Marcel Baltazard (1908-1971)
French physician and biologist born on Feb. 13, 1908 in Verdun (Meuse, France). His father had an officer commission in the regular army. High school in Verdun.
1924 Pre-medical PCN certificate in Paris ; enrolled in medical training at the Medical School of Paris, determined to become a clinician.
1928-1933 A friend, C. Desportes, suggested him to join him in E. Brumpt 's laboratory of parasitology at the Medical School of Paris. There, became research assistant in 1931.
1932 On Dec. 6, G. Blanc, to whom E. Roux had entrusted the foundation of a Pasteur Institute in Morocco, assigned him the doctoral dissertation topic of the bilharziosis focus in Marrakech.
1932 (Dec.)-1933 (May) Returned to the laboratory of parasitology at the Medical School of Paris ; studied the Rocky Mountains spotted fever ; improved his microbiological practice in R. Legroux 's laboratory at the Institut Pasteur. Thesis defense for medical doctorate : "Contribution à l'étude de la bilharziose vésicale au Maroc" (Thesis Prize from the French Academy of medecine). Training in Ch. Nicolle 's laboratory at the Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunisia.
1933-1942 Joined G. Blanc at the Pasteur Institute of Casablanca, Morocco. Occupied the positions of researcher then head of laboratory from 1941. Was in charge of studies on the transmission of typhus, sodoku and recurrent fever diseases.
1935 Desportes Prize from the French Academy of medecine.
1937 With G. Blanc, worked out a new vaccine against typhus, from infected flea waste, which displayed an attenuated virulence in human.
1942-1945 During Second World War, at his request, served as a chief medical officer in the Moroccan Tabors-Goums' first group. Participated in the Italian, French, and German campaigns.
1945-1946 Returned to research in Morocco ; at R. Legroux's request, traveled to Iran for a temporary mission in order to prepare a new agreement with the Iranian government for the Pasteur Institute of Iran ; L. Pasteur Vallery-Radot, R. Legroux and A. Lacassagne served as signatories, on behalf of the Institut Pasteur.
1946-1961 Became Director of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran ; planed the scientific structures and architecture ; organized national campaigns of mass vaccination against small-pox and tuberculosis, with the support of WHO and UNICEF for the latter ; founded an agricultural centre for the social rehabilitation of leprous population ; collaborated with French, American and Soviet research Institutes.
1947 Studied a plague epidemic occuring in rural environment in Kurdistan, despite the total absence of rats on the high plateau. Researches pointed out the persistence of infection in these foci, in which the presence of rodents showing a high resistance to infection played a role ; concluded that the real plague reservoirs had to be searched no longer among the sensitive species eradicated by infection, but among the semi-resistant species which survive. To prove this theory, WHO set up a research program, to which the Pasteur Institute of Iran was associated.
1950-1957 Became member of the WHO expert committee on rabies. As such, he elaborated a testing program of a new antirabic serum purified and concentrated (called hyperimmun) and produced in the USA. These works allowed to lay down a new way of using antirabic serum.
1956 Member of the WHO expert committee on plague.
1954 Bellion Prize from the French Academy of Science.
1961-1966 Left the management of the Pasteur Institute of Iran to his Iranian colleague, M.Ghodssi, and remained his scientific adviser until 1966.
1961 Elected corresponding member of the French Academy of Medecine.
1966 Returned to the Institut Pasteur of Paris, neither offices nor equipment were available for his use during two years ; from Paris, he kept contributing to research undertaken by his Iranian collaborators associated to WHO ; remained in contact with Russian and American searchers.
1968 Became departmental head of the new medical service on epidemiology of transmittable diseases devoted to both research and teaching. Continued to conduct research previously set up in Brazil, Peru, Burma, Mauritania, with the prospect of starting new programs in other countries.
1970 Organization of a course in epidemiology opened to new subjects such as computing, which completed the renown microbiology course (cours de microbiologie) of the Institut Pasteur.
1971 Died on sept. 1 in Paris.
Collaborators : P. Aslani, P. Atanasiu, M. Bahmanyar, J. K. Bhatnagar, G. Blanc, A. Boué, E.-R. Brygoo, W. Burgdorfer, A. Chabaud, M. Chamsa, D. H. S. Davis, R. Devignat, A. Dodin, M. Eftékhari, M. Fathi, J. P. Fox, C. Gajdusek, M. Ghodssi, G. Girard, M. A. Gohar, K. Habel, A. Habibi, M. M. Kaplan, Y. Karimi, L. Kartman, R. E. Kissling, A. Komarov, H. Koprowski, P. Lépine, L.A. Martin, K. F. Meyer, A. Minou, C. Mofidi, H. H. Mollaret, P. Mostachfi, R. Neel, M. T. Parker, F. Perez-Gallardo, R. Pollitzer, R. Pournaki, F. M. Prince, S. F. Quan, E. Rouzbehi, A. Sabeti, C. Safavi, M. Schaeffer.
Biographical reference tools :
- Baltazard (Marcel), Titres et travaux scientifiques, 19 p. dact. polycop., 1966.
- Levaditi (Jean), Vieuchange (Jean), "Marcel Baltazard et les Instituts Pasteur de Paris et de Casablanca", Bulletin de la Société de pathologie exotique, t. 65, n° 2, 1972, pp. 189-194.
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