André Lwoff

Most Popular

Birth Sign

André Michel Lwoff was a French microbiologist, geneticist, and protozoologist who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other French biologists, François Jacob and Jacques Monod, for his work on genetic control of enzymes and virus synthesis. Together with Jacob and Monod, he contributed to the understanding of the lysogeny or lysogenic cycle mechanism, in which bacteriophage, a bacterial virus, infects bacteria and then transmits infection to succeeding generations of bacteria entirely through the host’s cell division. He demonstrated that the infection is transmitted in a non-infectious form known as a prophage. He also demonstrated that the prophage can take on an infective form under certain conditions, resulting in the lysis or disintegration of the bacterial cell’s membrane, and that the viruses released as a result of this disintegration can infect other bacteria hosts. He conducted extensive research on poliovirus, microbiota, and bacteriophages while serving as department head at France’s renowned ‘Pasteur Institute.’ He received numerous honors and awards, including the ‘Leeuwenhoek Medal’ from the ‘Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in 1960 and the French ‘Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer’ in 1964. ‘Problems of Morphogenesis in Ciliates’ (1950) and ‘Biological Order’ (1951) are among his published works (1962).

Childhood & Adolescence

He was born in Ainay-le-Château, Allier, Auvergne, France, on May 8, 1902, to Solomon Lwoff and his wife Marie. His father practiced psychiatry, and his mother was an artist.

He attended the ‘University of Paris’ and graduated with a Science degree in 1921. He then joined France’s ‘Pasteur Institute’ at the age of 19.

At the institute, he met the great French biologist Edouard Chatton, who became his mentor, and the two scientists worked together for approximately seventeen years, until the latter’s death in 1947.

Edouard Chatton assisted him in joining Félix Mesnil’s laboratory at the ‘Pasteur Institute’. He began his research by examining parasitic ciliates and their development cycle, as well as morphogenesis. He also conducted additional research on protozoan nutrition. He earned his M.D. in 1927.

Career of Andre

Throughout his career, he collaborated with his wife, Marguerite Lwoff, née Bourdaleix (a French microbiologist and virologist), although Marguerite did not receive nearly as much recognition for her contributions as her husband did.

She was best known for her metabolic research. Her research began with a group of protozoans called ciliates and expanded to include Apostomatida.

The Lwoff couple were assigned a laboratory at the ‘Pasteur Institute,’ where they conducted research on Haemophilus metabolism and ultimately discovered cozymase’s function.

He earned his Ph.D. in 1932 and, with the assistance of a grant from the ‘Rockefeller Foundation,’ spent a year at the ‘Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research’ in Heidelberg, south-west Germany.

He joined the laboratory of German physician and biochemist Otto Meyerhof and conducted research on haematin, a factor involved in the development of flagellates, protohaematin, and related subjects.

He obtained another grant from the ‘Rockefeller Foundation’ and traveled to the ‘University of Cambridge’ in 1937 with his wife, spending seven months in David Keilin’s laboratory.

In 1938, he was appointed Head of Department at the ‘Pasteur Institute.’ While at the institute, he conducted significant research.

By the time Lwoff began his investigation into the problem of lysogenic bacteria, numerous other studies on the developmental aspects of flagellates and ciliates had been conducted.

After examining isolated bacteria, he concluded that lysogenic bacteria do not secrete bacteriophages. He discovered that the generation of bacteriophages results in the bacterium’s death. Additionally, he suggested that external factors must be responsible for such generation.

He began researching poliovirus in 1954. He conducted research to determine the relationship between the temperature sensitivity of viral development and neurovirulence, and this research prompted him to consider the viral infection problem.

It became clear over time that non-specific factors contribute significantly to the growth of primary infection. He then conducted additional research into the mechanics of specific viral growth inhibitors. In 1956, he was elected a Corresponding Member of the ‘Botanical Society of America.’

In 1958, he was elected a ‘Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London’ (ForMemRS), as well as an Honorary Foreign Member of the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’.

He taught microbiology at the ‘Sorbonne’ from 1959 to 1968. He remained a driving force behind the establishment of the ‘European Organization of Molecular Biology’ in July 1964.

He received the ‘Medal of the Resistance’ in 1964 and was appointed commander of the ‘Légion d’Honneur’ in 1966 for his services during the ‘Second World War.

He left the ‘Pasteur Institute’ in 1968 and became the Director of the ‘Cancer Research Institute’ in Villejuif, near Paris, until 1972.

He was a 1954 Honorary Member of the ‘Harvey Society,’ the ‘New York Academy of Sciences,’ the ‘American Society of Biological Chemists,’ the ‘American Society of Biological Chemists,’ and the ‘Society for General Microbiology’ (1962).

He also maintained membership in a number of national and international societies and committees, including the ‘International Committee for the Organization of Medical Sciences,’ the ‘Société de Pathologie Exotique,’ and the ‘Société Zoologique de France.’

He was the President of both the ‘Société des Microbiologistes de langue française’ and the ‘International Association of Microbiological Societies’.

Several prestigious universities bestowed upon him honorary degrees, including a D.Sc. from the ‘University of Oxford’ and a Doctor of Laws from the ‘University of Glasgow’ in 1963; and an M.D. from the ‘Université catholique de Louvain’ in 1966.

Awards and Accomplishments

He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with two other French biologists, François Jacob and Jacques Monod.

Personal History and Legacies

On December 5, 1925, he married Marguerite Bourdaleix, a French microbiologist and virologist. The couple collaborated closely at the “Pasteur Institute” and continued to work closely together at the “Roscoff Marine

Biological Station” with French biologist Édouard Chatton on parasitical ciliates. He was a humanist who was a vehement opponent of capital punishment.

Lwoff was a musician, painter, and sculptor. He died in Paris on September 30, 1994, at the age of 92. He was the final surviving member of the trio that shared the 1965 ‘Nobel Prize’.

Estimated Net Worth

The net worth of Andre is about $1million.