André Lwoff (1902-1994)
French physician and biologist, born on May 8, 1902 in Ainay-le-Château (Allier). His father, born in Russia, was a chief physician in psychiatric hospitals of the Seine ; his mother, also born in Russia, was a painter and a sculptor.
1920 Enrollment in medical training at the Medical School of Paris and at the Sorbonne University ; attended an histology work course in Ed. Perrier's laborator y, at the Museum d'histoire naturelle in Paris ; summer training at the marine b iological Station in Roscoff, where he attended F. Vlès's lectures.
1921 Returned to the Marine Biological Station in Roscoff, where he collaborated with his master, Ed. Chatton, on protozoology research ; they worked on the morphology and morphogenesis of a large number of ciliates and found out new me mbers of the group. This collaboration continued to the end of E. Chatton's life, in 1947. His major contribution to the knowledge of these microorganisms was the description of a ciliate which has a single sort of nucleus (prokaryotic).
1921-1938 As a grant-holder, entered the Institut Pasteur of Paris, in Felix Mesnil's laboratory where he devoted his work to the nutrition of ciliates and to t he microbial nutrition.
1923 Succeeded in obtaining the first pure culture of ciliates in liquid synthet ic media.
1925 Became research assistant in the laboratory of protistology at the Institut Pasteur.
1927 Medical Doctorate.
1927-1928 Military service.
1928 Obtained the Lallemant prize from the French Academy of Sciences ; prizes obtained successively from the Academy : Noury (1932), Longchamp (1934), Chaussier (1943), Petit d'Ormoy (1956), Ch. Leopold Mayer (1964).
1929 Appointed as head of laboratory at the Institut Pasteur. Became member of the Society of Exotic Pathology (SPE).
1932 Thesis defense for DS : "Recherche biochimique sur la nutrition des protozo aires" ; from the study of the nutritional requirements of some protists, he sho wed that growth factors requirements could be interpreted as a loss of some bios ynthetic functions, as an evolutionary consequence of adaptation to parasitism. Became active member of the French Society of biology ( Société de biologie ).
1932-1933 As a Rockefeller foundation's grant-holder, entered O. Meyerhof's labo ratory in Heidelberg, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Medizinische Forschung. He learnt methods for studying cellular metabolism.
1936 Traveled to Cambridge at the Molteno Institute, in D. Keilin's laboratory, for studying cellular biochemistry, as a Rockefeller Foundation's grant-holder.
1936 Attended the renown microbiology course (cours de microbiologie) at the Institut Pasteur of Paris.
1938 Nominated as head of the microbial physiology laboratory ("Service de Physiologie Microbienne") equipped for his use in the attic of the E. Duclaux building, at the Institut Pasteur ; continued to conduct research on growth factors and viral virulence factors. He played a leading part in the recognition of the role and structure of vitamins in cellular metabolism, which led to the basic concept of the structure/function relationships existing in all living beings ; another major discovery was the finding that the bacteriophage can become a genetic component of the host bacteria.
1939-1940 During Second World War, served as a medical lieutenant, then medical captain, in the laboratory of the Second Army.
1942-1944 Back to the Institut Pasteur, he joined the Resistance in the Cohors-Asturies and Shellbum networks.
1943 Obtained Barbier prize from the French Academy of Medicine.
1947 Named "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur".
1950 Received F. Jacob in his laboratory.
1954-1955 Traveled to the USA, at the request of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. With the support of the foundation, returned to France and commenced working on poliovirus reproduction, which led him to important accomplishments such as the characterization of the thermosensitive step and identification of "reproduction temperature" mutants ; these experiments revealed the role of hyperthermia and inflammatory reaction in the process of viral infection.
1959-1968 Appointed as Professor of microbiology at the Faculté des Sciences of Paris.
1961 Member of the scientific committee for molecular biology at the DGRST (French Directorate-General for research), along with : D. Dervichian, B. Ephrussi, R. Latarjet, J. Monod, E. Wollman.
1962-1970 Chair of the International Association of Microbiological Societies.
1964-1970 Member of the International Committee for the Organization of Medical Sciences (CIOMS).
1965 Together with Jacques Monod and François Jacob, Lwoff was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, for discoveries concerning the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.
1967 Worked at the Salk Institute in La Jolla (USA).
1967-1971 Member of the World Health Organization's advisory board.
1968-1972 Director of the Cancer Institute in Villejuif (CNRS).
1970-1974 Chair of the French movement for family planning.
1977-1989 Elected president of the Association for Development of the Institut Pasteur (ADIP).
1994 Died in Paris.
Collaborators : M. Albeaux-Fernet, T.F. Anderson, A. Audureau, L. Ballif, E. Bat chelder, M. Bilhaud, D. Bovet, C. Burstein, R. Cailleau, J.P. Carteaud, D.L.D. Caspar, F. Cathala, E. Chatton, J. Colas-Belcour, L. Digonnet, R. Dulbecco, H. Dusi, L. Emerique-Blum, B. Ephrussi, N. Fiessinger, M.Y. Fiszman, Melle Garnier, N. Groman, S. Grossberg, A. Gutmann, V. Hamon, R.W. Horne, J.M. Inbona, H. Ionesco, F. Jacob, L. Justin-Besançon, A.S. Kaplan, N. Kjeldgaard, A. Klug, A. Koch, C. Lataste, E. Lederer, R. Legroux, M. Lwoff, J. Matti, D. Ménard, D. Ménard-Bucchini, J. Monod, M. Morel, S.Nicolau, C.B. van Niel, F. Nitti, I. Ornstein, M. Parat, I. Pirosky, L. Provasoli, A. Provost, A. Quérido, L. Rapkine, E. Ritz, B. Roizman, N. Roukelmann, F. Ryan, A.B. Sabin, P. Schaeffer, L. Simonovitch, R. Stanier, E.L. Tatum, L. Tellier, P. Tournier, J. Tréfouël, M. Treillard, S. Valentini, M. Vaucel, M. Vogt, M. Wahl, E. Wollman.
Biographical reference tools :
- Lwoff (André), " Notices et titres et travaux scientifiques de André Lwoff ", 46 p. dac. ronéo., 1950 (Archives Institut Pasteur, TRE.).
- Lwoff (André), " André Lwoff Titres et travaux ", 29 p. dac. photocop., 1972 (Archives Institut Pasteur, TRE.)
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