UCSF’s Nevan Krogan Wins France’s Highest Honor

Stewart Cole, President of Institut Pasteur, prepares an award lapel pin for Nevan Krogan (right)
The President of the Institut Pasteur, Professor Stewart Cole, PhD, bestows the Legion of Honor award on QBI Director Nevan Krogan, PhD, at a ceremony in the historic Museé Pasteur. Photo by Institut Pasteur / François Gardy

Nevan Krogan, PhD, director of UC San Francisco’s (UCSF) Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) and founder of QBI’s Coronavirus Research Group (QCRG), and senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, has been awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration, in a ceremony at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

The award was given in recognition of Krogan’s leadership in forming a large international research collaboration to study the novel coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic.

The group included many scientists from UCSF, Gladstone and elsewhere in the United States and Europe, including Institut Pasteur (Paris, France). Together, the researchers developed detailed protein interaction maps that showed how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, hijacks cells, indicating potential therapeutic targets.

The work has identified a drug that is now in clinical trials as a COVID-19 antiviral, as well as some 50 papers. The QCRG collaboration has been rewarded with $67.5 million from the National Institutes of Health and another $9 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to continue their research.

Frédéric Jung, Consul General of France in San Francisco, noted, “Presenting Dr. Krogan with France’s highest distinction is an expression of gratitude of our country towards him, given his leadership in building innovative cooperation projects between France and the US, in particular between QBI and the Institut Pasteur, both international centers of excellence in biosciences.”

Krogan was decorated with his award by Professor Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur, who officiated the Legion of Honor ceremony in the historic Museé Pasteur.

The Legion of Honor has been given to leaders in many different fields, and it is not necessary to be a citizen of France to receive it. Krogan, who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, is a citizen of Canada.

He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry and an MSc in biology from the University of Regina, and a PhD in medical genetics from the University of Toronto. Krogan came to UCSF as a Sandler Fellow in 2006 and became a faculty member the following year.

This award will serve as additional inspiration to continue my work in revolutionizing how we collaborate in science to solve some of the world’s biggest medical challenges.

Nevan Krogan, PhD

In 2011, he became an investigator at Gladstone, and in 2016 he was appointed director of QBI, which is part of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. He has joint UCSF appointments in the School of Medicine’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Krogan uses systems biology to study complex biological and biomedical problems. As head of QBI, he has fostered an ethos of collaboration, breaking down academic walls to assemble diverse teams of experts. The QCRG, for example, includes more than 40 QBI labs, along with collaborators from around the world who are focused on COVID-19.

“This award will serve as additional inspiration to continue my work in revolutionizing how we collaborate in science to solve some of the world’s biggest medical challenges,” Krogan said. “I am deeply honored to receive the Legion of Honor Award and feel privileged for this prestigious recognition by France.”