Marthe Gautier, a medicine doctor and a researcher specialized in pediatric cardiology, co-discoverer of trisomy 21, was appointed to the prestigious rank of Commander of the French National Order of Merit on April 6th 2019 in Paris. During a scholarship for one year at Harvard University in order to acquire knowledge in pediatric cardiology she was also trained in cellular culture; using this knowledge in Professor Turpin ‘s laboratory at Trousseau Hospital in Paris she made possible the discovery in 1959 of the supernumerary chromosome at the origin of trisomy 21. Her discovery was weakened by Jérôme Lejeune, co-discoverer.
This decoration was presented by Claudine Hermann, EPWS President and Vice-President of the French Femmes & Sciences (Women and Science association). It is the official recognition by the French authorities of Marthe Gautier’s contribution to the discovery of the chromosome responsible for trisomy 21. Through this discovery and her multiple contributions to pediatric medicine, Marthe Gautier is an example for the younger generation.