Pr Antoine Gessain is a medical virologist who studied in Paris’ hospitals and Universities where he received his MD and PhD.
In 1983-1984, he participated to field epidemiological studies on the human retrovirus HTLV-1 and associated diseases in French West Indies, French Guyana and Western Africa. This led to the discovery of the link between HTLV-1 and a chronic neuromyelopathy called Tropical Spastic Paraparesis-HTLV-1 associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM).
Then, after his residency in Paris’ hospitals he spent two years as post-Doctoral Visiting Fellow in the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology of Dr. RC. Gallo at NCI, Bethesda, USA.
Then, he got a position at the Institut Pasteur in Pr G. de Thé, then Pr L. Montagnier Units (Retrovirology Department). He is since 2001, Unit Chief; Unit of Epidemiology and Physiopathology of Oncogenic viruses (EPVO), and since 2010 Professor at the Institut Pasteur. He has been (2011-2013) President of the Scientific Council.
Most of his scientific achievements concern the clinical (neurological diseases and lympho-proliferations), epidemiological and physiopathological features, as well as genetic variability, of Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and type 3 (HTLV-3) and their simian counterparts, STLV-1 and STLV-3, from which they arose. Furthermore, he is recognized for works on HHV-8 (human herpesvirus 8) and the associated Kaposi’sarcoma. More recently, he has developed works on the emergence of another retroviral infection in human (the foamy virus) following interspecies transmission from Apes to Humans in Central Africa.
Antoine Gessain has been the principal investigator, for nearly 25 years, of several large projects including both laboratory studies and field works, especially in West Indies, Central Africa, and South America. These long-term multidisciplinary projects led to several major and internationally recognized discoveries and developments. For such works, he received several prizes and awards.
He is member of numerous scientific commissions and councils and participates also actively to teaching in virology, especially at the Institut Pasteur.
Since 1984, he published around 300 publications, with more than 12000 citations with an H index of 52.