Christine Petit Genetics and Cellular Physiology (2001-2020)


Born February 4, 1948 in Laignes (Côte d'Or), France.

Christine Petit studied medicine at the University of Paris VI and biology at the University of Paris XI. She held a post as researcher and then professor (1996) at the Institut Pasteur. She directed the Mammal Genome research unit at the CNRS and the Department of Biotechnologies at the Pasteur Institute.

Christine Petit is a specialist in genetics, and more specifically human genetics. She has clarified the molecular mechanisms underlying sex chromosome inversions in humans. She played a pioneering role in the discovery of the genes responsible for sensory disabilities in humans, more specifically hearing disorders. With her team, she has opened the field of hereditary deafness to genetic analysis and has identified a large number of genes responsible for these disorders. She is currently focusing on identifying the molecular pathogenesis of many genetic forms of deafness.

Until only recently, the cochlea, the auditory sensory organ, has resisted attempts at molecular analysis via standard methods. However, the genetic approach developed by Christine Petit has allowed her to clarify many aspects of cochlear development and functioning, more specifically the hair bundle, the structure that receives sound and transmits it to the auditory sensory cells.

Christine Petit directs the Genetics and Physiology of Hearing laboratory at the Institut Pasteur. In 2002, she was appointed Professor to the chair in Genetics and Cellular Physiology at the Collège de France.

Awards and distinctions

Kavli Prize in Neuroscience (2018)

Grand prix Inserm in medical research (2007)

Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (2006)

"Freedom to Discover" Award in Neuroscience from the Bristol-Myers-Squibb Institute (2005)

"Research and Medicine" Award from the Institute for Health Sciences (2004)

L'Oréal-UNESCO "For Women in Science" Award (2004)

Member of the French Academy of Sciences (2002)

Knight of the French Legion of Honor (2002)

Ernst Jung für Wissenschaft und Forschung: Medizin award (2001)

Charles-Léopold Mayer Award from the French Academy of Sciences (1999)
Member of the Academia Europae (1998)