Roux, Pierre Paul Émile

Roux, Pierre Paul Émile

(pyĕr pōl āmēl` ro͞o), 1853–1933, French physician and bacteriologist. He was a pupil of and coworker with Pasteur. In 1888 he and A. E. J. Yersin demonstrated that the diphtheria bacillus produces a toxin; this led to the development by E. A. von Behring of methods of producing a specific antitoxin, which revolutionized the treatment of diphtheria. Roux worked with the veterinarian E. I. C. Nocard in the study (1898) of bovine pneumonia and with Élie Metchnikoff on syphilis.
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Roux, Pierre Paul Émile


Born Dec. 17, 1853, in Confolens, Charente; died Nov. 3, 1933, in Paris. French microbiologist. Member of the French National Academy of Medicine (from 1895) and the Paris Academy of Sciences (from 1899).

Roux was Pasteur’s student and co-worker and, from 1878, Pasteur’s assistant at the Ecole Normale in Paris. Roux worked at the Pasteur Institute from 1888, becoming its director in 1904.

Roux initially studied the causative agents of anthrax, tetanus, and rabies and the toxins formed by these agents. Together with E. Metchnikoff, he initiated the experimental investigation of syphilis in monkeys. In the period 1888–90, Roux worked with A. Yersin. Together they isolated diphtheria toxin and studied its effects. They showed that paralyses and disturbances of cardiac activity caused by diphtheria are brought about by toxins of the diphtheria bacillus. On the basis of these investigations, Roux (in France) and E. Behring (in Germany) proposed an antidiphtheria antitoxin serum.

Roux was awarded a prize by the Paris Academy of Sciences and the French National Academy of Medicine.


“Contribution à l’étude de la diphthèrie.” Annales de l’Institut Pasteur, 1888–90, vols. 2–4. (With A. Yersin.)


Vaindrakh, G. “Emil’ Ru (1853–1933).” Zhurnal epidemiologii i mikrobiologii, 1934, no. 1.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.