Network News

05 Jul 2017

Institut Pasteur & Institut Curie Course: Molecular Biology of the Cell Paris, January 8-February 9, 2018

This course is an intensive practical/theoretical course aimed at Master/early PhD students from Paris universities and from abroad.

The Molecular Biology of the Cell course is an intensive laboratory and lecture course of five weeks divided into weekly modules, each focusing on a cutting-edge aspect of cell biology. It is composed of lectures given by internationally renowned scientists, and of two practical sessions organized
together with teams from the Curie and the Pasteur institutes. The main topics of the course alternate between the cell biology of infection, cancer  and intracellular trafficking emphasizing new experimental approaches. The availability of the core Imaging Platform at Institut Pasteur will introduce students to advanced techniques for the dynamic visualization of cells in health and disease.

3 fellowships covering the course costs will be available, as indicated on the website.

The 2018 course will take place from January 8 to February 9, 2018 on the Institut Pasteur campus in Paris.

Click on the flyer to visit the website and submit online application.

03 Jul 2017

Thank you, Simone Veil!

The Institut Pasteur owes much of what (and where) it is today to Simone Veil.

On June 12, 1975, Simone Veil, then French Minister of Health and Family, held a meeting with Jacques Monod, President of the Institut Pasteur, and Jean Royer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, to inform them that the government would be increasing its grant to the Institut Pasteur from 20 to 50.5 million francs. This government grant – a huge amount of money at the time – was urgently needed to help the Institut Pasteur overcome the major financial crisis it had been grappling with for several years.

The government's decision came at a time when the Institut Pasteur's financial situation had been in a constant downward spiral since the 1960s. Its assets had been reduced following several years of deficit, the Application Center set up in 1967 to promote the production and sale of products from Institut Pasteur research was undergoing a thorough overhaul, the Vaudreuil plant was struggling to get off the ground, the Institut Pasteur's management tools were ineffective and its relations with the government were at a low ebb. In 1971, in a bid to defend an institution that he saw as vitally important, Jacques Monod accepted the position of Institut Pasteur President – although this meant giving up his laboratory work, postponing the writing of his second book L'Homme et le temps and resigning from the Collège de France. Despite his efforts and commitment, Monod's "restructuring" plan did not immediately produce results, and the situation continued to decline. In 1974, he was forced to acknowledge that the drastic management measures that had been taken – including laboratory closures and a voluntary early retirement scheme – would not be enough. He held a General Meeting with all Institut Pasteur staff on October 21, 1974, during which he announced his plan to sell the land in Paris and relocate all staff to the Garches site:

"... The Institut Pasteur is bankrupt, and selling our Paris site will provide us with enough funds to build new premises in the suburbs. This transaction, which will be handled by the Deposits and Consignments Fund, will release substantial profits that we can use to strengthen industrial business, pay off our debts and guarantee our future. Of course, none of this will be possible without major sacrifices..."

Jacques Monod even considered moving the remains of Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux to Marnes-la-Coquette, where Pasteur died

Photo: caption: Michel d'Ornano, French Minister of Industry and Research, and Simone Veil, Minister of Health and Family, decide to increase the government's support for the Institut Pasteur, here with François Gros and François Jacob. Copyright Institut Pasteur

Over the following years, Simone Veil, Jacques Monod and François Jacob worked closely together, and Simone Veil's support for the Institut Pasteur never wavered. The three had an immense amount of mutual admiration for one another, as demonstrated by Simone Veil's tribute following Jacques Monod's death on May 31, 1976. She also set up the Pasteur-Weizmann committee and was subsequently involved in its work on a regular basis. In 1994, she chaired the ceremony held in Phnom Penh to lay the first stone of the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, and in 1995 she gave a moving speech at the opening ceremony for the Year of Pasteur, marking the centenary of Louis Pasteur's death.

The increased government grant meant that in 1976, for the first time in 14 years, the Institut Pasteur's budget balance was restored, and Jacques Monod's restructuring plan could begin to produce results. The historical Paris campus was saved, and over the following years the Institut Pasteur became more stable, grew in visibility and was able to look to the future with confidence.

Thank you, Simone Veil!


Dr Jean-François Chambon

Department of Communications and Fundraising


Archives de Jacques Monod – Institut Pasteur

Simone Veil, Une éthique de la connaissance, Prospective et Santé - Hommage à Jacques Monod, n°1, 03/1977

Biographie de Jacques Monod, Patrice Debré

30 Jun 2017

An innovative vaccine design to attenuate RNA viruses

Evolutionary virologists from the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris worked in close collaboration with computational biologists and proposed an innovative way to challenge RNA viruses' great adaptive capacity. Precisely by using this adaptive potential (high mutation rates) that makes their strength but also their weakness: they can't correct errors in case of detrimental mutations.

Working on Coxsackie B3 and influenza A viruses, they engineered the viruses' genomes to drive their evolutionary trajectories towards detrimental regions in sequence space (the whole possible sequences for a gene). The modified viruses generated more Stop mutations, significantly reducing their viral fitness. In vivo experiments showed reduced virulence, the viruses generated high levels of neutralizing antibodies, and mice were protected against lethal challenge.

This is an innovative vaccine method, for which the Institut Pasteur has filed a patent application.

Marco Vignuzzi, head of the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur, will be joining the faculty of our 14th HKU-Pasteur Virology course (6-14 July 2017). His lecture, "Genetic Diversity and Quasispecies" will be open to the public (11 July 2017, 9am).

