How the students speak about the FdV PhD program...
Ester Anon (Univ. Autonoma Barcelona, FdV '08)
Matière et Systèmes Complexes, UMR 7057 / Institut Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC)
Thesis title : Micromechanical study of cell-cell interactions
When I first met the people from FdV program, it was a pleasant surprise. It was the integration week for first year PhD students, so a bunch of young researchers-to-be were gathered for an intense week. During the short presentations that each of us was giving, one could really notice high level and motivation among the students. There was a lot of discussion and interaction between us, concerning scientific content, but also in terms of personal relationship. In that framework, the objectives and procedures of the FdV program were proposed to the students, basically a great offer of courses, clubs and meetings that PhD students could attend during the year. So my impression of this first week was very good.
The doctorate school is really willing to help the students to improve our backgrounds and skills, and help us all throughout the PhD. As far as I know, this scientific and "moral" support is not commonly offered from doctorate schools in Spain, where students merely pay their taxes and present some paperwork in order to deliver the PhD thesis. So it is very comforting to see that besides the actual PhD lab, there is a bunch of people with whom I could share my difficulties and concerns during the PhD.
To sum up, in my opinion it is very positive to have this environment where future and real scientists from different backgrounds but with lots in common, can meet for discussion and courses and learn all together."
Kathleen Zylberstein (AgroParisTech, FdV '07)
Institut Jacques Monod
Thesis title: Axonal guidance and regeneration: the role of v-SNARES.
« For me, the Frontières du Vivant doctoral school program is a catalyst of research projects. It is not only possible for students to pursue whatever science studies they wish, but also provides them the means, technical support, and people - available, friendly, competent, and interested -- who help us achieve our potential.
The possibilities are infinite at FdV! After graduating from a French public grande école (agronomical engineering), I became passionately convinced that I wanted to write a PhD thesis in neurobiology. Entering FdV enabled me and other motivated students to organize semi-monthly meetings on the use of optical techniques in the neurosciences, an innovative and productive domain. We invite outside contributors to these sessions, with whom we can freely interact and connect.
I will also participate at Biovision, an international congress at which leading scientists, members of non-governmental organizations (NGO), political personalities, and economists from the four corners of the world meet to reflect on important questions of development, such as rethinking the role of the city and management of urban crises, promoting innovative technologies, etc... "
Ruben Elisée (Valedictorian Ecole de l'Inserm Liliane Bettencourt, Master 2R Infectology, FdV '08)
Institut Pasteur team Philippe Sansonnetti
thesis title: Identification of the molecular bases controlling the survival of epithelial cells in response to mitochondrial stress induced by the enteric pathogen Shigella flexneri.
« I consider my medical studies to have been reinforced by the early introduction to research I received in the Frontières du Vivant doctoral school program. The FdV research training program facilitates harmonization of the life sciences "technical," clinical, and relational aspects of medical education. This is exactly what constitutes the various aspects of the FdV interdisciplinary approach; each one of which seems to be more exciting than the next, consisting of courses, conferences, seminars, and especially frequent exchanges among students and teaching staff.
During the history of science course taught by Michel Morange - for which I signed-up with apprehension - in addition to acquiring the basics of recent evolution, I learned to debate, evaluate, and understand various points of view, the existence of some of which I barely imagined. I feel that it is essential for me to pursue this adventure and to improve on it by participating in the numerous science clubs and other student undertakings at FdV. I intend to participate, among other activities, in the PhD symposium."
Livio Riboli (École Normale Supérieure de Paris); AIV '04; FdV '07; Interdisciplinary Research Center (UMR 571 INSERM);
thesis title: Information transfer and cooperation.
Member of the Paris Montagne (Science Academy, Science Festival...).
The Frontières du Vivant doctoral school is really a product of the combined will of its teachers and students. Following completion of my Approches interdisciplinaires du Vivant (AIV) master's degree, I was able to enter the FdV doctoral program the first time it was offered, realizing a dream that made me very happy. At FdV I met highly motivated, open-minded students from around in the world who were committed to their research, and to exchanging ideas, who mutually encouraged each other and cast a critical eye on their respective projects.
The Liliane Bettencourt doctoral program provides unequaled course offerings, high-quality, personalized supervision, and scientific excellence, all overseen by the FdV international scientific council. FdV is an enthusiastic community of dedicated and responsible scientists. I coordinate an FdV working group on interdisciplinary approaches to information science, which has enabled me to deepen my understanding of the concepts I encountered during my thesis work.
Over the course of my AIV master's degree studies, and now in the FdV PhD program, I have also met students with whom I have come to share a commitment to provide access to science studies by motivated young people, as well as to promote greater integrity in science. The value of FdV is increased by its role as component of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CRI), which provides the school an additional interface with researchers, students from other doctoral schools, and AIV master's degree students. The FdV doctoral school is a springboard for carrying out research, more generally, for allowing one to dare, to create, to innovate...
École Normale Supérieure de Paris (Neurophysics and Physiology)
Thesis title: Dynamics of the neuron firing-threshold: A study using biophysical models - implications in synaptic integration.
My thesis work concerns the biophysics of neurons, and my subject is situated at the intersection of physics, physiology, and molecular biology. First of all, I should mention that the pursuit of interdisciplinary studies is a problem in France, since most laboratories are associated with a specific discipline, in which research positions eventually become available.
The Frontières du Vivant (FdV) doctoral program allows and encourages thesis work that involves more than one discipline, even paradoxical ones. In addition, a real effort is made at FdV to encourage discussion and exchange among students and faculty. The resulting interaction is excellent, since it creates a "user-friendly" work environment, and in science, good ideas are often born of encounters among people of different backgrounds.
FdV course offerings are high quality, and are often presented in a non-academic style. The FdV faculty actively follows the progress of thesis work, and students are invited to become actively involved in the organization of the school. This organizational structure at FdV, which I consider very positive, is usually found only in research laboratories, where everyone participates in the activities. Finally, the individual research budget accorded to each student for participating in scientific workshops outside the strict framework of their thesis work, or for interaction with research teams outside France, allowed me to collaborate with a group at Harvard.
The following keywords come to mind in characterizing the qualities of the Frontières du Vivant doctoral school: dynamism, user-friendliness, emulation, stimulation, openness.