Dr. Jean-Robert Bonami (1945–2021) was one of the pioneers working on parasitology and virology of marine crustacean and shellfish. He was a French senior researcher of the National Centre for Scientific Research, France (CNRS) and served successively as a member of the Comparative Pathology Laboratory (ERPAM), the Defense and Resistance of Marine Invertebrate Laboratory (DRIM), and the Lagoon Ecosystem Laboratory (EcoLag), all located in the campus of the University of Montpellier IIFrance.
During his early career in the 1970s, he specialized in parasites of shellfish. To credit his contributions to this field, a novel parasite genus, causing the oyster disease and discovered by him, was named Bonamia ostreae at his family name. From the 1980s, he had been engaged in viruses causing the diseases of cultured marine crustacean by using electronic microscopy and later on molecular biology tools. He discovered numerous viruses belonging to novel viral families, genus or species. He was famous by his broad international collaborations, including USA, China, Mexico, Indonesia and India and supervised more than a dozen of Ph.D. students and scientists from these countries, including four from China.
I met Dr. Bonami in October, 1996 when I went to France as a visiting scientist at the DRIM lab. I was enrolled in a Ph.D. program under his supervision one year later and worked on white spot syndrome virus causing severe disease of cultured shrimp. This virus was classified as a virus of new family, Nimaviridae. From 1998 to 2003, we were awarded two bilateral collaboration projects between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the CNRS. We discovered the Macrobrachium rosenbergii nodavirus and its satellite virus, extra small virus, responsible for white tale disease of freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii and novel reoviruses in cultured freshwater crabs. He paid his visit in China every year during the implement of the collaboration projects. In 1999, Dr. Bonami represented University of Montpellier Ⅱ to become a co-founder of the Joint Laboratory of Invertebrate Virology which was initiated by the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wageningen Agricultural University. Dr. Bonami passed away in August 2021. We lost a father figure who made great contribution in this small but important research field of invertebrate virology.
In Memory of Dr. Jean-Robert Bonami
- Published Date: 11 October 2021