Robert Koch Award 2004, together with Jean-Laurent Casanova
This year the Robert Koch Foundation’s €100,000 Robert Koch Award is being equally divided between Professors Jean-Laurent Casanova from Rockefeller University / Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, USA, and Alain Fischer from the Collège de France and Imagine Institute, Hôpital Necker-Enfants-Malades, Paris, France. The two scientists are being honored for their groundbreaking work on understanding host genes and their products in infectious diseases.
Professor Alain Fischer, who is the Director of the Research Institute for Genetic Diseases at the Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France, is also involved in discovering “holes” or switching errors in the immune system – congenital immune defects. As a result of his groundbreaking research work and the gene therapy method developed by him, he is considered one of the pioneers in this field. For example, the pediatric immunologist was the first scientist to successfully deploy gene therapy with young patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID gc).
In addition to gene therapy and the genetics of immunological disorders, the main focus of his work is concerned with researching the lymphoid system, which plays an important role in the immune defenses against pathogens.