In Memoriam: Professor Jacques Acar

Jacques was born in Dakar in 1931 to Lebanese parents. Originally from Deir el-Qamar he lived briefly in Lebanon where he finished his secondary studies at the Notre-Dame de Jamhour College. Jacques left Senegal in 1948 to study at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris. He graduated in 1954 and completed his military service as a field doctor in subSaharan Africa. He was appointed head of the clinic for infectious diseases at the Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris in 1962.

Jacques was very much part of the “golden era” of medical microbiology and in Paris assumed many roles. From 1966-1999, he became head of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Hôpital Saint-Joseph in Paris; concurrently, he was head of Medical Microbiology at the Hôpital Broussais and also a professor of medical microbiology at Pierre and Marie Curie University from 1973 until 2000.

Jacques’s vast knowledge and unflappable disposition were very much in demand. He became president of the WHO taskforce on antimicrobial resistance (1992 – 1996); editor-in-chief of Clinical Microbiology and Infection (1995-2000) for the WHO for Animal Health (1999-2020); member of the French Ministry of Health for antimicrobial resistance (2015-2020) and in 2016 was appointed as an expert advisor to the Fleming Fund. Jacques was central to the founding of the European Society of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology (ESCMID), the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) and the European Group for Antibiotic Resistance.

Although Jacques to many would appear French, his Lebanese roots were always evident in his discourse – effervescent, passionate and animated but always respectful and polite. His reputation followed his name - Acar (Lebanese Christian surname of Aramaic/Hebrew origin) meaning “one who stirs trouble”. Throughout his vast & impressive career Jacques was known for speaking plainly and passionately and asking the most pertinent questions.

Jacques was author of more than 500 publications and despite his colossal contribution to microbiology he always listened to new ideas and theories and regarded himself as a student as well as a master. Jacques will be dreadfully missed by family, friends, colleagues and students, and in so many ways, is irreplaceable.

More Like This

Join us on March 23 as we celebrate Professor Jacques Acar's contribution to science and the fight against antimicrobial resistance. In his honour, Dr Dilip Nathwani will give a lecture highlighting the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, surveillance, clinical engagement and education.