Dausset photographed by Studio Harcourt Paris in 2005
October 19, 1916
|Died||June 6, 2009
Palma, Majorca, Spain
|Known for||major histocompatibility complex, CEPH|
Dausset won the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 1978. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1980 for his "discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions". He shared the prize with Baruj Benacerraf and George Davis Snell.
Life[change | change source]
He was born on October 19, 1916 in Toulouse, France to Henri Dausset and Elisabeth Dausset (born Renard). Dausset was the youngest of four children. His father was a doctor from Pyrenees and his mother was a housewife from Lorraine. After World War I ended, the family moved to Biarritz where Jean would spend most of his childhood. His father worked at the Bayonne Hospital where he was a head doctor. Seeing this made a great impression on Jean. Jean was home schooled by his mother and a tutor who would come to the house. When Jean turned 11, his family moved to Paris and he began formal schooling at the Lycée Michel when he turned 15. After he was able to earn his baccalaureate in mathematics, he decided to study medicine at the University of Paris after being convinced by his father. Right after he became an extern at the Paris Hospitals when he turned 19, his parents both died. He was unable to pass his internship entrance exam at the Paris Hospitals on his first attempt. He was about to prepare for a second attempt but then World War II started. Dausset was sent off to Northern Italy for a year after he was enlisted in the French Army. After he spent a year there, he returned to Paris, studied and passed his medical internship exam. Soon after passing his exams, Dausset joined the Free French Forces in North Africa as an ambulance worker. He was first stationed in Morocco but was then moved to be stationed in the more active Tunisia. He got his first taste of hematology when he had to perform multiple blood transfusions on the wounded soldiers. When the war was winding down in 1944, Dausset decided to return to Paris and work in the Regional Blood Transfusion Center at the Saint-Antoine Hospital.