Angélique Perrillat-Mercerot - From Poitiers to Pavia

 

Angélique Perrillat-Mercerot has been a Phd student at the laboratory of Mathematics and Applications (LMA UMR 7348) at the University of Poitiers since 2016. Thanks to an EC2U grant, she was able to go in May 2019 on a mission to the University of Pavia to consolidate existing partnerships between the two institutions but also to explore new collaboration opportunities.

 

Can you remind us of the context in which your mission took place?

Since 2015, the LMA laboratory and the University Hospital of Poitiers have been working together on the processing of data from medical imaging within the team DACTIM-MIS (Data Analysis and Computations Through Imaging Modeling-Mathématiques, Imagerie, Santé).  I have been working in this team since 2016 and my research has focused on energetic substrates kinetics and on tumor growth.

On their side, since 2015, research teams of the University of Pavia have been conducting studies on tumor growth. They have opted for a model describing tumor mechanical impact and growth
With various past and present collaborations, the joint work of these teams has already proved successful. In the present case, the union of the two visions of the tumor behavior (mechanical impact for the Italian team and energetic exchanges for our team) could lead to the elaboration and  study of an innovative, relevant and promising model for the description and prediction of tumor growth.

How did your mission unfold?

First, I gave a presentation to the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering of the Pavia University. It enabled me to meet other researchers. They may be interested in a future collaboration on anatomical structures modelling.

I then attended a two-day workshop on “Recent advances in Phase-Field modeling: from Engineering to Biology” where I was able to interact with different teams, from Pavia and also from other countries. My participation helped me to better understand the possibilities arising from their approaches based on phase field models for solving interfacial problems

Have any collaboration projects come to fruition from this mission?

With the mathematics department of the Pavia university, of course! We have established models describing both mechanical and nutritic tumor behavior.  Now we will study them and compare them to real data.

We will soon have a 7 Tesla MRI in Poitiers that will enable us to get more precise data of the metabolites of interest. This way, we will be able to make substantial progress in our shared research. And we don’t intend to stop there!

Regarding the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, both teams seem very motivated to work together, so all doors are wide open.

Any anecdote to tell us?

To go to Pavia by train, I had to catch a connection in Zurich, where apparently speaking French, Italian and English (that is, two out of the three official languages of Switzerland and the chief international language) is not enough to be guided. Everybody was answering me in German and was expecting me to make an effort…Thankfully, I managed to catch my train!

Anyway, let’s talk pizza! I’ve learned that the tomato sauce is not requisite, and that it can be easily replaced by fresh tomatoes.

 What can be, according to you, the benefits of the EC2U project?

A lot of people see Europe as a faraway concept that brings them no benefits. EC2U puts Europe within reach for citizens of medium sized cities. On the Research side, it enables to strengthen the links that are already present between the partners of the Alliance. Moreover, the cultural impact for all the participants is far from negligible.

Raquel Pinto - From Coimbra to Pavia

 

Raquel Pinto is a Medicine Student at the University of Coimbra. In 2018, she did her Erasmus Traineeship in Medicine in Pavia. Here she tells us about her experience.

Hello! My name is Raquel, I am 25 years old and I did my Erasmus Traineeship in Medicine in Pavia, from September to December 2018.

Pavia is a small and easily walkable city in the north of Italy, very close to Milan, and is famous for having one of the oldest universities in Italy and because of that, the city has a lot of young people. The university itself is beautiful. The different faculties are scattered around town, but they are very close to each other, and all the buildings have courtyards where you can relax between classes. Apart from the university, the city has a lot of history and the streets are all cobblestone, which actually gives Pavia an extra charm.

For me Pavia was the perfect city for my Erasmus experience, because it allowed me not only to meet people from all over the world and learn about different cultures and traditions, but also because I got to learn and practice a lot during the 4 months I was there. I was in my last year of Medicine at the time and I did hospital rotations in Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics. All the staff I encountered was very welcoming and despite not knowing Italian very well in the beginning, over time I was able to speak the language better, which helped immensely and made the whole experience even more valuable. Although I didn’t have classes at the university itself and my academic experience was solely at the hospital, the international students who were studying Medicine in earlier years seemed to enjoy the classes a lot.

I had a wonderful time in Pavia during the four months I was there, and I highly recommend the city for anyone who is looking for a small yet lively place to live their Erasmus. I made a lot of friends, had fun, travelled and gained a lot of experience that will be most certainly useful in my first years as a newly-graduated doctor.

