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Pierre Michetti was born in Switzerland. He graduated from Lausanne University Medical School in 1983. He is currently Professor of Gastroenterology and Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Lausanne University Medical Center.
After residency and an MD thesis in internal medicine, he went to the laboratory of J. K. Kraehenbuhl, at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research. Here, he spent four years working on the synthesis of recombinant secretory IgA, and on the cellular mechanisms of IgA translocation through intestinal cells. This was his introduction to mucosal immunity - a field that is still the center of his scientific interest. He then went on to do a post-doc in Marian Neutra's lab, at the Harvard Medical School Children's Hospital. Here he worked on the role of IgA in the protection of the intestinal mucosa against Gram-negative enteropathogens (Salmonella, Shigella, and Cholera).
Professor Michetti returned to Switzerland to start a GI fellowship under André Blum's direction. This was done in parallel with a project aimed at the development of a vaccine against Helicobacter pylori. During the project, the team identified the first protective antigen of this pathogen. They also conducted the first human trials with a candidate Helicobacter vaccine in humans. In addition, they worked on the role of probiotics in the protection against H. pylori.
Professor Michetti returned to Harvard as an Assistant Professor in Medicine, after his fellowship ended. He also worked in the Division of Gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In Boston, he continued to work on the mechanisms of protection induced by vaccination in the gastric mucosa. His clinical interest drove him to collaborate closely with Mark Peppercorn, MD, to become the Co-director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
He was appointed to his current position in late 2000.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- GI was the obvious specialty of internal medicine, where I could merge my clinical and my research interests. I further liked the technical side of the specialty.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- André Blum, for his vision and superior intelligence.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Stanley Falkow's papers on bacteria and epithelial cell cross talk.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- That therapeutic immunization against Helicobacter pylori was possible.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Not to have challenged the mice we immunized for 2 years, with H. pylori lysates and cholera toxin, in the aim to raise IgA monoclonal antibodies. We would have been first to show that immunization against H. pylori was possible.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To master a musical instrument.
- How do you relax?
- Listening to music (Jazz, African, and Cuban).
- What is your favorite sport?
- What is your best place in the world?
- Havana, Cuba.
- What is your favorite film?
- "In the Mood for Love" by Wong Kar-wai.
- What car do you drive?
- BMW 328ci.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- Palm Pilot Vx.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "Stupeur et Tremblements" [Fear and Trembling] by Amélie Nothomb.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- Roy Pounder asked me with such enthusiasm.