Dr. Jean-Paul Joseph Gonzalez was appointed Governor General of the International Centre for Medical Research of Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon, by the Gabonese government, under the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, in 2008. He obtained his doctorate in medicine at the School of Bordeaux (University of Bordeaux II) in 1974, followed by his PhD in viral ecology from the University of Clermont-Ferrand a decade later.
After his national service at the Pasteur Institute in Tunisia, Dr. Gonzalez was recruited in 1976 by the Institute for Development Research (IRD, formerly ORSTOM in Paris) where he devoted himself to medical research, training and development in several countries of the Americas, Africa and Asia.
In the late 70s, he headed international research teams in developing countries, for his Institute and with its institutional partners. For over ten years, he led the virology teams at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar (Senegal) and Bangui (Central African Republic). He spent several years in the United States of America where he worked as a visiting scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta (Georgia), then as a Visiting Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the School of Medicine at Yale University in New England (Connecticut, USA). He developed his expertise in high security laboratories and participated in the early development of geographic information systems applied to health research.
In 1997, he worked as a visiting professor of microbiology at Mahidol University (Bangkok, Thailand), where he created the first research centre on emerging viral diseases in Asia. Then, at the Mahidol Faculty of Science, he developed a technical research platform dedicated to a multidisciplinary approach to vector-borne diseases.
His main research disciplines range from epidemiology of viral diseases to molecular virology to viral ecology. His research objectives are aimed at vector-borne viral diseases, viral hemorrhagic fevers and emerging viral diseases. With his teams, he identified new pathogens for humans and animals and new tropical diseases. He developed a new medical scientific school of thought, including the principle of co-evolution of ancient microbes and their hosts over geological time, and secondly, the study of disease emergence in terms of conditions and territories using an interdisciplinary approach involving social, biomedical and environmental science.
Dr. Gonzalez has written dozens of books and book chapters and over 170 scientific articles in leading journals.