The Hearing Institute, an Institut Pasteur center, opened its doors on Thursday February 27, 2020. The new buildings will soon house cutting-edge auditory neuroscience research teams from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and the CNRS. This center for basic and translational neuroscience research in the field of hearing was set up in June 2019 at the initiative of the Fondation Pour l'Audition and the Institut Pasteur. Hearing is a major public health issue – some 500 million people worldwide currently live with hearing loss, a figure that is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050.
The official inauguration of the Hearing Institute was attended by:
Edouard Philippe, French Prime Minister;
Frédérique Vidal, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation;
Sophie Cluzel, French Junior Minister for People with Disabilities;
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers and Jean-Pierre Meyers, both of whom – together with the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller – set up the Fondation Pour l'Audition, one of the initiators of the project;
Christian Vigouroux, Chairman of the Institut Pasteur Board of Directors;
Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur;
Professor Christine Petit, scientist at the Institut Pasteur, holder of the Genetics and Cell Physiology Chair at the Collège de France, and founding Director of the Hearing Institute;
Gilles Bloch, Chairman and CEO of Inserm;
Benoît Péricard, interim Managing Director of the Fondation Pour l'Audition
Etienne Caniard, Chair of the Hearing Institute Steering Committee, and Chair of the Alliance Pour l’Audition Coordination Committee
Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of paris, Anne Hidalgo
Franck Vialet, architect;
Valérie Pécresse, President of the Greater Paris Regional Council and Martin Hirsch, President of the Paris Public Hospital Network (AP-HP) could not be present.
Before the event, a press conference was held, attended by Stewart Cole, Gilles Bloch, Professor Christine Petit, Benoît Péricard and architect Franck Vialet.
"The time has come to look for treatments for hearing loss, rather than relying on hearing aids." [...] Auditory reeducation, today exclusively empirical, could make progress based on the breakthroughs of the auditory neurosciences. [...] As we move to this new building, we bring with us a spirit of enthusiasm and determination."
Pr. Christine Petit, Director of the Hearing Institute
"We have been supporting this project since 2013." [...] The cluster model brings together "basic research, clinical research, entrepreneurship and innovation, all in the center of Paris."
Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris
"The Hearing Institute is an Institut Pasteur center based outside the campus." The Institut Pasteur was able to set up the new center "thanks to the talent of the teams involved" [...], and it will continue to pursue the same path, "fostering partnerships, taking risks for science and giving hope to those who are suffering."
Christian Vigouroux, Chairman of the Institut Pasteur Board of Directors
The inauguration of the Hearing Institute is "the culmination of several years of discussions, plans and hard work between the Institut Pasteur and all its partners." [...] The creation of the center "is a major new milestone in the history of neuroscience at the Institut Pasteur, which began back in the 1960s with the seminal work of Jean-Pierre Changeux" [...] and continued "in the 1990s with the first research by Christine Petit." [...] The Hearing Institute will "address public health challenges while pushing back the frontiers of knowledge."
Pr. Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur
Read his speech
"It is a great pleasure for me to join with you in inaugurating this institute, which will help our country move forward in the field of hearing disorders." Medical research has a key role to play: "Christine Petit, [you have] demonstrated extraordinary scientific vision" in this area.
Gilles Bloch, Chairman and CEO of Inserm
"For all those with hearing loss, when it comes to dealing with current and future issues, the inauguration of the Hearing Institute is a momentous occasion [...] and raises real hope for the future."
Jean-Pierre Meyers, co-initiator of the project with his wife Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, via the Fondation Pour l'Audition
"When one says the name "Pasteur", it elicits two reactions. First, an immense feeling of pride for us, the people of France. And second, an immense sense of hope – the hope of seeing these teams make a major breakthrough that can help reverse an illness or a disability."
"The greatness of human actions is measured by the inspiration that it brings," said Louis Pasteur. "With the new Hearing Institute, I can see many fine sources of inspiration: collective intelligence, tenacity, hope, and of course generosity. Within a few years, these sources of inspiration will lead to truly great actions – actions that will cure or help hundreds of millions of patients, that will reduce suffering and isolation through human progress." [...]
Edouard Philippe, French Prime Minister
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The Hearing Institute is a joint Institut Pasteur-Inserm research unit. It is composed of scientific staff from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and the CNRS. The Hearing Institute will include a Center for Research and Innovation in Human Audiology (CERIAH), which will develop innovative diagnostic methods. It works in cooperation with ENT departments in the Paris Public Hospital Network (in particular Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital) and university hospitals elsewhere in France (including Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand and Bordeaux), and with other hearing health professionals, especially hearing aid specialists.
The City of Paris is a project partner and was particularly instrumental in the acquisition and subsequent refurbishment of the building. The Greater Paris Region has announced its support for the purchase of cutting-edge equipment.
The Hearing Institute has three main priorities:
to carry out top-level basic research;
to develop translational approaches;
to help disseminate scientific knowledge.
Photos : Institut Pasteur - François Gardy