Name of MRC-funded unit/centre/institute
WT/MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
University of Cambridge
Classe prepa Nancy (2011-2011), Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon (2013-2016), Mines Paris Tech (2016-2017)
Bsc and Msc in Biosciences, Engineering degree
Curie Institute (Paris), University of California (Santa Barbara), University of Cambridge. Kurma partners
1st year rotation PhD student in the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine program
Favourite thing to do in my job: Creating new knowledge and being the first one to know about it!
French biologist who has the chance to do science in Hogwarts
I never really planned to do research in the UK but I spent some time in Cambridge and fell in love with the city and the atmosphere. I had the opportunity to come back for a PhD and since then I feel almost like a wizard going around with my gown. It is also such a rich place where you get to meet highly interesting and inspiring people!
When I am not in the lab, I row with an amazing woman team called the Sirens. I also enjoy being crafty and discovering new places!
Altogether, I am always up for new challenges and I can do so because I am well surrounded by supportive human beings.
Unlocking the potential of stem cells
This year, I am trying out different labs and I will have to pick end of June the one I want to join for the next 3 years! My main focus is steam cells, which are really cool cells. They have the ability to produce anything part of the body, from a lung to a liver cell but can also decide to hold back and keep being stem cell for some time.
My first project was on wound healing and how cells realise they are not in contact with each other anymore in an open wound. If we do understand how they come to this realisation, then we can help them to better close the wound.
Then I went on to growing cells called megakaryocytes which are the body’s factory producing platelets. When you cut yourself and start bleeding, platelets are the little bricks which repair the blood vessel and help stop the bleeding. Up to now, when people did not have enough of these platelets, they received transfusions from donors. Our aim was to to relying on donor and produce platelet by starting with people’s stem cells.
Currently, I am working on how stem cells take decision. Just like children, they can become anything they want! And at some point they pick a specific job and commit to it. Unfortunately as cells cannot talk to explain how they make choices, I have to perform experiments to get the answers!
My Typical Day
Typical and Science do not go together
Every day is different when you are a researcher and that is what makes it so exciting!
Common features include interacting with other scientists, performing experiments and analysing them, redoing experiments because usually they never work perfectly the first time you try them and reading about other people’s work to get new ideas.
What I'd do with the prize money
Start a stem cell comic book
I believe science should be fun and accessible. It is all so exciting, it should not be limited to scientists only because only us speak the jargon. Therefore, I would like to explain principles related to stem cells in the format of a 2-page long comic strip. My aim is by the time people have finished reading it, they learn something new which hopefully sparked their interest to learn more!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious Pipette Enthusiast
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Made tiny worms glow in the dark and dance in rhythm
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My dad used to take us to the Science Festival every year when I was younger. There was this 'crazy scientist' performing really cool experiments such as small explosions and he inspired me to also be a scientist!
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Wanted to be a lot of things from a doctor to an artist. But for the time being, scientist is what suits me best!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not that I remember of
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would probably open a cafe where people can come and learn how to sew. Would have loved to be a fashion designer!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Tough one, really enjoy old French music but also anything on which I can dance
What's your favourite food?
Anything sweet! From cookies to ice cream (especially the cookie dough flavoured one!)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Backpacking across Europe with a group of friends taking only trains and kayaking in Norway with baby seals
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Less rainy days in Cambridge - More happiness in the world - Make a positive impact through my work
Tell us a joke.
Q. What sound does a sleeping T-Rex make? A. A dino-snore.