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Jean Dausset

Jean DaussetAKA Jean Baptiste Gabriel Joachim Dausset

Born: 19-Oct-1916
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: 6-Jun-2009
Location of death: Mallorca, Spain
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Recognition of HLA antigens

Military service: French Army (Medical Corps, 1939-45)

French immunologist Jean Dausset studied the genetics of immunological reactions, and showed that tissue transplants were much more likely to be successful when both donor and recipient shared the same human leukocyte antigen group (HLA) types. Dausset received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1980, sharing the honor with two Americans, Baruj Benacerraf and George D. Snell.

As a young man he was a medic with the French Army in World War II, overseeing thousands of blood transfusions, and he yearned to understand the frequent adverse transfusion reactions. When France was occupied by German forces he gave his identification papers to a Jewish colleague, ensuring the friend's escape. After the war he became a doctor, studied transfusion reactions, and conducted research that led to discovery of an antigen on certain people's white blood cells. Further research suggested that these and other newfound antigens were part of the human MHC (major histocompatibility complex), a set of linked genes.

With his Nobel Prize cash award, Dausset established the Foundation Jean Dausset Human Polymorphism Study Center (CEPH), originally a resource center for the mapping of the human genome. Its other projects have included finding and cloning disease-related genes, and research into hepatitis, colon-rectal cancer cell lines, and Crohn's disease. At his death in 2009, Dausset was the chairman of the France Bone Marrow Grafts Registry, the agency that matches bone marrow donors and recipients in France.

Father: Henri Dausset (physician)
Mother: Elizabeth Brullard Dausset
Wife: Rosita Lopez Dausset (m. 1963)
Son: Henri Dausset
Daughter: Irène Dausset

    High School: Lycée Michelet, Marseille, France (1935)
    University: BS Mathematics, University of Paris (1939)
    Medical School: MD, University of Paris (1945)
    Administrator: Laboratory Director, French National Blood Transfusion Center (1946-48, 49-58)
    Scholar: Haematology, Harvard Medical School (1948-49)
    Teacher: Haematology, University of Paris (1958-63)
    Professor: Haematology, University of Paris (1963-77)
    Administrator: Director, French National Institute for Scientific Research (1968-)
    Professor: Experimental Medicine, Collège de France (1977-)

    Wolf Prize in Medicine 1978
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1980 (with Baruj Benacerraf and George D. Snell)
    French Academy of Sciences
    French Ancestry

Author of books:
Histocompatibility (1976, with George D. Snell and Stanley Nathenson)
HLA and Disease (1977, with Arne Svejgaard)
Clein d'oeil a la Vie (1998, autobiography)
HLA-G Expression as Regulator of Immune Recognition (1999, with Edgardo D Carosella)

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