Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC), UPR 9022 CNRS
Jules Hoffmann is the Chair for Developmental Biology at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study and Emeritus Research Director at CNRS. He dedicated much of his work to the study of the cellular, genetic and molecular mechanisms responsible for innate immunity in insects. The work of Hoffmann and associates has provided new insights into the defense mechanisms that organisms, from the most primitive up to humans, employ against infectious agents. By demonstrating the marked conservation of innate defense mechanisms between insects and humans, the work initiated by Hoffmann and his collaborators has led to a re-evaluation of the role of innate immunity in mammals. More generally, the Drosophila model has enabled biologists throughout the world to make considerable progress, not only in developmental genetics and innate immunity but also in the study of certain human pathologies and in the understanding of memory, behavior, sleep and nutrition phenomena. With Bruce A. Beutler and Ralph M. Steinman, Hoffmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2011.
Hoffmann set up and headed the CNRS laboratory “Endocrinology and Immunology of Insects” within the CNRS Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire in Strasbourg, which he also directed from 1994 to 2006 and where he still works with some of his collaborators. He was President of the French Académie des Sciences in 2007 and 2008, and is a Foreign Associate member of the Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the American Association for Cancer Research, Germany and Russia and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his contributions to immunity, Hoffmann was awarded numerous prizes, including, in recent years, the Robert Koch Prize (2004, with Bruce Beutler and Shizuo Akira) the Balzan Prize (2007, with Bruce Beutler), the Rosenstiel Award (2010, with Ruslan Medzhitov), the Keio Medical Science Prize (with Shizuo Akira, 2010), the International Gairdner Award (2011, with Shizuo Akira) and the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine (2011, with Bruce Beutler and Ruslan Medzhitov). He also received in 2011 the CNRS Gold Medal. Hoffmann is Officier de la Légion d’Honneur in France and is an Immortel at the Académie française (2012).