In 1947 a search for a synthetic substitute for curare (a muscle relaxant) led to his discovery of gallamine and other muscle relaxants. Among these are derivatives of succinylcholine, whose curare-like action he was the first to recognize. Curare and its synthetic substitutes came into use in conjunction with light anesthesia during surgery to induce muscle relaxation.
In 1947 Bovet was invited to establish a laboratory of chemotherapeutics
at the Superior Institute of Health in Rome, and eventually he took
Italian citizenship. In 1964 he became professor of pharmacology at
the University of Sassari, Italy. He served as the head of the psychobiology
and psychopharmacology laboratory of the National Research Council (Rome)
from 1969 until 1971, when he became professor of psychobiology at the
University of Rome (1971-82).
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