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 18 August 2022

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Laurent Beaugerie was born in 1957 in Orleans, France. He is Professor of Gastroenterology at Rothschild Hospital, Saint-Antoine University, Paris, France.

He studied medicine for six years in Tours University. He then completed his residency at Parisian hospitals, and his fellowship at the Saint-Antoine University, where he has remained ever since.

He obtained a PhD in 1996 for his works on the mechanisms and regulation of intestinal transport of passively-absorbed monosaccharides.

From 1993 to 1998 he was involved in the work-up of intestinal complications of HIV-infection. His interest then moved to infectious diarrhea and colitis in immunocompetent adults, and to drug-induced colitis.

Prof Beaugerie is currently developing a research program on the signals between luminal bacteria and human intestinal epithelium. He is Associate Editor of Gastroentérologie Clinique et Biologique, the French indexed journal of Gastroenterology.

What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
When I entered a Parisian military hospital in 1981 for my national service I wanted to become cardiologist. The director of the hospital appointed me orthopaedic surgeon! I obtained a transfer three months later to the Gastroenterology unit. I never changed thereafter.
Who was the teacher you admired the most?
Professor Jean-Pierre Gendre has brilliantly convinced me that a 20-minute in-depth interrogation, with a subtle savoir-faire, is crucial in the management of patients with diarrhea and/or abdominal pain. This perpetuates the tradition of clinical observation of the French physicians of the 19th century that may still be effective in certain circumstances.
Which research paper influenced you the most?
A paper by Saldeco et al. (Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy for severe Clostridium difficile, Gut 1997;41: 366-70.) suggested that the most severe cases of CD colitis may be successfully treated by passive immunization rather than by classical antimicrobial therapy. This atypical approach was effective in some of my patients with maddeningly recurrent CD colitis and opened perspectives in the curative and preventive treatment of infectious colitis.
What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
Using immunopathology I demonstrated that some microscopic colitis, either lymphocytic or collagenous, are drug-induced (Gut 1994; 35: 426-8.). Drug withdrawal leads to rapid and definite resolution of this particular type of colitis.
What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
To have lost 50% of my previous quality of life, when coming from the provinces to Paris for professional reasons.
What is your unfulfilled ambition?
To write a totally non-medical book.
What is your greatest regret?
That French could not have emerged as the universal scientific language. French is such a rich and beautiful language.
How do you relax?
Jogging as often as I can. Practising the art of wine tasting with Jacques Vivet: my expert Parisian teacher, and sharing these moments with other cool people.
What is your favorite sport?
Marathon for periodically testing my physical limits and, just for pleasure, windsurfing everywhere in the world when sun and wind are both present.
What is your best place in the world?
The Loire valley. It was my birthplace and hope it will be my last home.
What car do you drive?
I ride an Italian scooter. It is dangerous, but I feel free and park anywhere in Paris.
What is your best electronic 'toy'?
My toys are not electronic.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I am reading Proust. I alternate between modern novels and philosophical works, without forgetting frequent re-immersions in the adventures of Tintin.
Why did you get in involved in
Specialized net sites (when you know how to use them) allow you to find out THE information you need for managing a particular patient, optimizing an article discussion or a research project, etc., 7 days a week, without leaving your armchair! It is the third revolution in gastroenterology practice, after endoscopy and Helicobacter pylori.

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