Didier Raoult

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Didier Raoult
Born 1952
Nationality French
Fields Microbiology
Institutions La Timone Hospital
Aix-Marseille University

Didier Raoult (born in 1952) is a French biology researcher. He holds MD and PhD degrees, and specializes in infectious diseases. He is "classified among the first ten French researchers by the journal Nature, for the number of his publications (a credit of more than one thousand) and for his citations number, as it was reported in 2008 by the daily economic newspaper resuming his work.".[1] Moreover, according to the source ISI Web Of Knowledge, Didier Raoult is the researcher who publishes the most in France to date (June 2012).

In 1984, he created the Rickettsia Unit at Aix-Marseille University. He also teaches infectious diseases in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of the Mediterranean, and since 1982 has managed 74 M.D. theses and since 1989, 38 PhD theses. As of 2010, he has 1,531 indexed publications, with a sum of the times cited of 35,526 and an H-index of 83 (source: SCI, Web of Science), including 7 papers in Science and 2 in Nature, (source: PubMed) the two most representative reviews according to the academic ranking of world universities.

Since 2008, professor Raoult has been the director the "URMITE" i.e. the Research Unit in Infectious and Tropical Emergent Diseases, collaborating with CNRS (National Center for the Scientific Research), IRD (Research for the Development Institute), INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research)and the Aix Marseille University, in Marseille. His laboratory employs 140 people, including 45 very active researchers who publish between 150 and 200 papers per year,[1] and had produced 29 patents to date.

Research topics[edit]

Giant Viruses[edit]

Raoult's team carried out the discovery of very large sizes of viruses :

  • In 1992, the team discovers the largest virus known to date: the Mimivirus[2]
  • Later, they discover the first virophage,[3] a virus able to infect another virus to reproduce. The discovery appears promising: "by exploiting this mechanism, scientists may consider profitably using the strategy of viral infection to attack the most resistant viruses."[1]
  • In 2009, the team discovers another giant virus, named Marseillevirus[4]

New bacteria[edit]

Since the 1990s, Raoult and his team have identified and described approximately 96 new pathogenic bacteria[1] and showed their implication in human pathologies. Two bacteria have been named for him: Raoultella planticola and Rickettsia raoultii.

Rickettsia, Bartonella, Q fever[edit]

Raoult developed the field of the intracellular bacteria culture, then initiated the field of the emergent rickettsioses and with his team could identify 10 new human pathogenic Rickettsia species. The laboratory quickly became a National Reference Center (partnership with InVS : National Health Institute) and a WHO collaborator center.

For Bartonella, the team was the first to identify their role in endocarditis.

For Q fever, a disease transmitted by the bacterial agent Coxiella burnetii, the whole of the diagnostic protocols as well on serologic as molecular biology aspects were set up at the laboratory.[5]

Whipple’s disease[edit]

Tropheryma whipplei, the causal agent of Whipple's disease, was described in 1907 by George Hoyt Whipple, M.D., but was isolated for the first time in Raoult's laboratory.[6] The discovery of this bacteria completely changed the profile of the disease and it is now shown that the bacteria is relatively common in the environment and the stools.[7]


Mediterranean Habour, Marseilles has been exposed to multiple epidemics. This led Raoult's laboratory to collaborate with anthropologists and odontologists teams, in order to identify the cause of the plague epidemics. They developed an original technique of DNA extraction from dental pulp and showed that Yersinia pestis orientalis was at the origin of various plague epidemics (Justinian plague and medieval plague). This also led them to elucidate the cause of death of many of Napoleon’s soldiers during the Russian retreat, following the discovery of a mass grave in Vilnius. The possibilities of new discovery in this field are varied and promising.[8]


In 1999, Raoult decided to start a new program of genomics and to apply this to clinical microbiology. The team started with Rickettsia conorii and since then, 24 bacterial genomes have been sequenced, as well as those of 7 giant viruses (14 of these 31 sequenced genomes having been published)[9]

Microbial culturomics[edit]

Microbial culturomics is a new approach of biodiversity applied to human microbiota. In a study carried out by the laboratory and published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection in September 2012,[10] this technique permit us to realise five world records: - The largest number of bacterial species isolated from a human stool (human excrement) - The largest virus isolated from a human to date - The largest bacterium isolated from a man to date - The largest number of new bacterial species found in one study (31 species).


The last field of research developed by Raoult represents for him major question of public health. It relates to handling of the intestinal flora and obesity.[11] Raoult is investigating whether there is a link between probiotics added in the industrial dairy products and obesity.

In the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology of September 2009, Raoult indicates: "humans, particularly children, have been taking these same probiotics for many years, especially in fermented dairy products" and they would have their share of responsibility in the human obesity epidemic …" [12]

Didier Raoult's book list[edit]

1. Kazar J, Raoult D. Rickettsiae and Rickettsial diseases. Slovak Academy of Sciences ed. Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, 1991.

2. Argenson JN, Aubaniac JM, Curvale G, Groulier P, Drancourt M, Raoult D. L'infection ostéoarticulaire sur prothèse - Prévention, Diagnostic, Traitement. 1992.

3. Raoult D. Antimicrobial Agents and Intracellular Parasites. Boca Raton: CRC Press Book, 1993

4. Mege JL, Revillard JP, Raoult D. Immunité et Infection - Concepts immunologiques et perspectives thérapeutiques. Arnette, 1997.

5. Raoult D. Maîtrise de la prescription des antibiotiques dans les hôpitaux. Elsevier ed. Paris: Elsevier, 1998.

6. Raoult D. Dictionnaire de maladies infectieuses. Paris: Elsevier, 1998.

7. Yu VL, Merigan TC, Barriere SL, et al. Antimicrobial Therapy and Vaccines. Williams & Wilkins, 1998.

8. Raoult D, Nigoghossian JP, Cartapanis A. L'Université de la Méditerranée face aux défis du troisième millénaire. 1999.

