Professor Pascale Cossart is a pioneering cellular microbiologist who has made significant contributions to our understanding of how bacteria both infect, and survive within, host cells. She uses the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a model, with her research paving the way for future therapeutics.
She is currently a Professor and Head of the Unité des Interactions Bactéries Cellules at the Pasteur Institute. She was also a Professor of Biochemistry at the Royal School of Medicine in Vientiane, Laos from 1974 – 1975 before working at Pasteur Institute in Paris from 1988 until the present.
Professor Cossart’s research provides a detailed picture of the factors which make Listeria such an effective infectious agent. She identified different proteins that Listeria uses to enter cells, move, and disseminate in tissues. Through the creation of a transgenic mouse model, she paved the way for in vivo studies. Professor Cossart has also unveiled new regulatory mechanisms in bacteria and is now deciphering how bacteria induce epigenetic changes during infection.
Professor Cossart has received several prestigious awards and recognitions, not only for her research but also for her role as a mentor and promoter of interdisciplinary collaboration. These awards include the Robert Koch Prize for biomedical science in 2007 in Germany, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2008 in Switzerland, the Balzan Prize in 2013 in Italy, the 2014 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award, and most recently, the FEMS-Lwoff Award in 2019 in the UK. She became the Honorary Doctor of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden in 2020.