Agnes Ullmann

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Agnes Ullmann
Born(1927-04-14)April 14, 1927
DiedFebruary 25, 2019(2019-02-25) (aged 91)
Paris, France
EducationBudapest University
AwardsRobert Koch Medal (2002)
Scientific career
InstitutionsInstitut Pasteur

Agnes Ullmann (April 14, 1927[1] – February 25, 2019) was a French microbiologist.


Ullmann received her doctorate in microbiology from the University of Budapest. After a research visit to Institut Pasteur in 1958/59 working with Jacques Monod, she moved to France in 1960 with the support of Monod, who smuggled her and her husband over the Austria/Hungary border in a Hungarian caravan.[2][3] With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation she went to the laboratory of Monod at the Institut Pasteur, where she remained for the rest of her career. There she became a professor, laboratory director and in 1982 a member of the Board of Directors.

Ullmann initially dealt with the effects of antibiotics at the Institut Pasteur and was able to elucidate, among other things, the mode of action of streptomycin (as an inhibitor of protein synthesis in bacteria). She also studied the effect of Second Messenger cAMP in the bacterial cell.[4] In 1967 she showed that cAMP reverses catabolite repression in the bacterium E. coli. Later, she discovered another factor that boosts catabolite repression (catabolite modulator factor, or CMF).

Ullmann subsequently dealt with the mode of action of the whooping cough pathogen and its toxin. She showed that the toxin increases the cAMP production in the host cell and thus disturbs their metabolism. The ability of the toxin to provide other molecules with access to the attacked host cell also helped her to develop vaccines by coupling the genetically engineered whooping cough toxin with antigenic fragments that were to be immunized against.[5]

In 2002 she received the Robert Koch Medal. She was an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM). EAM President Philippe Sansonetti recalled all her contributions to microbiology in the "In memoriam Agnes Ullmann" [6]

In 1978, with André Lwoff, she published a collection of essays by Jacques Monod[7] and she published two anthologies in memory of him.[8][9]

Ullmann became a French citizen since 1966.[5]


  • Ullmann, Agnès; Lwoff, André, eds. (2003). Origins of molecular biology : a tribute to Jacques Monod. Washington, D.C: ASM Press. ISBN 1-55581-281-3. OCLC 53138790.
  • Quagliariello, Ernesto; Bernardi, Giorgio; Ullmann, Agnes, eds. (1987). From enzyme adaptation to natural philosophy: heritage from Jacques Monod — proceedings of the Symposium "Jacques Monod and Molecular Biology, Yesterday and Today" held in Trani, Italy, 13-15 December 1986. Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier Science. ISBN 0-444-80887-6. OCLC 15631828.
  • Ullmann, Agnès; Danchin, Antoine; Gasser, Francis, eds. (1986). Régulation de l'expression génétique : rôle de l'AMP cyclique (in French). Paris: Hermann. ISBN 2-7056-1416-8. OCLC 14962384.
  • Ullmann, Agnes; Jacob, François; Monod, Jacques (1967). "Characterization by in vitro complementation of a peptide corresponding to an operator-proximal segment of the β-galactosidase structural gene of Escherichia coli". Journal of Molecular Biology. Elsevier BV. 24 (2): 339–343. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(67)90341-5. ISSN 0022-2836. PMID 5339877.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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  1. ^ "ISNI 0000000066423234 Agnes Ullmann (born 1928 - died February 25, 2019, Paris 16e (France))". ISNI. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  2. ^ "The Main Characters". Sean B. Carroll. Retrieved 16 October 2018. A blog post by Sean B. Carroll about his book on Monod, Brave Genius, with photo from Ullmann
  3. ^ Ullmann, Agnes (13 October 2012). "A Fortunate Journey on Uneven Grounds". Annual Review of Microbiology. Annual Reviews. 66 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1146/annurev-micro-092611-150133. ISSN 0066-4227.
  4. ^ "Ullmann, Multiple action of cAMP: from gene regulation to bacterial virulence, Robert Koch Foundation Lecture on the occasion of the Koch Medal 2002". Archived from the original on 3 October 2003.
  5. ^ a b Kurth 2002.
  6. ^ "Ullman Agnes". Hungarian Academy of Sciences (in Hungarian). Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. ^ Ullman and Lwoff (eds.) 2003.
  8. ^ Quagliariello, Bernardi, and Ullmann (eds.) 1987.
  9. ^ Ullman (ed.) 1986.