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Jorge Kalil

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UPMC Facts and Figures

  • 31,000 students of which 20 percent are international
  • 3,000 doctoral candidates
  • 9,600 in staff, of which 3,750 are professor-researchers
  • 100 research laboratories
  • 8 main teaching hospitals
  • 8,500 publications per year (approx. 11% of the publication in France)
  • Ranked the top university in France and 6th in Europe by both Shanghai and Taiwan.
  • 4th in the world for mathematics
  • Member of three of the five the European innovation networks, in: Climate, ICT, and Health


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Jorge Kalil

In His Own Words

Those Magic Moments

As a scientist, the most important moments of my career are the ones where an important discovery was made. It´s magic. It´s the essence of science. But recognition for your work and contributions is also of utmost importance to me. For example, this honorific title I´m receiving.

Challenges to Come

The discovery of vaccines against microbes that do not naturally trigger an immune protection is a tremendous challenge for science. Nevertheless, vaccines are the best medical act since they actually prevent the disease.


Collaboration between my research group and UPMC has been very fruitful. The reason, I think, is a very well defined common goal and complementary resources: science, technologies, patients, finances and original thinking.

Words for the Up & Coming

For medical students: Try to understand the needs of your patient and put all your effort to solving them.

For science students: Focus, follow your criticism and ideas and never give up.

For all students:The forces that will lead you are enthusiasm and a passion for what you do.

professor Jorge Kalil

Presented by Serge Uzan, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Director of the IUC


In Porto Alegre, Jorge Kalil studied medicine, which, after a clinical internship, led to an Assistantship in Genetics, and he became a Doctor of Medicine in 1977 (it was a great year because I, too, became a Doctor of Medicine on the same date).


His choice for Post-Doc laboratory training was particularly wise and prescient because it was with Jean Daucet just one year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1980. Jorge Kalil performed numerous studies that led to his doctorate of science.


His studies focused on monoclonal antibodies, which were carried out under the sponsorship of Marc Fellous and Claude Mawas. They were mainly the typing of histocompatibility antigens but also Hepatitis and Malaria infectious antigens and a study of rheumatoid arthritis and transplantation.


His visit to Paris was extremely successful since he published 27 articles on Immunogenetics in prestigious international journals such as Immunogenetics, Transplantation Proceedings and Tissue Antigens.


After returning to Brazil, he became an associate professor in the Department of Physiology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre and then in the Department of Pathology of the prestigious Stanford University in the US. He became Professor of Immunology at Sao Paulo in 1991 and at the same time created the immunology laboratory that became the Heart Institute.


His activities in the field of immunology are extremely numerous: Director of Clinical Immunology at Clinical Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo; Director of the Butantan Institute, then Director General of the Butantan Foundation in Sao Paulo. During this period, he had more than 300 international publications.


Through the study of immunogenetic components, Jorge Kalil was interested in many developments, and in particular renal and cardiac transplantation applications, but also in the control of immune reactions and their applications in vaccination practice.


The Butantan Institute enabled him to pursue both industrial development and research activities and to address the great challenges in today’s world, including HIV infection. The team that he leads has developed new and innovative strategies for SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus), which is the version of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) found in monkeys.


In addition to his academic duties, Jorge Kalil has held various positions in the field of public health policy: as Adviser to the Minister of Health of Brazil for immunological products from 1995 to 1997, and as Chairman of the Ethics Committee for Medical Research from 1999 to 2002. Internationally, he was Chairman of the Clinical Immunology Committee for the International Union of Immunological Societies from 2001 to 2005 and Chair of the 13th International Congress of Immunology in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro.


He has also been welcomed into the Academy of Sciences of Brazil as well as many other learned societies, including as the President of the Brazilian Immunology Society and the founding President of the Brazilian Transplantation Society.


All this work related to genetics and transplantation in institutions as prestigious as the Heart Institute and the Butantan Institute garnered him many, many awards, including a knighthood of the National Order of Merit in France in 2012, the Brazil National Merit Medal of Science and the Conrado Wessel Award in Sao Paulo in 2012.


His career is a shining example of Franco- Brazilian cooperation and of his expertise acquired and recognized in Brazil after his training in France in immunogenetics at the prestigious laboratory led by Professor Jean Daucet. These experiences have made Jorge Kalil an Ambassador for the Franco-Brazilian cooperation in the fields of Immunology, Transplantation and Genetics.


For this reason, Jorge Kalil has established collaboration with Pierre and Marie Curie University in both science and public health policy: First through his collaboration with Prof. Patrice Debré, a Professor of Immunology at UPMC and former Director of the Federative Research Institute Immunity-Cancer-Infection within the INSERM U945 Research Unit.

His extensive training in France and his many friendships—in particular his close relationship with Patrice Debré—have facilitated exchanges. His doctorate today is the culmination of this career, but it is also a harbinger of new possibilities for cooperation between the University Institute of Oncology at the University of Sao Paulo and the University Institute of Oncology at Pierre and Marie Curie, of which I have the honor to be the director. There was already a workshop organized in Sao Paulo last month.


We are proud to award this prestigious researcher a Doctorate Honoris Causa from our University.