Jacques Monod (1910-1976)
French biologist and biochemist, born on Feb. 9, 1910 in Paris. His father Hector Lucien Monod was a painter. His mother, Charlotte Todd MacGregor, was American (with a father of Scottish descent) and was Lucien Monod's second wife. Théodore Monod, Daniel Bovet and Noël Rist belonged to the same family.
1917-1928 Secondary education at the high school in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes).
1928-1931 Came to Paris and registered at the Faculty for a degree in Natural Sciences that he obtained in 1931.
1929 (Aug.) One-month summer training at the marine biological Station in Roscoff, directed by G. Teissier who showed him the results of his research ; met J. Cantacuzène, Ch. Pérez and A. Lwoff.
1930-1931 Became a research assistant at the University of Sciences in Strasbourg and entered Ed. Chatton 's laboratory where he worked on ciliates.
1932-1934 As a Commercy's grant-holder, entered M. Caullery 's laboratory on Evolution of Living Organisms.
1934 With Paul Emile Victor, took part in the scientific expedition to Greenland and embarked on the ship "Le Pourquoi pas ?", under the command of J. Charcot.
1934-1945 Became an assistant lecturer and a research assistant at the Faculty of Sciences (University of Paris), in Ch. Pérez's laboratory of zoology.
1936 As a Rockefeller foundation's grant-holder, spent eight months (Jan.-Aug.) at the California Institute of Technology, in Professor Thomas Hunt Morgan's laboratory, where he gained his initiation into genetics.
1938 (Nov.) Married Odette Geneviève Brühl, who became the curator of the Guimet Museum in Paris later, and with whom he had twin sons, Olivier and Philippe.
1940 During World War II, he contacted some organizations of the Resistance, such as the Nordmann group.
1941 Thesis defense for Doctorate in Natural Sciences, in Paris, which dissertation topic was : "Recherches sur la croissance des cultures bactériennes" (physiological studies on the growth of bacteria on mixtures of sugars) ; it was published in 1942 (2nd ed., 1958).
1941-1943 Contacted a student organization of the French Resistance, which had a Communist leadership ; there, he met A. Bussard and participated in propaganda operations.
1943 (Sept. or Oct.) Got in touch with Marcel Prenant who was a chief of staff of operations of the Communist-led Snipers and Partisans FTP, ("Franc-tireurs et Partisan") and who assigned him to recruit men with a military training ; he was also responsible for intercepting or passing on information ; he arranged for commando raids, in preparation for the Allied landings.
1944-1945 As a FTP's delegate, was the chief of staff of operations (3rd Office) for the French Forces of the Interior (FFI, "Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur"). After the Liberation of Paris, at General de Lattre de Tassigny's request, he joined the 1st French army and served during the battles in Alsace and Germany.
1945-1953 Joined the Institut Pasteur as Laboratory Director in A. Lwoff's department ("Service de physiologie microbienne"). 1946-1947 With A. Lwoff, attended two meetings which were of the greatest scientific interest for their further research : during the Cold Spring Harbor Meeting in 1946, Beadle and Tatum reported their discovery relating to the reproduction in Neurospora and theorized the existence of a link between genes and enzymes ; during the 11th Growth Symposium in 1947, Monod himself gave a lecture, which entitled : "The phenomenon of enzymatic adaptation and its bearing on problems of genetics and cellular differentiation".
1953 Named Head of Unit, at the Institut Pasteur.
1954 Named Director of the Cell Biochemistry Department.
1955 Obtained the Montyon prize in Physiology from the Paris Academy of Sciences (favoured by A. Lacassagne 's report at the Academy) ; obtained the Charles Leopold Mayer prize from this Academy, in 1962.
1956 Participated in the 1st Symposium for scientific research and education, at Caen.
1959 Appointed Professor of the Chemistry of Metabolism at the Faculty of Sciences in Paris, then Professor of Molecular Biology (April 14, 1966).
1961 Nominated as vice president of the scientific committee at the DGRST (French Directorate General for research), along with : D. Dervichian, B. Ephrussi, R. Latarjet, A. Lwoff, E. Wollman.
1965 On Oct. 14, together with A. Lwoff and F. Jacob, J. Monod was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, for discoveries concerning the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.
1965 Became a member of the scientific commission of the Institut Pasteur.
1966 President of the trade union for the scientific staff ("Syndicat du personnel scientifique") ; participated in the 2nd Symposium for the higher education reform, at Caen.
1967 Appointed Professor of Molecular Biology at the College de France ; became a member of the board of directors of the Institut Pasteur.
1970 Founding member of the Salk Lake Institute at La Jolla (California), then became a non resident permanent fellow. Published his essay "Le hasard et la necessité" edited by Le Seuil, Paris ("Chance and necessity, an essay on the natural philosophy of modern biology").
1971 Appointed Director of the Institut Pasteur.
1972 Jacques Monod's wife died in Paris.
1973 Became Honorary Professor at the College de France.
1974 Became a member of the economic and social council.
From 1947, was involved in a variety of political affairs such as : the case Lyssenko (1947-1949), human rights, women's rights, family planning, contraception, abortion, racism, capital punishment, euthanasia, Algerian war, world peace, environmental protection...
1976 Died in Cannes, on May 31.
Main works of Jacques Monod and his collaborators :
1940 - Physiology of the bacterial growth (growth phases, sequential utilization of sugars).
1945-1950 - Phenomenom of enzymatic adaptation.
1956 - Permeation specific factors.
1960 - Genetics of bacterial enzymes ; discovery of the transcriptional regulation system by analyzing the control of genetic expression in the Lac operon, in E. Coli.
1963 - Enzymology : protein interactions for controlling the cellular metabolism (proposition of the theory of allosteric interactions, by J. Monod, J. Wyman and J.-P. Changeux).
Collaborators : A. Audureau, D. Blangy, S. Bourgeois, D. Bovet, D. Brown, C. Burstein, H. Buc, A. Bussard, G. Buttin, F. Celada, J.P. Changeux, Ed. Chatton, P. Claverie, G.N. Cohen, G. Cohen-Bazire, M. Cohn, G. Contesse, M. Crépin, P. Drach, M.E. Goldberg, J. Gribetz, F. Gros, D.S. Hogness, M. Hofnung, B.L. Horecker, F. Jacob, M. Jolit, A.Képès, A. Lwoff, M. Morel, F. Morin, S. Naono, Y. Neefs, A.B. Pardee, A.M. Pappenheimer, D. Perrin, M.R. Pollock, H.W. Rickenberg, M. Riley, C. Sanchez.
Biographical reference tools :