What is Free Radical Biology?

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Free radical biology is the study of the interaction of free radicals within biological material. Free radicals are atoms or molecules with at least one unpaired electron. Free radical biology is closely related to radiation biology since 70-80% of the effect of radiation on cells is due to the production of free radicals. The study of free radicals has become of extreme interest because of the role of free radicals in a large number of diseases and pathological states. As examples, cancer, aging, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and Lou Gehrig's disease all have a free radical component to their mechanism of debilitation. The use of free radical modulators in the prevention and treatment of these diseases is under close investigation at this time including clinical trials.
Research in free radical biology is interdisciplinary. Research ranges from studies of the fundamental chemistry of free radical reactions, to antioxidant enzymes (their biophysics, biochemistry, biology and molecular biology), to free radical pathology, to even epidemiological studies. It is a broad area of research with many opportunities.
The Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine (formerly the Oxygen Society) was launched in 1987 to provide a forum for interdisciplinary discussion on free radical processes. Because it is now realized that free radicals are involved in many health issues there are literally thousands of scientists worldwide involved in free radical research. These scientists have formed a union, The Society for Free Radical Research International (SFRRI), to aid in the dissemination of information on free radicals in biology and medicine. 

The Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine (SFRBM) is a constituent member of SFRRI for the Americas having over 1400 members. The SFRBM sponsors annual meetings and the scientific journal, Free Radical Biology and Medicine. More details on the Society, the Journal, and the annual meeting can be found on the SFRBM Home Page.