Dausset, Jean

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Dausset, Jean

Jean Dausset (zhäN dōsĕ´), 1916–2009, French immunologist. A physician specializing in blood diseases, he was the laboratory director of the National Blood Transfusion Center (1946–63) and a professor at the Univ. of Paris (1958–77) and the Collège de France. He identified a gene complex (human leucocyte A complex, or HLA) that accounted for different immunological reactions in humans to blood transfusions and to the introduction of foreign tissues. This was similar to the H-2 complex in mice identified by George Snell. The discovery revolutionized the understanding of the human immune system and aided enormously in the success of organ transplant surgery. Dausset, Snell, and Baruj Benacerraf shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning the relationship between genetics and the immune system. In 1984 Dausset established a research institute in Paris, which became (1993) the Foundation Jean Dausset–CEPH; he served as its president until 2003. The nonprofit institute coordinated the first international collaboration for the mapping of the human genome. Dausset also coauthored a number of books including Histocompatibility (1976) and Immunology (1980).

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