Jacques Tréfouël (1897-1977)
French chemist, born on Nov. 9, 1897 in Le Raincy (Seine-Saint-Denis, France). His father, Eugène Tréfouël, worked in silk trade. On his mother's side, he is the grand-nephew of the actors Constant and Ernest Coquelin. High School studies at the Carnot high school in Paris then enrollment at the "Faculté des Sciences" in Paris, where he attended M. Caullery 's course in particular.
1918 The Cross of War rewarded him for his participation in World War I.
1919-1920 Conducted research in Professor Haller's laboratory at the Sorbonne University, Paris.
1920-1928 Entered the Institut Pasteur of Paris, where he was appointed as assistant in E. Fourneau 's therapeutic chemistry laboratory.
1921 Married Thérèse Boyer, who became his collaborator.
1924 Contributed to research on the 205 Bayer batch, which is a new trypanocide drug (against sleeping sickness), the composition of which had been kept a secret by the manufacturers. Conducted research which led to the technical development of the 309-F (F, that is Fourneau).
1927 Became an active member of the Society of Exotic Pathology (SPE).
1928-1938 Named head of laboratory at the Institut Pasteur. Contributed to the synthesis and the therapeutic development of several types of chemicals having a medical importance : arsenic compounds, which are active against syphilis (stovarsol, also named 190-F) and trypanosomiasis (orsanine, also named 270-F) ; quinoline derivatives which are active against malaria (rodoquine, also named 710-F).
1933 Became a permanent member of the "Societé Philomathique" of Paris.
1935 With D. Bovet, F. Nitti and Th. Tréfouël, conducted research on a colouring agent (prontosil), which has an antistreptococcal activity, as R. Domagk had previously shown in the case of septicemia in mice. J. Tréfouël 's group showed that only part of the substance, named sulfamide (1162-F) is active against streptococcus and that its action extends to a large number of bacterias : meningococcus, pneumococcus, gonococcus, bacillus Friedlander... This was the first antibacterial agent which revealed really effective.
1938 Named head of the therapeutic chemistry laboratory of the Institut Pasteur, Paris.
1940-Dec.1964 Succeeded G. Ramon as Director of the Institut Pasteur, while continuing as head of the therapeutic chemistry laboratory. Associated with R. Dujarric de la Rivière and N. Bernard as Assistant Directors.
1940-1945 During World War II, undertook decision, as director of the Institut Pasteur, to acquire an estate in Laroche-Beaulieu, in free zone, and to convert it into a laboratory for vaccine production against epidemic typhus, intended for prisoners of war and civilians. Despite the Occupation Authorities's pressing urgency, succeeded in taking away the Institut Pasteur's staff from the Labor Service Required (STO), with the L. Aublant's support (Secretary-General of Health). In 1942, L. Pasteur Vallery-Radot and P. Milliez asked the Institut Pasteur to set up a pharmaceutical depot intended for the Resistance, which very quickly turned into the FFI's Central Pharmacy (French Forces of the Interior).
1942 Thesis defense for physical science doctorate : "Activité thérapeutique et spectres d'absorption des arylsufamides et des acides arylarsiniques". Elected member of the French Academy of Medicine. Obtained the following prizes from the Academy : Louis Prize, 1931 ; Buisson Prize, 1940.
1944-1945 At the onset of the Liberation, became chair of the Penicillin Military Committee from the department of war. With F. Nitti and A. Bonnefoi, became adviser of the army in order to organize the industrial production of penicillin at the Military Center for Research and Production of Penicillin, in Paris.
1947 Elected member of the French Academy of Sciences. Obtained the following prizes from the Academy : Parkin Prize, 1927 ; Paultre Prize, 1932 ; General Muteau Prize, 1941.
1953 With A. Lacassagne, became a member of the advisory board for the French Atomic Commission (CEA) on biological research.
1954 With his collaborators, showed the activity of sulfone-mere in tuberculosis and leprosy treatment. Named chair of the French Society of Therapy and Pharmacodynamics.
1955 At the Institut Pasteur of Paris, organized a Franco-Polish Symposium on Bacteriology, with the International Children's Center (L. Rajchman ) and the State Institute of Hygiene in Warsaw.
1963 Named "Grand Officier de la Légion d'Honneur".
1965-1977 Honorary Director of the Institut Pasteur of Paris.
1965 Elected president of the French Academy of Sciences, Paris.
1967 Elected president of the French Academy of Medicine, Paris.
1971-1977 Chair of the French Society of Biology (Société de Biologie).
1973-1976 President of the Leon Mba Foundation's board of trustees (Institute of African Health and Epidemiology).
1977 On July 11, he died in Paris.
H. E. Barrelet, G. Benoit, D. Bovet, Y. Dunant, E. Fourneau, P. Koetschet, Y. de Lestrange-Trévise, C. Levaditi, A. Lwoff, R. Martin, K.I. Melville, F. Nitti, L. Palfray, M. Raynaud, G. Stefanopoulo, J. Sterne, H. Strickler, Th. Tréfouël, J. Vallée, A. Wancolle.
Biographical reference tools :
- Aublant (Louis), discours du 9 novembre 1979, 11 p. dact. (archives IP, Bio.A1).
- Broch (P.), Kerharo (J.), Nétik (J), Joffre (J.), Fabrication de la pénicilline, Paris, Vigot Frères, éd., 1946, 176 p.
- Julia (Marc), "Jacques Tréfouël (1897-1977)", Annales de l'Institut Pasteur, vol. 128, n° 3, 1977.
- Lamy (Marcel), "Une épopée pastorienne : l'annexe de la Roche Beaulieu de 1941 à 1975", AAEIP, n° 173, 2002, p. 181-186.
- Nitti (Federico), curriculum vitae, Paris, 09/04/1945 (archives IP, TRE.DS).
- Tréfouël (Jacques), Titres et travaux scientifiques, Paris, Ancienne imprimerie de la Cour d'Appel, 28 p., 1946.
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