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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

Antonio Lanzavecchia receives the 2017 Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award

on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Antonio Lanzavecchia, Director of the IRB and Professor at the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), immunologist known for his work on antigen presentation, T cell activation, immunological memory and human monoclonal antibodies, has been honored with the 2017 Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award. The award recognizes investigators for past or ongoing work demonstrating real scientific progress in the life sciences. Antonio Lanzavecchia was rewarded for his research on the role of human monoclonal antibodies in the fight against malaria.

Antonio Lanzavecchia received the international award along with Michel C. Nussenzweig from the Rockefeller University and Jeffrey I. Gordon of Washington University. The three laureates, together with two national junior award recipients, received their Awards during a ceremony that took place on December 12th at the Institut Pasteur (Paris) in the presence of Pr. Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur and Olivier Brandicourt, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi, and members of the Jury.

Lanzavecchia received the EMBO Gold Medal and the Cloetta Prize and very recently, the 2017 Robert Koch Award. He is also a member of the EMBO, of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and of the US National Academy of Sciences. He is a pioneer for the research on human immunology and made groundbreaking contributions on the development of new vaccines and immunotherapies. From 2009 to 2016, Lanzavecchia has been professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and since 2017 is Professor at the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences of the USI.

Lanzavecchia’s laboratory currently investigates the mechanisms of antibody-mediated resistance to infectious diseases. They use high-throughput cellular screens to isolate potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies, which can be developed for prophylaxis and treatment of infectious diseases and used as tools for vaccine design. They also address fundamental aspects of the antibody response, such as the role of somatic mutations in affinity maturation and the relationship between infection and autoimmunity. Recently, they discovered in malaria-immune individuals a new mechanism of antibody diversification that involves insertions of templated DNA sequences into immunoglobulin genes.

Created in 2012, the Sanofi – Institut Pasteur Awards are the result of a historical and privileged collaboration between two partners, Sanofi and the Institut Pasteur, to promote and support scientific excellence and innovation in service of global health. The Jury is composed of esteemed members, all of them recipients of distinguished prizes, including Nobel Prizes of Physiology and Medicine.

The IRB wishes to congratulate Prof. Lanzavecchia for this very prestigious award.