The New Infectious Diseases: Where Do They Come From?

Date: 30 May 2014
Speaker: Prof. Maxime Schwartz


The New Infectious Diseases: Where Do They Come From? While everyone thought that infectious diseases had been defeated, new infectious diseases emerged during the past forty years or so, and some of them have been threatening or still threaten mankind as a whole. AIDS, Ebola, mad cow disease, SARS, avian flu and chikungunya, constitute some of the most well-known examples. How can we explain the emergence of these new diseases? How can we control them? Should we fear the emergence of other new diseases in the future? These are the questions that will be discussed in this talk.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Maxime Schwartz

Former General Director of Institut Pasteur

He received his Ph.D. in 1967 under the guidance of Jacques Monod at Institut Pasteur. He then spent two years of post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of James D.Watson at Harvard University before returning to Institut Pasteur where he remained for most of his scientific career. Most of Professor Schwartz’s scientific work dealt with molecular biology of bacteria. He directed the Unit of Molecular Genetics at Institut Pasteur from 1975 to 1987. He became the Scientific Director of the institute from 1985 to 1987, and then became its General Director, a position which he occupied for 12 years.

From 2001 to 2006, he was the Scientific Director of the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA), where he also chaired an expert committee to advise the government on the licensing of genetically modified organisms. In 2001, he published a book “How the cows turned mad”, which was translated into English, Japanese and Russian. In 2008, he worked together with François Rodhain to publish “Microbes or Men, who will win?”.

In 2009, he, together with Jean Castex, published a book on the Franco-American controversy regarding the discovery of the AIDS virus, and in 2013, with Annick Perrot, he published “Pasteur and his Lieutenants”. A new book, about the rivalry between Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, also worked with Annick Perrot, will be published in September 2014.