2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.
J. Hoffmann is Professor at the University of Strasbourg and has spent most of his career working with the French National Research Agency CNRS. The studies of the Hoffmann laboratory have been devoted over the last 30 years to unravelling the mechanisms of antimicrobial defenses in Diptera, namely in Drosophila. They have identified inducible antimicrobial peptides as primary immune response genes and have deciphered significant steps in the signaling cascade leading to gene reprogramming. They have further characterized the receptor proteins interacting with bacterial peptidoglycans and fungal -glucans. Of major interest was the discovery of the involvement of the Toll receptor (initially identified by Ch. Nüsslein-Volhard for its role in embryonic development) in the response to fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infection.
Altogether the studies of the Strasbourg laboratory have established Drosophila as an important model system for innate immunity and have contributed to a reevalution of this defense arm in the physiology of antimicrobial defense.
J. Hoffmann is the recipient of many international awards, including the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.