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Nobel Laureate Jules Hoffmann kicks off Annual Drosophila Research Conference
Date:4/4/2013

o helped him in the discovery that Toll was the sensor of innate immunity in the fly. In 2011 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine shared with Dr. Beutler, who had shown that Toll-like receptors performed a similar role in mammals, and Ralph M. Steinman, MD, for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its roll in adaptive immunity.

As if a foreshadowing of the year to come, in 2010, Dr. Hoffmann received the Keio Medical Science Prize with Shizuo Akira, MD, PhD. But 2011, turned out to be the year of celebration for Dr. Hoffmann. Not only did he receive the Nobel Prize with Drs. Beutler and Steinman, but he also received the CNRS Gold Medal, the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine with Drs. Beutler and Ruslan M. Medzhitov, and the Canada Gairdner Award for Medical Research with Dr. Akira.

But the broader lesson from Dr. Hoffmann's work may be its celebration of basic research. "Our work on antimicrobial defenses in insects started out of curiosity. We realized that insects in our breeding colonies of grasshoppers were very resistant to infections, and we didn't understand the mechanisms of this resistance," he said. At that time institutional funding didn't depend on relevance or potential applications. "Scientific curiosity was accepted as a reason to undertake our research. This was exactly 50 years ago; I am afraid that things would be much more difficult today," he added.


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Contact: Phyllis Edelman
pedelman@genetics-gsa.org
301-351-0896
Genetics Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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