The legacies of Elie Metchnikoff: symposium at the Institut Pasteur Paris, September 26, 2016

Elie METCHNIKOFF: From embryology to aging, from phagocytes to microbiota

Paris, September 26, 2016


This year, we celebrate one century of the many legacies of the great scientist Elie Metchnikoff. The Institut Pasteur organizes a one-day symposium that will illustrate the impact of his work on modern biology. The Institut is also displaying an exhibition that presents the life and multiple achievements of Metchnikoff, who worked here for 28 years.

Metchnikoff is considered the father of phagocytes, innate cellular immunity, probiotics and gerontology. His initial work as a comparative embryologist led him to be one of the founding fathers of immunology, and develop a new understanding of physiology and pathology. As an illustration of his boundless curiosity, his team investigated inflammation in guinea pigs, rats and frogs, infectious diseases in monkeys, caimans and geese, and aging in parrots, rabbits, dogs and humans. He then explored the gut microbiota of these animals and generated germ-free organisms. His later studies led him to propose that fermented milk delays the deleterious and pro-aging effects of toxic compounds released by putrefactive gut bacteria. Finally, he was also a philosopher, and ventured into writing essays on natural harmony, human disharmony, pessimism and, in the face of it all, optimism. In all these fields, Metchnikoff has been a visionary, publishing more than 200 papers in the Annales de l’Institut Pasteur. He has also been a remarkable team leader and mentor, supervising more than 100 young trainees and collaborators.



This symposium will begin with an opening talk to remind us of the life and many achievements of Elie Metchnikoff. The sessions will then illustrate the four major scientific fields pioneered by Metchnikoff - embryology, macrophages and immunity, microbiota, and aging. The speakers will illustrate these periods through their own work, and project their modern visions of Metchnikoff’s legacy. Finally, a closing talk will reflect on the visions of Metchnikoff for the future of biology.

For registration, program and more information, please click on the poster below: