Université de Strasbourg

Pierre Chambon

Chair of Molecular Genetics and Biology (Permanent Chair, 2012-2021)

Pierre Chambon

Pierre Chambon is Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS), Honorary Professor at the Collège de France (Paris), and Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Strasbourg. He was the founder and former Director of two institutes based in Strasbourg; the Institute for Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Biology (IGBMC) and the Mouse Clinical Institute (ICS/MCI). He remains active in retirement, and is currently co-director of a research team at IGBMC.

The work of Pierre Chambon over the last 55 years forms a logical and uninterrupted sequence of discoveries in the field of transcriptional control of gene expression in higher eukaryotes including, notably, the discovery of PolyADPribose (1963), the discovery of multiple RNA polymerases (1969), a major contribution to the elucidation of the chromatin structure that revealed the Nucleosome in 1974, the astounding discovery of animal split genes (1977) and the discovery of multiple promoter elements and their cognate factors (1980-1993) including those of enhancer elements (1981).

Since 1985, Pierre Chambon’s research on the structure and function of nuclear receptors has revolutionised our conception of signal transduction and endocrinology in vertebrates. The cloning of estrogen receptors and the discovery of the family of retinoic acid receptors revealed the existence of a superfamily of nuclear receptors, and contributed to the elucidation of their universal mechanism of action that links transcription, physiology and pathology. These discoveries have extensively contributed to revolutionising the fields of embryonic development, endocrinology and metabolism, and pinpointing malfunctions, thus opening new avenues for medical treatment useful applications in biotechnology and modern medicine.

Pierre Chambon is author of over 900 publications and was ranked fourth among most prominent life scientists during the 1983-2002 period. He has received numerous international awards, including the gold medal from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) (1979), the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology and Biochemistry (1999 and 2018), the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology (2003), the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (2004) the Gairdner Foundation International Award (2010), and the Gregory Pincus Medal (2016). He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea, and also foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, and the Chinese Society of Genetics. Pierre Chambon is furthermore Doctor Honoris causa at several universities. He is Commander of the French Legion of Honour and Grand Officer of the French National Order of Merit.

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