In Memoriam - Professor Huib Ovaa

With tremendous sadness, we have recently received news that our colleague Huib Ovaa has passed away.  We certainly remember the last time we met and the last words we exchanged. He always participated in our meetings with a very positive and constructive attitude, ready to develop new ideas and to face new challenges together. Those of us who had the opportunity to work together with Huib know that he was always willing to share his knowledge and the incredible tools that he was creating, helping our community to go beyond the current border of knowledge. Pushing concepts beyond the limit was exciting, and even more admirable was his enthusiasm to collaborate. With this aim, Huib integrated with various European networks, including COST-PROTEOSTASIS and the ITN-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions UPStream, UbiCODE and TRIM-NET.

Huib was best-known in our international scientific community for the development and useful contribution of new technologies, approaches and chemical tools to explore the biology of protein modification by members of the ubiquitin family. These tools were full of creativity and contributed to understand the role of substrates, enzymes and cofactors in regulation of these PTMs. His approach exemplified the use of organic chemistry to explore biological relevant questions such as the mechanisms that regulate the enzymes behind conjugation/deconjugation of ubiquitin or proteasome activity. In this way, researchers in the field were able to detect or measure activities that were until then very difficult to evaluate or simply impossible to explore. A major goal for Huib was to drive the acquisition of new knowledge that could be used to tackle difficult diseases such as cancer, immune or neurodegenerative disorders. All of his tools, technologies and approaches that are important to take crucial decisions in our field, will be part of his legacy.

We lost an amazing scientist, a colleague, a friend. He will be remembered for his spirit, intelligence, scientific rigor and accomplishments.

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