Skip to main content

Obituary - Justin Teissié 1947-2020

We are profoundly saddened by the passing of Justin Teissié, a pioneer in the study of biological membranes and the basic processes of electroporation, on 23 September 2020, in Lagardelle-Sur-Lèze.


Justin Teissié, director of exceptional class at the CNRS, biophysicist, engineer of the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in 1970, PhD in Macromolecular Chemistry from the University of Paris VI, Doctor of State in Biophysics from the University of Toulouse III in 1979, obtained in 1973 a position as a research associate at the CNRS in Toulouse in the team of Prof. A. Baudras at the Centre de Recherche en Biochimie et Génétique Cellulaire (Research Center for Biochemistry and Cellular Genetics). After his post-doctorate in the United States at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine in the laboratory of Prof. T.Y. Tsong, he created and developed his research team in Toulouse and was a pioneer and leader in electroporation and its applications in biotechnology and health in France and worldwide.


Author of more than 300 articles*, he has dedicated his life to the study of biological membranes and the fundamental processes leading to electroporation, and has played a major role in the development of its applications in the medical field for electrochemotherapy and in industry for sterilization. While being a researcher at the CNRS, he has constantly paid great attention to the training of young people, trainees, doctoral and post-doctoral students of his team, in various Masters of the University or through numerous schools for international researchers.


We can only mention here a few of the many responsibilities he has held and the distinctions he has received: team leader from 1985 to 2010, President of the Scientific Council of the Doctoral School of Life Sciences of the Université Paul Sabatier from 1993 to 2011, head of the "Biomembranes" then "Structural Biology and Biophysics" departments of the IPBS from 2006 to 2010, winner of the Prize for Medical Applications of Electricity awarded by the Institut Electricité Santé in 1995, CNRS honorary medalist in 2013 and laureate of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2017. Emeritus Research Director since 2012, he has never ceased to be an extremely involved and active researcher: Justin Teissié lived until his last days by and for Science.


His passing creates an immense void in our community. His power of work, his integrity and scientific rigor, but also his humor, his great generosity and his availability were exemplary. We, his students, colleagues and friends will never forget him, and he will remain as a model capable of enlightening our future choices.


*Selected references

•    Electric pulse-induced fusion of 3T3 cells in monolayers culture, Science (1982)
•    Lateral proton conduction at lipid-water interfaces and its implications for the chemiosmotic-coupling hypothesis, Nature (1986)
•    In vivo electrically mediated protein and gene transfer in murine melanoma, Nature Biotechnology (1998)
•    Direct visualisation at the single cell level of electrically mediated gene delivery, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2002)
•    Electropermeabilization of the cell membrane, Methods Mol Biol (2014)
•    A protein nanocontainer targeting epithelial cancers: rational engineering, biochemical characterization, drug loading and cell delivery, Nanoscale (2019)
•    Pre-clinical investigation of the synergy effect of interleukin-12 gene-electro-transfer during partially irreversible electropermeabilization against melanoma, J Immunother Cancer (2019)