Jean Rivier (1941-2019), In Memoriam

Jean Rivier

The European Peptide Society mourns the passing of Prof. Jean Rivier, a pioneer of peptide research and a dear friend over many years. Jean was a world-class scientist who made fundamental contributions to our field of peptides, as well as a gracious, congenial individual who had significant impact on the careers of many colleagues, including quite a few Europeans. During his peak period of activity Jean was a frequent presence in European peptide-related events, including many European Peptide Symposia where his European roots made him naturally feel quite at home.

Jean was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1941, then went to Brazil with his family in 1956, where he obtained the French baccalauréat. He then moved to Switzerland in 1960, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Université de Lausanne. Jean went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University in Houston, Texas, before joining the Salk Institute in 1970 with his wife, Catherine.

As a professor at the Salk Institute’s Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, Jean spent his career studying corticotropin-releasing factors (CRFs). He showed that CRFs are responsible for many of the body’s reactions to stress, including disabling the immune system in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). To develop treatments for these conditions, he designed CRF receptor-selective antagonists. His work resulted in eight drugs used to diagnose and treat endometriosis, precocious puberty, neuroendocrine tumors, prostate cancer, hypogonadism, pituitary dwarfism and intractable pain. Among his many accomplishments, he was author or coauthor on more than 1,000 refereed papers and the coinventor on more than 120 patents.

On behalf of the European Peptide Society, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Catherine Rivier, a Salk professor emerita, and their children, Lauraine Rivier and Cédric Rivier.

Contributed by David Andreu