Alain Bussard (1917-2010)
French biologist, born on May 26, 1917, in Paris. His father was a botanist and his mother a writer ; his elder brother was to be a self-educated engineer and an inventor.
Attended the Alsatian School in Paris.
1935-1938 Studies in biology and chemistry, at the Sorbonne university.
1937-1939 Training at the marine biological Station in Roscoff, where he met J. Monod.
1938 M.Sc. in natural sciences.
1939-1940 Appointed as laboratory assistant under Professor Lucas at the School of physics and chemistry, Paris.
1940 During Second World War, served in the laboratory for skin and venereal diseases at the military hospital in Reims ; conducted research on the physico-chemical modifications detected in human syphilitic serum ; made attempts in growing human treponema in cactus.
1941-1944 As a research fellow, entered the R. Courrier's laboratory at the Collège de France, where he conducted research on the properties and purification of gonadotropic hormone.
Became a member of the Free French fighting Forces (Résistance).
1944-1945 Participated in the "Libération de Paris", as a liaison officer with the Second French Armoured Division ; served as an officer in the French First Army (Scientific Task Force) and traveled to Germany for CNRS scientific missions.
1945-1950 Entered the Institut Pasteur in Paris as an assistant, in the laboratory of microbial biochemistry under P. Grabar ; conducted research on protein hormones and anti-hormones, using immunochemical methods ; developped a pregnancy test.
1946 Training at the Lister Institute in London.
1950 Thesis defense for PhD., the dissertation topic of which was : "Recherches immunologiques sur la gonadostimuline humaine".
1950-1951 Training at the Madison University (Wisconsin, USA) at the Mayer's laboratory of endocrinology and Williams's laboratory of physico-chemistry, successively : developped physico-chemical methods for macromolecule analysis (such as electrophoresis on paper, liquid vein) ; resumed studies on anti-hormones.
1951-1953 By returning to France, worked in the venom immunochemistry laboratory under P. Boquet (Institut Pasteur's annex, Garches) ; consistently applied physico-chemical methods to the study on toxins, considered as antigens.
1952 Appointed as research assistant at the CNRS.
1953-1954 Appointed as chief assistant at the P. Grabar's laboratory of microbial biochemistry ; by improving the method of agarose gel electrophoresis, conducted research on antibody synthesis at cellular level.
1953-1968 Member of the CNRS Committee for cellular biology.
1954-1963 Entered the J. Monod's laboratory of cellular biochemistry : made technical improvements in agarose gel electrophoresis ; developped the method of electrosyneresis.
1957 Lectured at the Institut Pasteur (immunology course and microbiology course).
1959-1960 At the J. Monod's laboratory of cellular biochemistry, conducted research on enzymes at the immunological level.
1962 Member of the organisation committee for the International CNRS Symposium on immunological tolerance, Royaumont, France.
1963-1985 Appointed as head of the newly created laboratory of cellular immunology, at the Institut Pasteur, Paris ; with J. Ingraham, developed the method of local hemolysis in gum ; from 1965, devoted himself to studying murine peritoneal B cells and antibody secretion.
1964 Founding editor of Immunochemistry, later renamed Molecular Immunology ; monitored the publications until 1985.
1966-1970 Member of the Institut Pasteur's scientific council.
1967 With P. Grabar and M. Raynaud, founded the French Society of Immunology (S.F.I., Société Française d'Immunologie) : secretary general (1970-1971), president (1972-1973).
1967-1968 Founding editor of European Journal of Immunology, with O. Westphal.
1969-1970 With Lennox, performed the first experiments of cell fusion ; designed a camera for recording the cumulative number of lytic areas.
1971-1975 Member of the Institut Pasteur's Assembly.
1973-1975 Elected as head of the Institut Pasteur's department of immunology.
1975-1980 Member of the Board of the International Union of Immunological Societies.
1977 Founder and President of the European Federation of Immunological Societies.
He was one of the first to obtain continuously growing hybridoma cell lines, by using the hybridoma technology which had been pioneered by G.Kohler and C.Milstein in 1975 ; by generating monoclonal antibody-secreting hybridomas derived from peritoneal B cells of non-immune mice, he thus paved the way for research on naturally occurring autoantibodies.
1979-1981 Re-elected to a second two year-term as head of the Institut Pasteur's department of immunology.
1979-1985 Founding editor of Immunology Letters, then member of the editorial board (1985-1990).
1980-1986 Member of the executive Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), then secretary general (1986-1990) ; the CODATA worked to improve the reliability and accessibility of scientific data banks.
1982-1985 Analysis of DNA and protein sequences derived from peritoneal cells ; production of monoclonal antibodies against several antigens (such as lipopolysaccharide, Chlamydia).
1983-1986 Founder and President of the task group for the Hybridoma Data Bank (HDB).
1985 Retired from the Institut Pasteur.
2010 Died on March 15.
Collaborators : A. Aschkenasy, R. Bequignon, J.L. Binet, P. Boquet, P. Corvazier, R. Côte, A. Eyquem, M. Fougereau, P. Grabar, F. Gros, C. Hannoun, V.A. Huynh, J. Ingraham, Y. Izard, R. Lamy, F. Layani, Lennox, J. Monod, S. Naono, A. Paraf, D. Perrin, S. Stone, C. Vialat.
Biographical reference tools :
- Poncet (Pascal), Bulletin de l'association des anciens élèves de l'Institut Pasteur, n°203, 2010.
- Bussard (Alain), "Titres et Travaux scientifiques de Alain E. Bussard", 40 p., 1966 (Archives Pasteur, Bio.03).
Service des Archives de l'Institut Pasteur