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LOUISE LEFRANÇOIS - Ph.D. in Life Sciences and Health

What is your professional / educational background and what is your Ph.D. Topic?
My university background:
- Two year diploma in Biological Engineering from the University Institute of Technology of Laval
- A Bachelor's from the University Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand)
- A Master's in Cellular and Molecular Infectiology and Vaccinology from the University François Rabelais of Tours
- A Ph.D. in Life Sciences and Health from the University François Rabelais of Tours

My subject consists of studying the adhesins HBHA and LBP implicated in the interaction of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis with intestinal epithelial cells, the preferred target of the bacteria in vivo (fields of study: Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry.

How has the Ph.D. process been for you?
My dissertation allowed me to discover the career of a researcher with its advantages and disadvantages. I had the good fortune to have a director who was available, who listened, who knew how to give me my autonomy and thinking time in order to make propositions which advanced my project.

The best moments were the first article accepted for publication, the presentation of the results at a conference, meeting other specialists in the field, participating in international conferences and of course the day of my defense.

The difficulties I met were finding my place, being confident in my work and my abilities, preparing my future and looking for a post-doctoral position.

What have you learned from this experience?
The dissertation strengthened my decision to become a researcher, it allowed me to become known in the scientific community, has made me more autonomous and organized, and has given me more confidence in myself.

What advice would you give to a student who was considering a Ph.D.?

I would advise a student who wants to do research to be very sure of this decision, of his or her abilities and the professional project after the research is done. The opportunities afterward are possible but difficult, you need to be mobile, speak English, know how to sell your skills, be open to others, propose projects, ask for financing...all characteristics that are part of the career of a researcher.

What are you doing now?
At the moment, I am requesting financing in order to do a post-doc at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.