Jules A. Hoffmann, an internationally renowned biologist, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1996 discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, specifically, how fruit flies fight infections. His work has allowed us to understand the similar defence mechanisms employed by other living beings, including humans. It has promising applications in areas such as defences of the pest mosquito, the vector of malaria and autoimmune disease. Dr. Hoffmann is senior researcher emeritus at France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique, which he joined in 1964, as well as a professor at the University of Strasbourg. He served as president of the French Académie des sciences in 2007 and 2008, and is a member of the academies of science of the U.S., Germany and Russia.