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What is the Pasteur Institute?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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The Pasteur Institute is a world-famous French research organization which focuses on the prevention and treatment of disease worldwide. In addition to the Institute's main headquarters in Paris, the organization has a number of international research stations performing field research all over the world. Over 2,000 people from every continent work in the Paris research facility, conducting cutting-edge research on a wide range of diseases. The Pasteur Institute is widely regarded as a research institution of the highest caliber.

This non-profit was founded by Louis Pasteur with the assistance of an international fund in 1887. Initially established to develop a vaccine for rabies, the Pasteur Institute quickly grew, with Pasteur encouraging the development of a highly scientific environment in which researchers were encouraged to explore a variety of topics and communicate with each other about their findings. The focus of the institute rapidly became the prevention and treatment of infectious disease, and the Pasteur Institute did a great deal of groundbreaking work in the field of microbiology.

In the 20th century, eight Pastorians were recognized with Nobel prizes for their work. Some of the more notable accomplishments of the Institut Pasteur, as it is known in French, include the discoveries of HIV, bacteriophages, the acetylcholine receptor, and the bacterium which causes the plague. The Pasteur Institute has also been involved in the development of numerous vaccines and treatments for a range of diseases.

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As part of its mission, the Pasteur Institute helps to process information from emerging epidemics, performs public health outreach including education and vaccination programs, leads symposiums and lecture programs showcasing new developments in the public health field, and works on the development of new treatments for disease. The Institute includes virology, parasitology, immunology, and neuroscience labs, along with facilities to research genetics and epidemiology, among other departments.

People from all over the world travel to study and research at the Pasteur Institute. The Institute offers post-graduate training to people in a variety of fields, along with coveted internships for students still doing their graduate work. Top-level researchers are also invited to work at the Pasteur Institute, putting their knowledge to use for the benefit of global public health. Funding for the Institute comes from the French government, patent sales, private funding, and licensing fees, among other sources.

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