After a PhD in genetics and immunology, Pierre Legrain developed his scientific activity at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, including a two-year postdoc stay at Brandeis University (USA). He focused his research on molecular and cell biology, more specifically on the splicing of nuclear pre-messenger RNAs and the export of mature mRNAs from the nucleus. Then, he worked on protein complexes, by developing a method for the exploration of protein-protein interactions at a large scale derived from the two-hybrid assay. This methodology was successfully applied to various organisms, including to the Human proteome. Based on this methodology, he founded in 1998 a biotech company, Hybrigenics where he served as scientific director until 2003.
From 2003 until 2017, Pierre Legrain hold managerial positions in various French research institutions including the CEA (Executive VP for the Life sciences Department), the Ecole polytechnique (Dean of the graduate School) and the Institut Pasteur (Executive VP Development).
Pierre Legrain was associated with the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) since its inception in 2001 after the publication of the Human genome. HUPO is in charge of the characterization of the Human Proteome. In 2009, he led the working group for the creation and the implementation of the worldwide Human proteome project (HPP). HPP is a ten year-program gathering hundred laboratories all over the world aiming at a detailed annotation of the function of all human proteins.
Pierre Legrain has published over 80 scientific articles. His major scientific interest turns on system’s biology and he is currently developing a project, Intermuse, dealing with the transmission of cognitive abilities associated with musical communication.