Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, PhD, is the acting Director of the « Regulation of Retroviral Infections » Unit, at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
She is involved in retrovirology research, since the early 1970's. She is recognized for her contributions to HIV/AIDS research, in particular as the first author of the publication that reported in 1983 the discovery of a retrovirus, later named HIV, in a patient at risk for AIDS. In 1988, she became responsible of her own laboratory at the Institute Pasteur and initiated research programs on viral and host determinants of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis.
Between 1988 and 1998, she has also been implicated in collaborative programs on HIV vaccine research, using primate models. Today, the research programs of her team are focused on mechanisms required to induce a protection against HIV/SIV infection and/or against AIDS in human and non human primates.
Along with her research activities, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi has been strongly implicated in promoting integration between HIV/AIDS research and actions in resource limited countries, in particular through the Institute Pasteur International Network and the coordination of the ANRS research programs in Cambodia and Vietnam, according to her strong commitment in building capacity, training and technology transfers on site in Africa and Asia.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is author and co-author of 249 original publications and of more than 120 articles in book reviews. She has been invited as a speaker more than 300 International meetings and/or conferences. She has been (and is still) member of a number of scientific committees in France and elsewhere, including scientific committees of several International AIDS Conferences.
In June 2006, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi was elected as an IAS Governing Council member in the European Region. Through her career, she received more than 10 national or international awards, including the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 together with Prof. Luc Montagnier for her contributions to HIV/AIDS. She was also awarded Doctor honoris causa of a number of universities. In february 2009 she was elected member of the French Academy of Science. In July 2010, it was confirmed that she would become the next President-Elect of the IAS in 2012.
Looking for balance between science and technology in modern research, we can observe it is the latter in the ascendant. Research is being dictated by the availability of technological resources but in the past, the reverse was true. Projects began by a review of the available data from which a scientific hypothesis was constructed, and finally a search for the best technological tools would begin. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi has suggested that in the rush to embrace technology, researchers may be missing the chance to learn from what worked so well in the past.
Dans le duel entre la technologie et la science, cette dernière a du mal. Les chercheurs modernes sont très liés à leur plateforme technologique et s'en inspirent pour conduire leurs recherches. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi suggère de revenir à l'ancienne méthode: à partir des données mondiales dont on dispose sur un sujet donné, proposer un concept ou une hypothèse scientifique et se demander ensuite de quelles technologies on a besoin pour y parvenir.