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Obituary of Pierre Gadal

Pierre Gadal (1938-2019), a major player in French Plant Physiology.

After a PhD in Professor Brunel's laboratory in Toulouse, Pierre Gadal was successively assistant at the Paul Sabatier University, professor at the University of Nancy I (1973-1981) and finally professor at the University of Paris-Sud until the end of his career in 2003. For a long time he led a CNRS team (Molecular Plant Physiology) in Nancy and then in Orsay before finally becoming Director of the Institut de Biotechnologie des Plantes (IBP), an important structure for plant biology research on the Orsay campus in the Paris region, which became one of the three founding components of the current IPS2.

Among his many academic and administrative responsibilities, Pierre Gadal was president of the section 66 of CNU and director of the Ecole doctorale Sciences du Végétal. His scientific contributions and those of his team are widely recognized internationally in the field of molecular studies of the regulation of key C4 photosynthesis enzymes, redox regulation systems, enzymes involved in nitrogen assimilation and metabolism, as well as carbon-nitrogen relationships in plants. Pierre Gadal and his group have been leaders in plant biochemistry, integrating in particular, at the beginning of the 80s, approaches that had not been developed before, including genetic engineering and structure/function studies. His entire scientific career was acknowledged in 1998 with the awarding of the prix d’Etat de l’Académie des Sciences.

Pierre Gadal passed away on 26 October 2019 after a difficult illness. His death evoked great emotion among his former students and colleagues. Everyone remembers his charisma, his enthusiasm, his determination and his rigor, but also his benevolence towards all the staff.