Université de Strasbourg

Distinguished Lecture - The Discovery of CRISPR-Cas

April 18, 2016
Salle de Conférence, ISIS

Philippe Horvath

Dr. Horvath is Senior Scientis at DuPont Nutrition and Health Technology, Dangé-Saint-Romain, France. He obtained his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2000 from Université Louis-Pasteur, Strasbourg, France. He started as a scientist at the Rhodia Food, then became senior scientist in 2006 at the Danish company Danisco, world leader in food ingredients. In 2014, three years after the take-over of Danisco by DuPont, Philippe was appointed Associate to the DuPont Fellows Forum. He was recognized with the 2013 Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award, awarded with the 2015 Massry Prize, and selected as a 2015 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. Philippe is co-inventor of 95 patents and/or patent applications, of which 62 are related to various uses of CRISPR, and co-author of 31 peer-reviewed articles (22 about CRISPR) and 4 book chapters.

Philippe HorvathPhilippe Horvath is known for his significant contributions to the study of the immune system of bacteria. He began researching bacteria in an effort to protect the integrity of the company’s starter cultures, which are sold to companies that make cheese and ice cream. These strains of bacteria jump-start the fermentation process in a number of foods, as long as they are active and healthy. But they are often subject to attack by viruses, called bacteriophages, a major source of product failure in the food industry.

Horvath began researching sequences in the bacteria genome called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR sequences. Between the sequences were pieces of DNA taken from viruses that had previously attacked the bacteria. If the same virus returned, those pieces of DNA would permit the bacteria to recognize and destroy it.

Horvath and colleagues later tested this by manipulating the DNA of a Streptococcus bacteria. By integrating sequences from the bacteriophage into the CRISPR sequences, they were able to create bacteria that were resistant. In doing so, Horvath solved a long-standing problem for food companies. He also opened the door for scientists to build on his highly significant discovery and take it in a new direction.

affiche horvath lecture


10:30  Welcome with coffee/tea


Introduction by Thomas Ebbesen, USIAS Chair of Physicial Chemistry of Light-Matter Interactions, Directeur USIAS


Lecture by Philippe Horvath
The discovery of CRIPR-Cas, the bacterial immune system: from basic research to applications in industry

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