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Isabelle Oswald, 2018 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Understanding mycotoxins: a public health challenge

13th INRA Awards ceremony
© Arnaud Veldemann
The grand prize of Agricultural Research this year rewards Isabelle Oswald, world expert in mushroom toxins, which present in 50% of our food, constitute a real public health issue.

Above all else, Isabelle Oswald loves research. Immunology, toxicology, mycology: Isabelle dives into every discipline and research topic with the same passion and commitment. “Loving my job is a luxury that I appreciate on a daily basis.”

  • After joining INRA in 1994, Isabelle jumped straight into the world of mycotoxins under the leadership of Joseph Le Bars and his infectious enthusiasm for the mould toxins present in 50% of the food we eat. These toxins have been the cause of spectacular pathologies in humans, including ‘St Anthony’s Fire’, a condition caused by ergot poisoning, a mould found in rye, and even cancer, caused by eating peanuts containing aflatoxin.
  • Mycotoxins continue to have a major impact on human and animal health; their multiple effects and proliferation still defy science. This challenge takes on new importance in a context of global warming conducive to the development of moulds.

With over 200 scientific publications, an international network of colleagues and some thirty PhD and post-doc researchers under her wing, Isabelle has made an important mark in the world of mould toxin research. She is the 2018 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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