Isabelle André, Director of Research at Institut Imagine, joins the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation as Scientific Director for the Health-Biology sector

From June 1st 2023, and for a renewable term of 18 months, Isabelle André, Inserm Research Director and Director of the Human Lymphohematopoiesis Research Laboratory at Institut Imagine (AP-HP, Inserm, Université Paris Cité) will join the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation as Director of the Biology-Health sector of the Research and Innovation Strategy Department (SSRI) headed by Cyril Moulin.

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"The Research and Innovation Strategy Department is involved in structuring French scientific research in coordination with French public and private research bodies and European partners. The Biology-Health department has a staff of around 10. One of its roles is to actively contribute to the deployment of the 'Innovation santé 2030' plan, which is the health component of France 2030, particularly in the areas of emerging infectious diseases, biotechnologies and digital health", explains Isabelle André.

After completing a PhD in immunology in the laboratory of Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoit at Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, Isabelle André continued her career at Institut Pasteur from 1998 to 2000 in Ana Cumano's team, during which time, in parallel with her work on foetal lymphopoiesis, she began to take an interest in clinical and applied research and obtained an inter-university diploma for training clinical trial investigators. She was then recruited by Marina Cavazzana, in the unit headed by Alain Fischer, to work on a cell therapy clinical trial aimed at treating children born with an immune deficiency or suffering from leukaemia. She joined Inserm in 2002 as a research fellow, and was appointed director of research in 2012, still working on topics related to T lymphocyte production in humans and the respective roles of the bone marrow and thymus in this process. She joined Institut Imagine as soon as it was created in 2014, where she headed the "Human lymphohaematopoiesis" laboratory with Marina Cavazzana, then on her own since 2019.

In 2016, she embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure, joining the first intake of the Imagine Bioentrepreneurship Masters, and after a year of maturation, launched the start-up Smart Immune with Marina Cavazzana and Karine Rossignol. The technology used by this start-up has benefited from support from Institut Imagine to develop a protocol for the production of clinical-grade T lymphoid progenitors, enabling the roll-out of 2 clinical trials. Smart Immune now employs 35 people and has recently received $5 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, Isabelle André is continuing her scientific activities, but has decided to make her skills and experience available to the Ministry for a period of 18 months in order to play a full part in the government's health and biology strategy.



About Institut Imagine

Located on the campus of the Necker-Enfants malades hospital, the Institut Imagine is a world leader in research, care and teaching on genetic diseases. Its unique architecture, designed by Jean Nouvel and Bernard Valéro, brings together 1,000 researchers, physicians, teacher-researchers, engineers and health care personnel in a single location to work with patients, with the ambition of accelerating research and diagnosis and therapeutic innovation to change the lives of families affected by genetic diseases. The Institut Imagine has been certified “Institut hospitalo universitaire” (IHU), in 2011 and 2019 and a “Institut Carnot”, in 2020. It is supported by six founding members, including AP-HP, Inserm and Université Paris Cité, as well as by private partners and patrons. Every day in France, 64 babies are born with a genetic disease. Nearly 8,000 genetic diseases affect more than 3 million people, of which nearly one in two is undiagnosed and more than 8 in 10 have no dedicated treatment. Faced with this public health emergency, the challenge is twofold: to diagnose and to cure.