The 2017 Enzyme Engineering Award to Pierre Monsan

Pr. Pierre Monsan wins the 2017 Enzyme Engineering Award. In the names of Engineering Conferences International (ECI) and Genencor, the 2017 Award will be presented at the 24th Enzyme Engineering Conference, 24-28 September, in Toulouse, France.

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of enzyme engineering, through basic or applied research in academia or industry.

Professor Pierre Monsan earned his engineering degree in Biological Chemistry (1969) from the National Institute for Applied Sciences (INSA), University of Toulouse, France, as well as his Doctor-Engineer Degree (1971) and his PhD degree (1977). He obtained a Lecturer position in the Department of Biochemical Engineering at INSA in 1969, and was promoted Assistant Professor in 1973 and Full Professor in 1981.

He founded one of the very first French start-up companies, BioEurope, focusing on the field of Biocatalysis in 1984. In 1993, BioEurope merged with the Solabia Group. He returned to INSA to create the Gilbert Durand Bioengineering Center and to start a new research group focusing on enzyme molecular engineering with Prof. Magali Remaud-Simeon. He was appointed Professor at Ecole des Mines Paris in 1993. He was involved in the creation of BioTrade in 1996 and of GeniBio in 1998. From 1999 to 2004 he headed the Department of Biochemical Engineering at INSA. He was elected member of the French University Institute (IUF) in 2003 and re-elected in 2008.

He founded Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB) in 2012 with a €20m grant from the French Government. He is presently Professor Emeritus at INSA and Director of TWB.

Professor Monsan has made many significant contributions to the field of enzyme engineering. His early work was on enzyme immobilization and enzyme reactor development. He elucidated the mechanism of action of glutaraldehyde, one of the most widely used reagents for enzyme covalent binding. In the late 70s, he was one of the very first researchers to use enzymes in non-aqueous media to “transform” hydrolytic enzymes into synthetic enzymes for ester, amide and glycosidic linkage synthesis. His group at INSA has made very significant contributions to the field of glucansucrases.

Professor Monsan is the author of more than 240 publications, 3 books and 65 patents. Also, he is Chairman of the French Federation of Biotechnology and a member of:

  • the French Academy of Technology,
  • the French Academy of Agriculture,
  • the “College of Fellows” of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE),
  • the Executive Board of the European Federation of Biotechnology.