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(July 30, 1947 - )
Born in France
Year of Discovery: 1983
First to Isolate the AIDS Virus
In the early 1980s AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) became one of the great unknowns in the world of medicine. Finding the cause of this killer became a number one priority in labs all over the world. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi was the scientist who first found the enzyme evidence of the virus responsible for this horrible disease. Working with Luc Montagnier, her discovery led to the identification of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which was the first step in dealing with AIDS.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi was a retrovirus expert brought into the virology department at the Pastuer Institute in France. She was born in Paris and educated there as well, graduating from Paris University of Sciences and receiving her Ph.D. in virology from the Institut Pasteur and University of Sciences. She also did postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. While working as an assistant professor at the Institut Pasteur, she began working with Luc Montagnier on trying to isolate a cause for AIDS. They obtained a lymph node from a young AIDS patient and went to work. Thinking the causative agent was a retrovirus, Sinoussi measured an enzyme produced by retroviruses in the cell cultures they had set up with the lymph node. At the time, there were only two known retroviruses. Surprisingly, when they detected enzyme activity, they did not find either of the known retroviruses. It was the elusive AIDS virus they had isolated. After many more trials and experiments to prove they had found the causative agent they published their findings. With the identification of the virus, work could begin to combat it.
Dr. Barré-Sinoussi has been very active in teaching others how to research as well as being active in many humanitarian organizations that look for solutions to the problem of AIDS. In 2008, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery along with Luc Montagnier. To sum up her philosophy she said, “There is always hope in life, because there is always hope in science.”
Introduction by Martha Pat Kinney
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Links to More Information About the Scientist
Key Experiment or Research
Quotes by the Scientist
Quotes About the Scientist
Fun Trivia About The Science
The Science Behind the Discovery
Science Discovery Timeline
Recommended Books About the Science
Books by the Scientist
Books About the Scientist
Major Academic Papers
Links to Science and Related Information on the Subject
Links to More About the Scientist & the Science
Nobel Prize entry:
Women in Science, Nobel Announcement
Women in Technology International, Hall of Fame entry:
The American Association for the Advancement of Science article, "A History of HIV Discovery"
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The Science Behind the Discovery
Links to Information on the Science