Jean-Laurent Casanova, Ph.D.

Jean-Laurent Casanova, Ph.D.


Rockefeller University

The ISICR is proud to announce the winner of the 2012 Milstein Award. Dr. Jean-Laurent Casanova is Senior Attending Physician and Professor, St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases, at The Rockefeller University.

Dr. Casanova has had a stellar career and has already received many honors. Foremost among the many contributions of Dr. Casanova is the discovery a new group of genetic defects that predispose otherwise healthy individuals or populations to a single type of infection. His discoveries have altered a paradigm that has prevailed in this field for decades. These discoveries have shaped the specific working hypothesis that severe infectious diseases of childhood result from collections of rare single-gene variations. Dr. Casanova’s work helped to decipher the molecular genetic basis of various pediatric infectious diseases, including mycobacterial diseases [mutations in interferon (IFN) gamma receptors IFNGR1 and IFNGR2, but also in STAT1, IL12B, IL12RB1, NEMO, IRF8, CYBB], invasive pneumococcal disease (NEMO, IKBA, IRAK4, MYD88), herpes simplex encephalitis (UNC93B1, TLR3, TRAF3, TRIF), and chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (IL17F, IL17RA, STAT1). These studies have important clinical implications, as they provide a basis for genetic counseling and a rationale for developing new therapeutic approaches based on an understanding of the host component of infectious diseases. These studies also have major biological implications, as they define or help to define the functions of many of these host defense genes.

Dr. Casanova was an international research scholar with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2005 to 2008 and is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Casanova was the recipient of the Professor Lucien Dautrebande Pathophysiology Foundation Prize from the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine in 2004, the Richard Lounsbery Award from the French and American Academies of Sciences in 2008, the Oswald Avery Award from the Infectious Disease Society of America in 2009, the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research in 2010 and the InBev Baillet-Latour Health Prize from the Baillet-Latour Foundation in Belgium in 2011.