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Doctor Mérieux Biological Sciences Museum

The Doctor Mérieux Biological Sciences Museum opened its doors to the public in Marcy l'Etoile for the first time on Wednesday 29 August 2007.

It is the culmination of a project launched in 2001 by Mr. Joël Piegay, Mayor of Marcy l'Etoile and Mr. Alain Mérieux. It is dedicated to biology, including exhibitions on vaccinology and diagnostics, the Mérieux family who are the driving force behind this industrial adventure and the way that the village of Marcy l'Etoile has changed over time.

Although the museum explores the past, it never loses sight of the future. It presents the major international challenges facing public health, as well as the new biotechnological and genetic weapons we are using to fight infectious diseases. The museum is run as an association.

The museum is located in "Carmino House" which belonged to the Mérieux Institute's launderer before it became the property of the commune of Marcy l'Etoile.
The building has been enlarged and completely renovated.

The museum project was made possible by funding from the Rhone-Alpes region, the Commune of Marcy l'Etoile, the Mérieux Foundation, de BioMérieux and Sanofi Pasteur, and by scientific expertise from theVeterinary School.

The museum is now also supported by Merial and the Friends of the Museum association.

The content was chosen by a scientific committee following in the footsteps of the pioneers of Mérieux's human and veterinary scientific and industrial adventures. The committee is chaired by Mr. Yves Moreau, a veterinary doctor.

You can visit the museum in two different ways :

  • Chronological visit: learn about the Mérieux adventure, the people who have played roles in it, their discoveries and the stages in the development of the various companies.

  • Thematic visit: explore educational exhibits that explain scientific, medical and technical issues.

Each room is organized around three themes:

  • Educational information making science easy to understand.

  • Mérieux's scientific and industrial adventure, including the people who have played roles in it – Marcel Mérieux, Doctor Charles Mérieux, Doctor Jean Mérieux, Alain Mérieux and Doctor Christophe Mérieux.

  • How the village of Marcy l'Etoile has changed, showing the impact that scientific and industrial activities have had on the development of the commune.

A chronological visit familiarizes you with the major public health challenges faced over the years. We explore five different eras:

  • 1897 - 1917 The work of Louis Pasteur: with whom the destiny of Marcel Mérieux was intimately connected.

  • 1917 - 1937 The first applications in human and veterinary medicine: biology applied to both humans and animals lay at the heart of the Mérieux Institute's strategy.

  • 1937 - 1967 From serum to industrial biology: the shift from small-scale biology to the industrial production of human and veterinary vaccines, enabling the implementation of large-scale disease prevention programs.

  • 1967 - 1997 International expansion: development of the various Mérieux companies to guarantee public and animal health at global level.

  • Since 1997 New challenges:

    • The global epidemiological situation.

    • Advances in scientific research, particularly in molecular biology, enabling new ways to fight against infectious diseases to be developed.

    • Essential new international partnerships to provide solutions that meet the public health needs of developing countries.

A thematic visit familiarizes you with scientific, medical and technical issues:

  • The history of medicine;

  • The different types of microbes/micro-organisms: viruses, bacteria, parasites;

  • The world's major infectious diseases;

  • The geo-politics of epidemics: health inequality;

  • Ways of fighting epidemics: prophylaxis (prevention);

  • Serotherapy;

  • The principles of vaccination: history, production, storage (lyophilization), routes of administration and the various types of vaccines available;

  • Viral and bacterial culture;

  • Clinical and industrial in vitro diagnostics;

  • Diagnostic techniques and methods;

  • Emerging diseases;

  • Genetics at the heart of the fight against disease.

In every room you will find archive documents and audiovisual displays, as well as interactive educational panels and tables. The last room on major public health challenges and technologies of the future boasts 360° multi-projection equipment.

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