Jules A. Hoffmann
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011
Born: 2 August 1941, Echternach, Luxembourg
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity”
Prize share: 1/4
Jules Hoffmann was born in Echternach, Luxembourg, and later studied biology at the university in Strasbourg, France, where he earned his doctoral degree in 1969. After a period of residence in Marburg, Germany, Hoffmann returned till Strasbourg, where he has served as a director of research laboratories under the French national research institute Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). He has also served as a professor at the university in Strasbourg. His wife, Daniele, is among his scientific colleagues and the couple has two children together.
When bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms attack our bodies, our immune system goes to work. It has two lines of defence, the innate immunity and the adaptive immunity. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann have contributed to our understanding of how so-called receptors detect microorganisms and activate our innate immunity. In 1996, by studying fruit flies with mutations, Hoffmann showed that the so-called Toll-gene is active in the development of receptors which are crucial for the immune system of the fly.