Changeux praised Guillemin, who was born in France, for fostering “scientific collaboration and friendship between the United states and France.”
After receiving the award, Guillemin first offered thanks in French, then thanked his family and recognized colleagues at Salk whom he had worked with over 45 years. “Let’s close this unique event in the French tradition with a glass of champagne,” he said to applause.
Guillemin, 91, joined the Salk Institute in 1970 and received the 1977 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with hypothalamic hormones. His work brought to light an entire new class of substances shown to be important for the regulation of growth, development, reproduction and responses to stress.
Colleagues at the Salk described the scientist as a “national treasure” for both countries. He was among the 19 people to be promoted to the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honor on Jan. 1.