Jean Pierre Farriaux

Recipient of the Robert Guthrie Award 2001

Born in 1931, Jean-Pierre Farriaux got his MD in 1962 and entered a pediatric carrier at the university hospital. In the end of the sixties, Jean-Pierre Farriaux set up a metabolic lab in the Pediatric & Genetic department of the university hospital in Lille, mainly dedicated to inborn errors of amino acid metabolism. He bought and run the first amino acid analyzer of the university. He also began to be interested in the screening for PKU and introduced the BIA test in the lab. In 1972, Jean-Pierre Farriaux decided to create a regional center for neonatal screening, which within a couple of months was able to screen most of the babies born in the area. At the beginning, the center was screening for phenylalanine and tyrosine using the fluorimetric method adapted to the Technicon® autoanalyser. The center rapidly became a leader in the field of screening, doing many pilot studies of “new screening tests” (T4, TSH, 17-OHP).

In 1978, Jean-Pierre Farriaux participated to the foundation of the French Association for Neonatal screening, which was aimed to organize the screening on a national scale and the follow up of detected patients. He has been successively chairman of the technical committee, general secretary and, since 1996, president of the association. He promoted and organized the implementation of the screening for congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis (this last program will begin mid 2001).

His activity was also on international basis. He promoted the first Quality Control Survey for European labs in 1984. Member of the ISNS since 1988, he organized the second meeting of the ISNS in 1993.

Although Jean-Pierre Farriaux is now retired from his hospital and university activities, he remains very active in the French program of screening and is frequently pushing French colleagues to participate to the activity of the ISNS.

From left to right: Dr. Bridget Wilcken (President ISNS), Dr. Jean-Louis Dhondt (Vice-President ISNS), Dr. Jean-Pierre Farriaux and Dr. Jan Østrup (Wallac OY)