Fotis C. Kafatos

Robert Koch Gold Medal 2010

Professor Dr. Fotis C. Kafatos, London, Great Britain, was awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal.

In recognition of his life’s work in researching insect immunogenomics, Professor Kafatos of the Chair of Genomics and Immunoregulation at Imperial College in London was awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal. The scientist was also President of the European Research Council from 2007 to 2010.

By discovering many genes, his research contributed to a better understanding of the immune system of the anopheles species of malaria mosquito. When the mosquito absorbs the plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria, by consuming human blood, the parasite can multiply by deactivating certain genes in the insect, while no multiplication occurs if other genes are deactivated. The objectives of the research include using genetic or chemical processes to deactivate the genes which promote multiplication of the parasites, thus preventing the transmission of malaria.