9. Raoult D, Tilton R. Dictionnary of Infectious Diseases. Elsevier ed. Paris: Elsevier, 1999.

10. Raoult D. Les nouvelles maladies infectieuses. Que sais-je? ed. Paris: Presse Universitaires de France, 1999.

11. Raoult D, Brouqui P. Rickettsiae and Rickettsial Diseases at the Turn of the Third Millenium. Paris: Elsevier, 1999.

12. Yu VL, Weber R, Raoult D. Antimicrobial Therapy and Vaccine. 2d ed. New York: Apple Trees Production, LLC, 2002.

13. Hechemy KE, Avsic-Zupanc T, Childs JE, Raoult DA. Rickettsiology - present and Future Directions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences ed. United States of America: K-M Research/PCP, 2003.

14. Hechemy KE, Oteo JA, Raoult DA, Silverman DJ, Blanco JR. Rickettsioses - From Genome to proteome, Pathobiology, and Rickettsiae as an International Threat. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences ed. New York: GYAT/PCP, 2005.

15. Raoult D. Les nouveaux risques infectieux, grippe aviaire, SRAS et après ? Paris: Lignes de Repères, 2005.

16. Hechemy KE, Oteo JA, Raoult DA, Silverman DJ, Blanco JR. Century of Rickettsiology - Emerging, reemerging Rickettsioses, Molecular Diagnostics, and Emerging Veterinary Rickettsioses. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences ed. Boston,USA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

17. Raoult D, Parola P. Rickettsial Diseases. New York: Informa Healthcare USA, Inc, 2007.

18.Raoult D, Edition d'un ouvrage de référence sur les rickettsioses, 2007.

19.Raoult D, Drancourt M, Paleomicrobiology – Past Human Infection, Springer, 2008.

20. Raoult D,Dépasser Darwin, Plon, 2010.

21. Raoult D. Grippe aviaire, SRAS : vivre avec les nouveaux risques infectieux, 2012, Ebook Kindle, Amazon.

22. Raoult D. De l'ignorance et de l'aveuglement : pour une science postmoderne, 2012, Ebook Kindle, Amazon.

23. Raoult D. Of Ignorance and Blindness, 2013, Ebook Kindle, Amazon.

See also[edit]


IHU Mediterranee-infection.com

related Articles[edit]


  • "Rencontre avec un chercheur de microbes", in Le Point, 1 January 2009, n° 1894.
  • "Dépasser Darwin" (Beyond Darwin) 2011


  1. ^ a b c d "Didier Raoult, a voluntary researcher". Les Échos. 29 October 2008. p. 13. 
  2. ^ Raoult, D; Audic, S; Robert, C; Abergel, C; Renesto, P; Ogata, H; La Scola, B; Suzan, M; Claverie, JM (2004). "The 1.2-megabase genomic sequence of Mimivirus". Science 306 (5700): 1344–50. doi:10.1126/science.1101485. PMID 15486256. 
  3. ^ La Scola, B; Desnues, C; Pagnier, I; Robert, C; Barrassi, L; Fournous, G; Merchat, M; Suzan-Monti, M; Forterre, P; Koonin, Eugene; Raoult, Didier (2008). "The virophage is a single parasite of the giant mimivirus". Nature 455 (7209): 100–4. doi:10.1038/nature07218. PMID 18690211. 
  4. ^ Boyer, M; Yutin, N; Pagnier, I; Barrassi, L; Fournous, G; Espinosa, L; Robert, C; Azza, S; Sun, S; Rossmann, M. G.; Suzan-Monti, M.; La Scola, B.; Koonin, E. V.; Raoult, D. (2009). "Giant Marseillevirus highlights the role amoebae have as a melting pot in emergence of chimeric microorganisms". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) 106 (51): 21848–53. doi:10.1073/pnas.0911354106. PMC 2799887. PMID 20007369. 
  5. ^ Raoult, Didier; Parola, Philippe (2007). Rickettsial Diseases. New York: Informed Healthcare. ISBN 978-0-8493-7611-5. 
  6. ^ Raoult, D; Birg, ML; Scola, B; Fournier, EP; Enea, M; Lepidi, H; Roux, V; Piette, JC; Vandenesch, F; Vital-Durand, Denis; Marrie, Tom J. (2000). "Cultivation of the bacillus of Whipple's disease". New England Journal of Medicine 342 (9): 620–5. doi:10.1056/NEJM200003023420903. PMID 10699161. 
  7. ^ Fenollar, F; Puéchal, X; Raoult, D (2007). "Whipple's disease". New England Journal of Medicine 356 (1): 55–66. doi:10.1056/NEJMra062477. PMID 17202456. 
  8. ^ Raoult, Didier; Drancourt, Michel (2008). Paleomicrobiology, past human infections. Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-75854-9. 
  9. ^ Fournier, EP; Drancourt, M; Raoult, D (2007). "Bacterial genomic sequencing and its use in infectious diseases". Lancet Infect Say 7 (11): 711–23. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70260-8. 
  10. ^ Lagier JC, Armougom F, Million M, Hugon P Pagnier I, Robert C, et al. Microbial culturomics: paradigm shift in the human gut microbiome study. Clinical Microbiology and Infection 2012; ePublication
  11. ^ Raoult, D (2008). "Human microbiome: take-home lesson one growth promoters?". Nature 454 (7205): 690–1. doi:10.1038/454690c. PMID 18685678. 
  12. ^ Raoult, D (September 2009). "Probiotics and obesity: a link?". Nature Reviews Microbiology 7 (9): 616. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2209. PMID 21548178.