Antonina Guelin (1904-1988)
Russian-born French physician and biologist, born on June 19, 1904 in St. Petersburg (Russia). Her maiden name was Chtchedrina (Shedrina). Her father served as an officer and her mother came from an aristocratic family.
1921-1927 Enrollment in medical training at the Medical School of Moscow.
1927 Thesis defense for medical doctorate.
1927-1929 Residency in gynaecology at Moscow University Hospital, where she conducted research on the effect of competitive sport on the female genital apparatus and on the consequences of induced abortion for women.
1928 Married Marcel Guelin, who was a scientific illustrator, with whom she had two children, Tatiana and Michel.
1929-1931 As a research assistant, entered the Institute of experimental morphogenesis in Moscow, where she conducted research on the chick embryo, under Vera Dantchakoff.
1931 Conducted research in endocrinology, under A. Rouminatzev, at the Institute of cytology in Moscow.
1931 Left the USSR and traveled to France, Paris.
1931-1934 Entered the Collège de France at the comparative embryology laboratory, under E. Fauré-Fremiet, where she continued research on the chick embryo.
1934-1941 Entered the Institut Pasteur, as a lab assistant, at the anaerobe laboratory, under M. Weinberg, where she conducted research on gelatinase produced by different species of anaerobic bacteria ; developped a rapid method for isolating intestinal anaerobic bacteria in a bile-containing medium.
1941 Appointed as research assistant to conduct research on bacteriophages in water environments, at the CNRS center of hydrobiology.
1941-1943 Appointed as research assistant at the bacteriophage laboratory, under Eug. Wollman, in the Institut Pasteur, where she conducted research on the potential of bacteriophages for application in water treatment.
1944-1969 After Professor Wollman died in a concentration camp, P. Nicolle succeeded him at the head of the bacteriophage laboratory ; A. Guelin continued research on bacteriophages in water environments and developped a method using bacteriophages as indicators of water quality ; research on phages of Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium histolyticum under anaerobic conditions ; research on the radioactive phosphorus fixation by bacterial cultures, on fishes living in polluted water environments ; research on the potential of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and marine microvibrios for decontaminating fresh water and sea water, respectively.
1945 Prize-winner from the French Academy of Medicine for her work on phages in water environments ; became a member of the association of French-speaking microbiologists ; became a naturalized French citizen ; spent several summers at Banyuls-sur-Mer, where she used to work at the Arago laboratory, in the marine biological station.
1948 Appointed as assistant in the Institut Pasteur's practical course.
1950 Traveled to London at her own expense and worked at the W.J. Elford's laboratory (National Institute for Medical Research), in order to specialize in bacteriophage research under anaerobic conditions ; as such, was to gain international recognition.
1952 Traveled to London once again for continuing research on water treatment and healthcare (laboratory of J.E. Hotchin and C.E. Challice, who succeeded W.J. Elford in the National Institute for Medical Research ; water pollution research laboratory under Allen ; Klienerberger's laboratory in the Lister Institute ; laboratory of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom).
1956-1965 With P. Lépine, investigated various factors determining the fixation of phage by sensitive bacteria, using radioactive isotopes.
1962 Appointed as research assistant "hors classe", at the Institut Pasteur.
1966 A. Guelin's work about Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and its water self-purifying properties generated interest among the Soviet scientific community, particularly : she was invited as guest lecturer to several cities in the USSR.
1969 Participated in a six-week long scientific mission to the USSR (White Sea Biological Station ; Central Research Public Health Institute, Moscow ; Biological Center, Poutchino) ; contributed to the creation of a mobile field station for decontaminating polluted water using Bdellovibrio, under the auspices of both the Institut Pasteur and the USSR Academy of Sciences ; attended the Fourth International Meeting of Oceanography in Naples, where she reported the results that she had obtained in the USSR ; appointed as head of laboratory at the Institut Pasteur.
1970-1988 Although retired from the Institut Pasteur, the CNRS equipped a laboratory for her use at the marine biological station in Roscoff, where she continued research on the presence of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus in sea water, with Louis Cabioch.
1988 On Dec.17, while she was about to travel to the Land of Fire archipelago for a scientific mission, she died of stroke complications.
Collaborators : L.V. Andreev, H. Beerens, M.A. Bobyk, I. Bychovskaja, L. Cabioch, P. Camus, C. E. Challice, C. Dauguet, V. Dantchakoff, P. Dantu, W. Elford, C. Finance, S.A. Goulevskaja, J. E. Hotchin, A. Kreger, D. Lamblin, J. Le Bris, A. Ledova, J. Lefort, P. Lépine, C. Levaditi, Y. Lombard, P.L. Maillet, I.E. Michoustina, J. Pelmont, N.V. Petchnikoff, A. Petitprez, P. Poindron, E. Pozerski, R.-O. Prudhomme, M. Reinbold, M. Rizet, M. Rouyer, L. Schwartbrod, J. Sisman, P. Souchu, A. Vaisman, J. F. Vieu, R. Wahl, M. Weinberg.
Biographical reference tools :
- Folder A. Guelin (Archives Institut Pasteur, TRE.DS.50)
Service des Archives de l'Institut Pasteur