Adjuvatis SAS – ADJ- France
1. How did you get into the autophagy field and why is the field important to you?
Just after my master degree, I started to work on polymeric vectors and formulations for vaccine application. I never thought I would still be working on those vectors 15 years after, but my interest never diminished! A particularity of my career is that the biological application changed with the projects, and I discovered first the question of autophagy through the vaccine field. Now I am discovering a new and huge world and it is fascinating.
2. What is a key question in the autophagy field now? Where do you think the field is heading?
I am not expert enough in the field to have a significant global vision. But I am very curious to discover more about the importance of autophagy and its modulation in the context of metabolic disorders.
3. Should you meet any scientist, currently living or deceased, who would it be and why?
It would be two scientists who are also activists. The first one if the Pr. Françoise Barré Sinoussi from INSERM and Institute Pasteur. She was one of the scientists who discovered and described that the HIV is responsible for AIDS, after distraught clinicians came for help. These discoveries have highlighted this disease for which patients suffer from huge stigmatization. This is also why, for the first time, solidarity has gathered researchers, carers and patients (via associations with leading actions to guarantee access to care, information, etc.). Because she was directly questioned by patients, FBR realized what her responsibilities were as a researcher on the transmission of knowledge and information, and to guarantee its access to as many people as possible.
Another scientist, Dr Cathy O’Neil, mathematician, became aware of her responsibilities as a knowledgeable person and is considered a whistleblower. She denounces the algorithms that make decisions in our daily lives (social networks, finance, evaluation of teachers University, etc.), without control and without them being challenged, because the population as a whole does not know mathematics. She calls for ethics in big data, she calls for not to be frighten by mathematics, and for the population to call out researchers and mathematicians who develop these algorithms and the companies that apply them.
4. What advice do you have for early career scientists that want to enter the autophagy field?
As for any field in scientific research, don’t be afraid if things go too slowly to your liking! Also, do not reinvent the wheel: if someone has the information, the know-how, ask him. Be persistent, tenacious but not obstinate. Do not forget yourself, you also have a life outside the laboratory. Enjoy what you do (lucky us, we are doing so many different tasks thanks to our multifaceted position), it will probably be the best source of motivation!