Jules Hoffmann is Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS), Professor at the University of Strasbourg and senior researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). His research has been dedicated to the study of the genetic and molecular mechanisms responsible for innate immunity in insects and has provided new insights into the defence mechanisms that organisms, from sea anemones up to humans, employ against infectious agents. By demonstrating the marked conservation of innate defence mechanisms between insects and humans, the work initiated by Jules Hoffmann and his collaborators has led to a re-evaluation of the role of innate immunity in mammals.
More generally, the Drosophila model has enabled biologists throughout the world to make considerable progress, not only in development genetics and innate immunity but also in the study of certain human pathologies and in the understanding of phenomena such as memory, behaviour, sleep and nutrition.
In 2011, Jules Hoffmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, with Bruce A. Beutler and Ralph M. Steinman.
Jules Hoffmann set up and headed the CNRS laboratory Endocrinology and Immunology of Insects within the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC) in Strasbourg, which he also directed from 1994 to 2006 and where he still works with his collaborators. He is furthermore responsible for the scientific programmes of the Sino-French Hoffmann Institute (SFHI) at Guangzhou Medical University.
He was President of the French Académie des Sciences in 2007 and 2008, and is a member of the academies of sciences of the United States of America, Germany and Russia. He has been awarded many prestigious prizes such as, in recent years, the Rosenstiel Award for his work on immunity (2010), the Keio Medical Science Prize (2011), the 2011 Gairdner Award for medical research and the 2011 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine. He also received the CNRS Gold Medal. Professor Hoffmann is Commander of the National Order of Merit and Officer of the Legion of Honour in France and was elected as of the 40 members of les immortels (the immortals) at the French Academy in 2012.