The Institut Pasteur was founded in 1887 by Louis Pasteur, the French scientist whose early experiments with fermentation led to pioneering research in bacteriology. A giant in science, Pasteur discovered the principle of sterilization which came to be known as "pasteurization." His discoveries led to the universal practice of surgical antisepsis. He also developed techniques of vaccination to control bacterial infection, as well as a successful vaccine to treat rabies.
Louis Pasteur was committed both to basic research and its practical applications. As soon as his institute was created, Pasteur brought together scientists with various specialties. The first five departments were directed by two normaliens (graduates of the Ecole Normale Supérieure): Emile Duclaux (general microbiology research) and Charles Chamberland (microbe research applied to hygiene), as well as a biologist, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (morphological microbe research) and two physicians, Jacques-Joseph Grancher (rabies) and Emile Roux (technical microbe research). One year after the inauguration of the Institut Pasteur, Roux set up the first course of microbiology ever taught in the world, then entitled Cours de Microbie Technique (Course of microbe research techniques).