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Biographical sketch
Emile Roux (1853-1933)
version française  
 

French physician, bacteriologist and immunologist born on Dec.17, 1853 in Confolens (Charente, France) to a family of nine children. His father was a schoolmaster and died in 1862. He was raised by his elder sister and his brother-in-law, F. Momont. Studies at the college in Aurillac, then at the high school ("lycée") in Le Puy, where he met A. Chantemesse.
1871 High school degree in sciences ("baccalauréat") ; appointed as a tutor at the high school in Clermond-Ferrand.
1872-1873 Enrollment in medical training at the Medical School of Clermont-Ferrand. Was introduced to the professor of chemistry Emile Duclaux at the Faculty of Sciences and worked as a student assistant under him.
1874-1878 Continued his studies in Paris and was admitted as a clinical assistant at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, in charge of a small laboratory in Dr. Béhier's service.
1874-1877 Received a fellowship for the Military School at Val-de-Grâce, but quitted it after failing to present his dissertation in due time.
1878 Started to work as an assistant to the course on fermentations given by E. Duclaux at the Sorbonne University and was recommended by him to Louis Pasteur, who was looking for research assistants in microbial diseases.
1878-1883 Joined the Pasteur's laboratory (" laboratoire de L. Pasteur ") as a research assistant at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, "rue d'Ulm", in Paris.
1879-1880 With L. Pasteur, conducted research on chicken-cholera and the ways to attenuate the disease.
1879-1890 Conducted research on anthrax and published a series of results in the field ; with Ch. Chamberland, he was involved in the famous experiment of anthrax vaccination of animals, in Pouilly-le-Fort.
1883 Thesis defense for Medical Doctorate, with a doctoral dissertation titled : "Des nouvelles acquisitions sur la rage", where he described his research on rabies with L. Pasteur since 1881, which led to the development of the first vaccination against this disease. Between 1888 and 1890, published five other reports in this field.
1883 Along with Ed. Nocard, L. Thuillier and Straus, traveled to Egypt to study a human cholera outbreak there ; Thuillier contracted the disease and died ; the French mission returned to France after failing to find the pathogen for the disease, which was later discovered in Alexandria by the German physician Robert Koch.
1883-1888 Named Assistant Director of the Pasteur's laboratory, "rue d'Ulm". Became closely involved with the creation of what was to be the Institut Pasteur ; shared his time between biomedical research and administrative duties.
1884 Obtained the Mombine prize from the French Academy of Medicine and the Bréant prize from the French Academy of Sciences.
1888-1895 Promoted to Head of Service ("chef de service") at the Institut Pasteur. In 1888, organized the first regular course on microbiological technique (initially named "cours de microbie technique"), which was to become very influential in the training of many French and foreign researchers and physicians in infectious diseases.
1888 Named member of the first editorial board of the Annales de l'Institut Pasteur, including Ch. Chamberland, E. Duclaux, J.-J. Grancher, Ed. Nocard, I. Straus.
1888-1890 He and A. Yersin published three works on diphtheria ; definitely proved that the Klebs-Löeffler bacillus is the true cause of diphtheria ; demonstrated that the diphtheria bacillus produces an active poison (the diphtheric toxin), and studied its properties.
1889-1914 Established and directed the renown microbiology course of the Institut Pasteur ("cours de microbiologie").
1891-1894 Following the demonstration by E.A. von Behring and S. Kitasato that a specific antitoxin can be produced in animals, E. Roux and L. Martin devoted themselves to develop an effective anti-diphtheria serum, by immunization of horses among other animals, in sufficient amount for the treatment of diphtheria ; with A. Chaillou, demonstrated successfully this antitoxin, in a study with 300 diseased children in the Enfants-Malades hospital ; this major achievement, which revolutionized the therapy for diphtheria, was reported at the medical congress in Budapest.
1895 Obtained the Alberto Lévi prize from the French Academy of Sciences.
1896 Obtained the Saint-Paul prize from and became an elected member of the French Academy of Medicine.
1896-1904 With Ch. Chamberland, nominated to the position as Assistant Director of the Institut Pasteur. Conducted research on tetanus, tuberculosis, bovine pneumonia.
1903-1906 Took part in E. Metchnikoff 's research on experimental syphilis.
1904-1933 Nominated to the position as Director of the Institut Pasteur ; ceased any personal activity in research.
1908 Elected member of the French Society of Exotic Pathology (Société de Pathologie Exotique, SPE).
1909 Became a member of the medical committee for sanatoria in Paris, directed by L. Guinard.
1914-1918 During the First World War, he organized the Army's laboratories, each having a team of three bacteriologists and one chemist.
1916 Moved from his apartment in Auteuil to a tiny room (named "le pigeonnier") under the roof of the Pasteur hospital, in Paris.
1919 Chairman at the medical congress of the League of Red-Cross societies, held in Cannes ; L. Bernard, A. Calmette, A. Laveran and F. Widal belonged to the French delegation.
1928 Honorary chairman at the congress of surgery.
1933 Died in Paris on November 3 ; state funeral on November 9.

Collaborators : A. Borrel, A. Chaillou, Ch. Chamberland, Ed. Dujardin-Beaumetz, Ed. Nocard, L. Martin, E. Metchnikoff, A. Salimbeni, L. Thuillier, I. Straus, L. Vaillard, A. Yersin.

Biographical reference tools :
- Roux (Emile), Notice sur les travaux scientifiques du Dr E. Roux, Paris, Masson et Cie, éd., 53 p., 1899.


 

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