Jules Bordet

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Jules Bordet
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Jules Bordet
Jules Jean Baptiste Vincent Bordet

(1870-06-13)13 June 1870
Died6 April 1961(1961-04-06) (aged 90)
Resting place Ixelles Cemetery
Alma mater Free University of Brussels

Jules Jean Baptiste Vincent Bordet ( /bɔːrˈd/ ; 13 June 1870 – 6 April 1961) was a Belgian immunologist and microbiologist. The bacterial genus Bordetella is named after him. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to him in 1919 for his discoveries relating to immunity.

Belgium federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Microbiologist person who investigates the characteristics of microscopic organisms

A microbiologist is a scientist who studies microscopic life forms and processes. This includes study of the growth, interactions and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites and their vectors. Most microbiologists work in offices and/or research facilities, both in private biotechnology companies as well as in academia. Most microbiologists specialize in a given topic within microbiology such as bacteriology, parasitology, virology, or immunology.

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.


Education and early life

Bordet was born at Soignies, Belgium. He graduated as Doctor of Medicine from the Free University of Brussels in 1892 and began his work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1894, in the laboratory of Elie Metchnikoff, who had just discovered phagocytosis of bacteria by white blood cells, an expression of cellular immunity.

Soignies Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Soignies is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut.

Pasteur Institute organization

The Pasteur Institute is a French non-profit private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. It is named after Louis Pasteur, who made some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine at the time, including pasteurization and vaccines for anthrax and rabies. The institute was founded on June 4, 1887, and inaugurated on November 14, 1888.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.


In 1895 Bordet made his discovery that the bacteriolytic effect of acquired specific antibody is significantly enhanced in vivo by the presence of innate serum components which he termed alexine (but which are now known as complement). Four years later, in 1899, he described a similar destructive process involving complement, "hemolysis", in which foreign red blood cells are ruptured or "lysed" following exposure to immune serum. In 1900, he left Paris to found the Pasteur Institute in Brussels but continued to work extensively on the mechanisms involved in the action of complement. These studies became the basis for complement-fixation testing methods that enabled the development of serological tests for syphilis (specifically, the development of the Wassermann test by August von Wassermann). The same technique is used today in serologic testing for countless other diseases.

Antibody large Y-shaped protein produced by B-cells, used by the immune system; large, Y-shaped protein produced mainly by plasma cells that is used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses

An antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large, Y-shaped protein produced mainly by plasma cells that is used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique molecule of the pathogen, called an antigen, via the Fab's variable region. Each tip of the "Y" of an antibody contains a paratope that is specific for one particular epitope on an antigen, allowing these two structures to bind together with precision. Using this binding mechanism, an antibody can tag a microbe or an infected cell for attack by other parts of the immune system, or can neutralize its target directly. Depending on the antigen, the binding may impede the biological process causing the disease or may activate macrophages to destroy the foreign substance. The ability of an antibody to communicate with the other components of the immune system is mediated via its Fc region, which contains a conserved glycosylation site involved in these interactions. The production of antibodies is the main function of the humoral immune system.

Complement system part of the immune system that enhances (complements) the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from an organism, promotes inflammation, and attacks the pathogens cell membrane

The complement system is a part of the immune system that enhances (complements) the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from an organism, promotes inflammation, and attacks the pathogen's cell membrane. It is part of the innate immune system, which is not adaptable and does not change over the course of an individual's lifetime. The complement system can, however, be recruited and brought into action by antibodies generated by the adaptive immune system.

Hemolysis or haemolysis, also known by several other names, is the rupturing (lysis) of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and the release of their contents (cytoplasm) into surrounding fluid. Hemolysis may occur in vivo or in vitro.

With Octave Gengou, he isolated Bordetella pertussis in pure culture in 1906 and posited it as the cause of whooping cough. He became Professor of Bacteriology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1907.

Octave Gengou was a Belgian bacteriologist. He researched with Jules Bordet the Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

<i>Bordetella pertussis</i> species in the genus Bordetella

Bordetella pertussis is a Gram-negative, aerobic, pathogenic, encapsulated coccobacillus of the genus Bordetella, and the causative agent of pertussis or whooping cough. Unlike B. bronchiseptica, B. pertussis is not motile. Its virulence factors include pertussis toxin, filamentous hæmagglutinin, pertactin, fimbria, and tracheal cytotoxin.

Bacteriology study of bacteria

Bacteriology is the branch and specialty of biology that studies the morphology, ecology, genetics and biochemistry of bacteria as well as many other aspects related to them. This subdivision of microbiology involves the identification, classification, and characterization of bacterial species. Because of the similarity of thinking and working with microorganisms other than bacteria, such as protozoa, fungi, and viruses, there has been a tendency for the field of bacteriology to extend as microbiology. The terms were formerly often used interchangeably. However, bacteriology can be classified as a distinct science.

Jules Bordet's grave in Ixelles Cemetery Jules Bordet.JPG
Jules Bordet's grave in Ixelles Cemetery

Awards and honours

In March 1916, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society [1] and in 1930, delivered their Croonian Lecture. [2] In this lecture, Bordet also concluded that bacteriophages, the bacteria-killing "invisible viruses" discovered by Felix d'Herelle did not exist and that bacteria destroyed themselves using a process of autolysis. This theory collapsed in 1941 with the publication by Ruska of the first electron microscope pictures of bacteriophages. [3] The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to him in 1919 for his discoveries relating to immunity.

Royal Society English learned society for science

The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society is the United Kingdom's and Commonwealth of Nations' Academy of Sciences and fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement.

Croonian Lecture prestigious lectureships given at the invitation of the Royal Society and the Royal College of Physicians

The Croonian Lectures are prestigious lectureships given at the invitation of the Royal Society and the Royal College of Physicians.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

Bordet died in 1961 and was interred in the Ixelles Cemetery in Brussels.

Ixelles Cemetery cemetery

The Ixelles Cemetery, located in Ixelles in the southern part of Brussels, is one of the major cemeteries in Belgium.

The Bordet railway station in Brussels is named after him.

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Élie Metchnikoff Russian-French immunologist, embryologist, biologist, Nobel laureat

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Wassermann test

The Wassermann test or Wassermann reaction (WR) is an antibody test for syphilis, named after the bacteriologist August Paul von Wassermann, based on complement fixation. It was the first blood test for syphilis and the first in the nontreponemal test (NTT) category. Newer NTTs, such as the RPR and VDRL tests, have mostly replaced it.

August von Wassermann German bacteriologist

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Université libre de Bruxelles French-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium

The Université libre de Bruxelles, abbreviated ULB, is a French-speaking private research university in Brussels, Belgium.

Félix dHerelle French-Canadian microbiologist, the co-discoverer of bacteriophages

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Institut Jules Bordet is a specialized general hospital and research institute of the Université Libre de Bruxelles which specializes in oncology. It is located in Brussels, Belgium. The institute is named after Jules Bordet, a Belgian immunologist and microbiologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1919 for his discoveries relating to immunity.

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Frederick Parker Gay was an American bacteriologist who combated typhoid fever and leprosy as well as studied the mechanism of immunity. He was a charter member of the Explorers Club.


  1. Oakley, C. L. (1962). "Jules Jean Baptiste Vincent Bordet 1870-1961". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society . 8: 18. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1962.0002.
  2. "Librart and Archive Catalogue". Royal society. Retrieved 18 December 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. Hausler, Thomas (2007) Viruses Vs. Superbugs: A Solution to the Antibiotics Crisis? Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN   0230551939
  4. Index biographique des membres et associés de l'Académie royale de Belgique (1769-2005).