Philippe Sansonetti

Professor and Chair
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, College de France

Philippe Sansonetti is one of Europe’s leading microbiologists. His research mainly focuses on the understanding of several aspects of the pathogenesis of Shigella, a Gram-negative bacterium causing severe diarrhea. This work spans a large set of disciplines in biology and medicine and ranges from molecular genetics, to cell biology, immunology and the development of vaccines against dysentery. He also actively contributes to the development of vaccine candidates against the major shigellae causing dysentery in the developing world.

Author of over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals, Professor Sansonetti is considered to be one of the founders of cellular microbiology, and he has launched an eponym scientific publication dedicated to this field. His achievements in science have been recognised by numerous awards, including the Louis Jeantet Prize for medicine; Robert Koch Prize (Germany); André Lwoff Medal by the Federation of European Microbiological Societies; and, in 2009, the GlaxoSmithKline International Member of the Year Award, American Society for Microbiology. Included in Philippe Sansonetti’s long list of honours are his appointments as Chevalier de la Légion de l’honneur and Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. He is an elected member of the French Academy of Sciences, the Deutsche Akademie der Natursforscher Leopoldina, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar.

Philippe Sansonetti received Biochemistry/Microbiology and Medical degrees from the University of Paris VII. After conducting research in the Department of Enteric Diseases at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington DC, he returned to the Pasteur Institute, where he eventually created and headed the Unité de Pathogénie Microbienne Moléculaire. He then practised medicine before becoming head of the out-patient Clinic, then medical director, at the Pasteur Hospital. He has also held several scientific administration positions at INSERM, French Ministry of Research and Technology, as well as at the World Health Organization where he chaired the Steering Committee on Diarrheal Diseases.

While spending time at the Wall Institute, Professor Sansonetti will, among other things, give a formal talk on the intestinal mucosal surface in addition to a number of public lectures on Shigella. He will collaborate closely with Brett Finlay and the Michael Smith Laboratories.

Primary Recipient Awards

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Philippe Sansonetti, 2018

Philippe Sansonetti

Wall Colloquia Abroad, Philippe Sansonetti, 2016

Philippe Sansonetti
Brett Finlay

Communication among complex microbial populations and their host

Principal Investigators: Philippe Sansonetti, Institut Pasteur and College de France; Brett Finlay, Michael Smith Laboratories, Peter Wall Institute Distinguished Professor, UBC

The Institute will co-host the Colloquium Abroad at the Collège de France in Paris, France, on May 30-31, 2016. The microbiota are the microbes found in and on a host, including the human body. It is receiving increased attention, especially given its role in both human health and disease. However, most of the focus is on microbiota-host interactions, and there is little known about how these complex microbial communities interact and communicate. There is more known about other complex microbial communities found in different environments. The major goal of this colloquium is to bring together experts studying microbial communication in different areas together with those studying microbiota, and explore how we might further our understanding of microbial communication that occurs in the microbiota.

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Philippe Sansonetti, 2011

Philippe Sansonetti

Co-principal Investigator Awards

Wall Colloquia Abroad, Brett Finlay, 2014

Brett Finlay
Philippe Sansonetti

Microbiota, Nutrition and Metabolism: « les trois âges de la vie »

Principal Investigator(s): Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.

This colloquium was held on June 2-3, 2014. The aim of the symposium was to review the most recent and significant advances at the interface between the intestinal microbiota and nutrition and metabolism. The symposium has been structured according to three sessions: role of the microbiota in the growth and development of the child, role of the microbiota in health and metabolic diseases in adults, and role of perturbations of the microbiota (dysbiosis) in elderly people, particularly in senescence and cancer. Thus the subtitle: « les trois âges de la vie » ("the three ages of life").

Wall Colloquia Abroad, Brett Finlay, 2013

Brett Finlay
Philippe Sansonetti

Zoonosis – Biology Meets Anthropology

Principal Investigator: Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.

This international colloquium was held on June 10-11, 2013. It focused on the interface between known emerging infectious diseases and anthropology studies. Experts in both these areas and especially those that span these areas took part in the discussions. The main topics of discussion included defining potential animal reservoirs, how pathogens move between species and generally how a species barrier actually exists and is broken to yield new infectious diseases. In addition, transmission mechanisms and potential ways of controlling such infections were examined.

Wall Colloquia Abroad, Brett Finlay, 2011

Brett Finlay
Philippe Sansonetti

Commensal Microbiota: From Homeostasis to Disease

Principal Investigator: Brett Finlay, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, UBC; Philippe Sansonetti, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Disease, Collège de France, Professor, Pasteur Institute.

The Institute held its first Colloquium Abroad at its partner institute, the Collège de France, Paris, 23-24 May 2011. A one-day closed-door session for key speakers followed the public meeting. This international colloquium took place during Professor Finlay's appointment at the Collège de France as a Wall Institute-nominated State Chair. The meeting detailed recent advances as well as background information in the fast moving field of the study of microbiota to significantly advance science in this area of research.

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