Francesco Redi (1626-1697) was born in Arezzo, Italy, studied at the University of Pisa, and became court physician to the Medicis in Tuscany. He is generally considered one of the foremost scientists of his time and contributed to science and the arts in a number of areas, including a treatise on venomous snakes, “Osservazioni intorno alle vipere”, published in 1664. Through this latter work and other contributions he is considered one of the most important founders of the study of toxinology.

Amongst his observations on vipers, all essentially new at that time and contrary to then-held beliefs, were that the effects of a viper bite (in Italy) applied to all animals, with smaller animals more readily killed, that dose of venom and route and place of injection were important, that non-fatal bites could be expected to recover after a period of illness, that venom ingested orally was not harmful, and most importantly, that venom was the yellow liquid expelled from the fangs.

More detail on the life and contributions of Francisco Redi may be found elsewhere, with a good starting point being Prof. Gerhard Habermehl’s paper, “HISTORICAL REVIEW FRANCESCO REDI – LIFE AND WORK”, published in Toxicon 1994, 32(4):411-417.

Title page for Francesco Redi's publication "Observazioni Intorno Alle Vipere"
Title page for Francesco Redi’s publication “Observazioni Intorno Alle Vipere” Original 1664 version (published in Firenze/Florence) and 1687 version (published in Napoli/Naples)

In 1967 the IST established an award for the recognition of toxinology scientists or clinicians who have made outstanding contributions to the field of toxinology. This award is made at each World Congress of the IST and is the highest award bestowed by the Society. The determination of who should be considered for the Redi Award is made by a select committee chaired by the Editor of Toxicon and is only announced at the World Congress, immediately prior to inviting the new awardee to present a lecture, the Redi Lecture, to the Congress, on a topic of the awardee’s choosing.

Past Redi Award Recipients:

2017 Michel Lazdunski (France)
2017 Dietrich Mebs (Germany)
2015 Jose Maria Gutierrez (Costa Rica)
2012 David A Warrell (UK)
2009  Cesare Montecucco (Italy)
2006 Lourival Possani (Mexico)
2003 Baldomero Olivera (USA)
2000  Andre Menez (France)
2000 Alan Harvey (UK)
1997  Evert Karlsson (Sweden)
1994 Elazar Kochva (Israel)
1991 Ernst Habermann (Germany)
1988 Paul A Christensen (South Africa)
1985 Sherman A Minton (USA)
1982  Philip Rosenberg (USA)
1982 Nobuo Tamiya (Japan)
1979  Hugh Alistair Reid (UK)
1976 Chen-Yaun Lee (Taiwan)
1974 André de Vries (South Africa)
1970 Paul Boquet (France)
1967 Findlay E.Russell (USA)