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Juliette Gouhier: Normand-Marceau Scholar 2023


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Here is the profile of Juliette Gouhier, the recipient of the Normand-Marceau scholarship 2023, currently pursuing a doctoral degree in cell and molecular biology under the guidance of Professor François Bordeleau. This scholarship is made possible thanks to the Centre de recherche sur le cancer de l’Université Laval and the Fonds de cancérologie de la Fondation de l’Université Laval. 

Juliette Gouhier's academic journey in France was guided by a passion for biology, gradually evolving into a desire to specialize in human health research. After obtaining her baccalaureate (equivalent to secondary education), she enrolled in a preparatory class BCPST (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences). These two years of preparation for engineering exams are renowned for their rigor and intensity, providing an excellent academic foundation. At the end of this period, she gained admission to AgroParisTech. Upon entering this school, she naturally chose the BIOTECH (biotechnology) specialization to approach various aspects of health research through a multidisciplinary lens. To further specialize in her preferred field, she directed her personal projects towards oncology research, including conducting a state-of-the-art study on personalized medicine in this domain. 

In 2021, she had the opportunity to complete a year of internships as part of an International Study Certificate. She was fortunate to undertake two internships that confirmed her commitment to pursuing academic research. For six months at INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) in Paris, she studied the mechanisms of epilepsy. Seeking her first international experience and aiming to deepen her knowledge of cell adaptation mechanisms to the environment, she joined the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Lisbon. There, she discovered mechanobiology, a field that intrigued her due to the impact of physical conditions in the environment on cells. Mechanobiology is a domain she finds fascinating and highly promising for numerous research projects. 

During this internship, she discovered the work conducted by Professor Bordeleau's team. The laboratory addresses two areas in which she genuinely wants to invest: the study of cancers and the use of in vitro models to better simulate biological reality. As a future engineer, she believes that this type of model can address certain issues not feasible in vivo, while gradually reducing the reliance on animal models. 

She subsequently submitted a spontaneous application for a six-month internship to complete her engineering curriculum and arrived at this laboratory in March 2023. This seamlessly aligns with the various experiences she has accumulated, allowing her to specialize further in her preferred field. The primary goal of her work is to define an alternative splicing profile characteristic and representative of the aggressiveness of tumor cells based on biophysical characteristics of the environment. The long-term objective is to predict the progression of pathology towards a metastatic stage to develop a prognostic tool. Motivated by the potential clinical impact of these research efforts and working in an advanced laboratory, she is fully dedicated to this mission, contemplating the continuation of this path through a doctoral program.