psychopharmacology ; became a member of the WHO's Advisory Committee on Health Research (World Health Organization).
1961 Member of the Italian delegation to the WHO's General Assembly, held in New Delhi (India).
1963 At the Director-General of FAO's request, made a speech on the "role of sciences", at the World Food Congress of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).
1964 Elected as a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences.
1964-1971 Became a professor of pharmacology at the University of Sassari Medical School in Sardinia (Italy).
1969 Named head of the new psychobiology and psychopharmacology laboratory of the National Research Council in Rome.
1971 Named professor of psychobiology at the University of Rome.
1982 Retired, reaching age 75, when the appointment was turned into an honorary professorship.
1992 Died in Rome, on April 8, 1992.
Collaborators : R. Altman, J. Bablet, Z.M. Bacq, N. Beaugeard, G. Benoit, J.R. Billeter, P. Boquet, G. Boudin, F. Bovet-Nitti, E. Brumpt, L. Brumpt, S. Chantalou, P. Charpentier, S. Chiavarelli, F. Courrier, S. Courvoisier, P. Decourt, L. Demanche, F. Depierre, L. D'roubert, P. Droguet, P. Dubost, R. Ducrot, J. Druey, E. Fourneau, J.-P. Fourneau, J. Fournel, R. Fusco, A. Funke, H. Griffon, S. Guarino, V. Hamon, C. Henry, H. Hinglais, A. Holtzer, R. Horclois, R. Jacob, L. Jeantet, F. Joliot-Curie, Justin-Besan+on, A. Kling, P. Koetschet, D. Kohler, R. Le Breton, R. Legroux, C. Lehoult, J. Lenoir, Y. de Lestrange, J. Levaditi, M. Levinson, G. Longo, A. Lwoff, M. Lwoff, P. Maderini, Marini-Bettolo, M. Marotta, G. Mauric, P. Meunier, J. Monod, G. Mont'zin, F. Nitti, M. Palazzoli, J.L. Parrot, L. Pasteur Vallery-Radot, M. Perrault, M. Philippe, G. Poumeau-Delille, I. Ruiz, D. Santenoise, Schiff-Wertheimer, J. Schneider, A. Simon, J. Sigwald, A.M. Staub, J. Sterne, J. Strickler, P. S_e, J. Tr'fou%l, Th. Tr'fou%l, G. Ungar, P. Viaud, F. Walthert.
Biographical reference tools :
- Bovet (Daniel), "Daniele Bovet", Accademia Nazionale Dei XL, Rome, 1953, ext., pp. 249-267.
- Bovet (Daniel), Notizie sull'operosit. scientifica e elenco delle pubblicazioni, Rome, Edit. Italia, 76 p., 1963.
- Quirke (Viviane), Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical Insdustry - Changing Relationships in Britain and France, 1935-1965, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, New York, 365 p.
- Tr'fou%l (Jacques), "Bovet", texte dac., 2 p. (Archives Pasteur, TRE.DS.13).
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