On the left, a cell culture dish with wild-type enteroviruses. On the right, a dish containing genetically modified enteroviruses ("stop" mutations) with reduction in viral multiplication © Institut Pasteur

Attenuation of RNA viruses by redirecting their evolution in sequence space, Nature Microbiology, June 5, 2017.
Gonzalo Moratorio1, Rasmus Henningsson1,2,3*, Cyril Barbezange1*, Lucia Carrau1,4, Antonio V. Bordería1,2, Hervé Blanc1, Stephanie Beaucourt1, EnzoZ.Poirier1,4, Thomas Vallet1, Jeremy Boussier2,5,6, BryanC.Mounce1, Magnus Fontes2,3 and Marco Vignuzzi1
1. Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR 3569, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.
2. International Group for Data Analysis, Institut Pasteur, C3BI, USR 3756 IP CNRS, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.
3. Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University, 22100 Lund, Sweden.
4. Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, Cellule Pasteur, 75013 Paris, France.
5. Unité d’Immunobiologie des Cellules Dendritiques, Institut Pasteur, Inserm 1223, 25 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, Paris, France.
6. Ecole doctorale Frontières du vivant, Université Paris Diderot, 75013 Paris, France.

More on the Research Journal of the Institut Pasteur.

19 Jun 2017

MosKeyTool: a free and interactive tool to identify mosquitoes

Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of infectious diseases, and cause more than one million deaths each year worldwide. Mosquitoes are among the main vectors of diseases, especially arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, etc). The precise identification of mosquito species is an essential step for the laboratories involved in the surveillance and control of these diseases with high epidemic potential.

As part of the Medilabsecure project coordinated by the Institut Pasteur, a free software was developed by a team from IRD in Montpellier to identify the 128 species of mosquitoes (including the larval stage) currently recorded in all countries of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

©IRD/Michel Dukhan

MosKeyTool allows the identification through an intuitive multicriteria approach (morphology and distribution features) using a set of proposed choices. More than 1000 illustrations (photos, diagrams and distribution maps) are provided in this tool.

This user-friendly tool has been designed for teachers, students, medical entomologists, parasitologists and all human or animal health agents involved in mosquito surveillance and control.

Funded by the European Commission, Medilabsecure aims to build capacity within a network of 55 laboratories working on emerging viruses in 19 countries of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. It encompasses laboratories from the Institut Pasteur in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

For more information, please visit Medilabsecure

15 Jun 2017

Conference at the University of Hong Kong: Next generation informatics for global health

The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine (HKU) is organizing the international conference Next Generation Informatics for Global Health: Disease Dynamics and Digital Epidemiology which will be held at The University of Hong Kong on 17-19 July 2017. This conference aims to bring together leading scientists in epidemic modeling, phylodynamics and digital epidemiology to present their recent breakthroughs in and share their visions for global health informatics.

Keynote speakers include:

Simon Cauchemez (Institut Pasteur)
Scott Dowell (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Evgeniy Gabrilovich (Google)
Jennifer Gardy (The University of British Columbia)
Deirdre Hollingsworth (University of Warwick)
Katia Koelle (Duke University)
Muhammad Mamdani (St. Michael’s Hospital)
Oliver Pybus (University of Oxford)
Steven Riley (Imperial College London)
Colin Russell (University of Cambridge)
Marcel Salathe (École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne)
Elad Yom-Tov (Microsoft Research)

The tentative program is online. Please visit the website for more details and registration (deadline: 30 June 2017).

14 Jun 2017

“A world free of human suffering from vector - borne diseases”

The 70th World Health Assembly took place from 22 to 31 May in Geneva. Delegates have adopted a resolution on Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) that aims to prevent, detect, report and respond to outbreaks of vector-borne diseases worldwide through an integrated, comprehensive approach.

The major vector-borne infectious diseases are responsible for the loss of more than 700,000 lives every year, mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Taking into account the socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors that interfere with infectious diseases transmission characteristics, more than 80% of the global population now live in areas at risk from at least one major vector-borne disease, and more than 50% at risk from two or more.

Excerpt from: Golding N, Wilson AL, Moyes CL, Cano J, Pigott DM, Velayudhan R et al. Integrating vector control across diseases. BMC Med. 2015; 13:249. doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0491-4.

These diseases could be better prevented through efficient vector control. Designing a response plan for vector control was the objective of extensive consultation process led by the WHO since June 2016. You can find here the draft Global vector control response 2017–2030, addressing the challenge of "a world free of human suffering from vector - borne diseases".

The response will support technical capacity, strengthen monitoring and surveillance systems, improve infrastructure, and above all, tackle multiple vectors and diseases cost–effectively and in an integrated manner across many sectors beyond health – including environment, urban planning and housing, education and information sharing.


On another note, during the 70th World Health Assembly, the Pasteur International Network association made its first statement during the session "Research and Development on Potentially Emerging Diseases" thanks to Nadia Khelef, representative of the Institut Pasteur at WHO.

The recognition in 2016 of Pasteur International Network association as a non-state actor in official relations with WHO enables it to sit in the World Health Assembly and its executive bureau and thus increase the visibility of its actions toward the United Nations’ health institution and other major international stakeholders.

During the same meeting, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia) was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term beginning July 1st, succeeding to Margaret Chan (Hong Kong).

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