Bar Harbor, Maine—Internationally prominent immunologist Jacques Banchereau, Ph.D., will join The Jackson Laboratory as professor and director of immunological sciences.
Banchereau served as director of the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, as the Caruth Chair for Transplantation Immunology at the Baylor Research Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and most recently was chief scientific officer of the Nutley, N.J., campus, senior vice president and head of the inflammation and virology discovery and translational areas at Hoffmann-La Roche, the global pharmaceutical company.
"Jacques Banchereau is a distinguished and world-renowned immunologist," says Jackson President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D. "He has made significant discoveries in the field of immunology, including the identification and characterization of several novel interleukins, molecules with a vital role in the immune system, and was among the first to elucidate key biological processes of dendritic cells. His work has led to the development of vaccines, and to better understanding of the inflammatory process and the mechanisms of anti-inflammatory agents on the immune system."
In his new role, Banchereau will focus on building on the historical base of immunological research at The Jackson Laboratory led by Nobel Laureate George Snell, and will expand the program across all three JAX campuses. He will lead the recruitment of new immunological investigators and will pursue areas of medical importance such as cancer immunobiology, autoimmunity and host response to infectious diseases.
"Immunology, like genetics, is essential to human disease research," says Banchereau. "My role is to develop and expand immunology research across The Jackson Laboratory’s campuses and to introduce significant research in the field of infectious diseases. The Laboratory is positioned to be at the very forefront of the worldwide, collaborative research effort needed to make significant progress, and I’m excited to be starting my work here at this time."
Banchereau received undergraduate training as a pharmacist at the University of Angers, France, graduating in 1975. After completing a residency internship at the University of Paris and a research fellowship at Columbia University in New York, he earned his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Paris in 1980.
Beginning his career as a scientist at Schering-Plough France, Banchereau rose to the post of director for immunological research in 1984 before moving to found the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in 1996. The author of more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and about 275 book chapters and reviews, Banchereau also holds 41 patents. He has mentored more than 70 students and trainees. As a principal investigator, he successfully obtained more than $75 million in grant funding from the NIH and other agencies.
The organizer of numerous international meeting, Banchereau has been invited more than 250 times to speak at scientific meetings, conferences and seminars, often as keynote. His many professional honors include the Dana (now Steinman) Award for Human Immunology from the American Association of Immunologists.
Irving Weissman, M.D., Stanford University professor of developmental biology and Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical investigation in Cancer Research, comments, "Jacques Banchereau is a world leader in understanding the science of antigen-presenting cells, especially dendritic cells, and translating discoveries to clinical trials."
"We are delighted that Dr. Banchereau has accepted this leadership position," Liu says. "His experience will undoubtedly energize our immunology research group. We look forward to the exciting opportunities for partnerships between JAX campuses and other institutes afforded to us by his extensive network of colleagues. He is a tremendous addition to our faculty."
Banchereau will set up his laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, now in temporary quarters on the UConn Health Center campus in Farmington, Conn., while a 189,000-square-foot permanent facility is constructed nearby.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and the new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,500. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.