Introducing history’s greatest cellular scientists

Take a look back in history at the scientific breakthroughs that led us here.


If you’ve noticed a positive shift in your life since taking MitoQ, we can’t take all the credit. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, “If (we) have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. Over 150 years of scientific discoveries led us to the development of the MitoQ molecule. If it weren’t for the research carried out by incredible scientists like Robert Hooke, Emmett Chappelle and Lynn Margulis – it's possible we wouldn’t have had the background knowledge needed to create our advanced cellular health technology. In recognition of the scientists that helped us get where we are today, we wanted to take a look back in history at the scientific breakthroughs that led us here.

Robert Hooke (1635 - 1703)

early painting of a cellular scientist. Image: Rita Greer, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons
Image: Rita Greer, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons

Robert Hooke is one of history’s most famous scientists. He explored many areas of scientific discovery and was the first person to discover the cell. While looking through a microscope at some bark from a cork tree, Hooke noticed shapes that made him think of cells (rooms) within monasteries. Because of these shapes, he decided to call his discovery “cells”. It was the starting point of what later developed into cell theory.

Denham Harman (1916 – 2014)

Denham Harman
Image: Courtesy of University of Nebraska Medical Center

Denham Harman was an American scientist who served as a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre for 52 years. The six-time Nobel Prize-nominated scientist is famous for coming up with the Free Radical Theory of Aging in 1954. In this theory, Harman proposed that free radicals damage cells and that, in doing so, cause the body to age. Taking his work a step further, he conducted significant initial research into the role that antioxidants play in reducing free radical damage.

Philip Siekevitz (1918 – 2009)

Philip Siekevitz
Image: Philip Siekevitz, 1992. Photo by Robert Reichert. Courtesy of The Rockefeller University.

Cellular biologist Phillip Siekevitz gave a lot to cellular science. The American scientist and Rockefeller University professor developed new cellular fraction techniques which allowed him to then discover that mitochondria (your cellular batteries) supply energy for protein synthesis (a process where new proteins are generated within cells). In one of Siekevitz’s articles, published in the journal Scientific American, he extends on this research by writing: “it appears the mitochondria supply the cell with most of its usable energy; they have been called the powerhouses of the cell. A cell without mitochondria is regarded as a biological curiosity, a ship without an engine.”

Emmett Chappelle (1925 – 2019)

Emmett Chappelle
Image: NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Emmett Chappelle was a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center research scientist. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in recognition of his work which “changed society and improve(d) the way we live”. As a biochemist, one of Chappelle’s most significant contributions to cellular science was his discovery of bioluminescence in living organisms. Inspired by the light made by fireflies, Chappelle combined chemicals and used them to detect living cells by making them light up. This work contributed to advancements in multiple areas of science, including health and agriculture.

Lynn Margulis (1938 – 2011)

Lynn Margulis
Image: Jpedreira, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons

Award-winning biologist Lynn Margulis made significant contributions to cellular science. Much of her work was focused on cellular evolution, which she thoroughly outlines in her book: Origin of Eukaryotic Cells. In 1967, her theory surrounding cellular evolution was published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. In it, she discusses the significant roles that bacteria, eukaryotic cells and mitochondria have played in human evolution. While it was controversial at the time, respected evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr (1904 – 2005) has since said, “The evolution of the eukaryotic cells was the single most important event in the history of the organic world... Margulis’s contribution to our understanding the symbiotic factors was of enormous importance.”

Mike Murphy & Robin Smith

Mike Murphy & Robin Smith

That brings us to Professor of Mitochondrial Redox Biology Mike Murphy and Biochemist Robin Smith – the scientists behind MitoQ. Continuing on from Denham Harman’s pioneering research, and drawing on 150 years of scientific discoveries, Murphy and Smith worked together during the 90s at the University of Otago in New Zealand to figure out why certain antioxidant supplements – especially CoQ10 - weren’t effectively combating free radical cell damage. They discovered standard CoQ10 supplements can’t get inside mitochondria in impactful amounts - meaning there wasn't a way to adequately give cells ongoing support against free radical damage. This meant, as humans, we didn’t have an effective way to fight cell stress during the onset of aging. So, Murphy and Smith created a molecule that could get into mitochondria and combat cell stress. And MitoQ was born.

Fast-forward a few decades and there are still new discoveries being made about the benefits of MitoQ by both independent scientists and in our own clinical trials. There have been more than 600 independent, peer-reviewed papers published globally and eleven clinical trials to date – with another 21 studies currently in progress. As a company with science and innovation in our roots - we feel humbled to be furthering research in the field of cellular health and thankful for the work of these iconic scientists throughout history, who were monumental in shaping what we know today.

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