Dr Cole's work on tuberculosis, leprosy, AIDS, gas gangrene and bacterial molecular genetics is widely acclaimed throughout the world. He was a leading member of the team of scientists who determined the complete nucleotide sequence for the AIDS virus. He is also considered to be a pioneer in the genomics of tuberculosis and leprosy bacilli.
Dr Cole studied biology at the University of Wales prior to earning his doctorate from the University of Sheffield in 1979. Subsequently he embarked on a career as a researcher at the University of Umea (Sweden) and the Max Planck Institut in Tuebingen (Germany), and then at the Institut Pasteur, where he was in turn a senior research fellow, the head of the bacterial molecular genetics unit, a professor, and finally the Director of Strategic Technologies from 2000 to 2004. Since that time, he has been the Institute's Scientific Director. Dr Cole was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour for services rendered to science.