Daniel Dumitru Badea - From Iasi to Poitiers

 

Daniel Dumitru Badea, a Master student at the Geology faculty of Iasi tells us about his Erasmus + internship at the PALEVOPRIM Institute of Paleontology, at the University of Poitiers in 2019.

“My name is Daniel Dumitru Badea, I am a Master student at the Geology department of the Faculty of Geography and Geology from Iași. I am studying Well Geology specialization, currently in the second year of studies. Last year I was able to be part of an Erasmus + internship, during three months, from February to the end of April, at the PALEVOPRIM Institute of Paleontology, at the University of Poitiers, in France.

In my first years, I managed to go to Italy, more specifically, to Sardinia Island, in the summer of 2016. I was also able to go there in the summer of 2017, both stages being internships. Since I like to learn things and to have experiences, in the second semester of the 2016-2017 academic year, I have also visited the Azores, in the Sao Miguel Island, at University of Azores, in Portugal, which was part of a scholarship. For my master’s degree years, I chose France, for the fourth Erasmus + experience, where I spent 3 months, for an internship, in one of the most renowned paleontology laboratories in Europe, namely PALEVOPRIM, located in Poitiers, a French town twinned with Iasi, where I had a great experience due to the people who were friendly and welcoming. I met Masters and PhD students, from different countries and continents such as Ethiopia, Greece, Malaysia, Brazil, Morocco. Some were from France, who were doing internships or were studying in the same laboratory. They have all became my friends and we still keep in touch. In addition to all the laboratory activities, carried out during the internship, I had the opportunity to visit the surroundings. I went to The Valley of the Monkeys, a zoo dedicated to a multitude of species of monkeys. I have also visited a “delicious” city, I am saying this because here is the famous Museum of almonds and macarons, which is named Montmorillon. This is a town twinned with the Putna commune, from Romania. Being a geologist, I will mention that the mineral montmorillonite is named after this city.

During the internship I had the opportunity to use the most efficient microscopes and also the latest scientific information, to identify the species of micromammals, who lived in the area of ​​the Moldovian Platform around seven million years ago. This is something unique for paleontological studies within Department of Geology from Iași because this branch of paleontology was not really studied much in the past. All my work there was very well coordinated by the specialists in this domain, teachers from the university there, or researchers from the laboratory, but also by the coordinating professor from Iasi, Bogdan Gabriel Rățoi. It was a real honor to be able to collaborate with them for my first year of master’s degree and to accumulate the information necessary to continue my studies. I really wish to apply for a PhD in paleontology, during the PhD level. If I have the opportunity, I really want to keep collaborating with the PALEVOPRIM laboratory from France and most likely I will also apply to other Erasmus + internships at this lab. I also wish other Geology students live such nice experiences. Some have already experienced this, such as my colleague, PhD student Bogdan Stelian Haiduc.

In conclusion, I would like to mention that, every Erasmus + experience was a life lesson for me. Not only have I managed to make many friends from all over the world but also I have learned that anything can be done as long as you really want it. I really say this as a motivation, an encouragement for all students, or future students of our University and I wish them to be able to live many experiences like this. Most important however is to learn something from each one and to be able to grow both personally and professionally, during these internships.

I wish to all the students from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University from Iasi, good luck in learning, to go beyond their limits. They will be able to really get to know each other, have fun and make the most of those internships and scholarships stages of Erasmus + program. “

 

Daniel Darles - From Poitiers to Turku

 

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Daniel Darles, I’m a Phd Student in cognitive psychology at the university of Poitiers. I’m interested in cognitive development related to the visual search for verbal information in written documents.

What is your home university and the partner university where your mission took place?

I work at the University of Poitiers and I went to the University of Turku, in Finland.

Why did you choose this particular university?

I’ve chosen this university because researchers from my team, including my PhD supervisor, were in contact with a researcher from the University of Turku. Besides, this Finnish researcher is also an expert in my field of study, so this visit was a great opportunity to improve my working method.

What was the objective of your mission?

The objective of my mission was to set up a survey among a Finnish audience in order to publish a scientific paper.

How did your mission unfold?

It went very well. We started by setting up a pilot study, for which we had to process information and work on material in order to implement the planned experiment. I’ve also presented one of my previous work during a team meeting. I’ve met many researchers and PhD students coming from different countries (Romania, Iran). It was very nice to be in contact with them.

Unfortunately, this mission, that was supposed to last 4 months, from January to April 2020, could not be completed due to the Covid 19 crisis. I had to leave Finland sooner than expected, on the 15th of March, and couldn’t finish what I had started.

Have any collaboration projects come to fruition from this mission?

We agreed to stay in contact in order to pursue from a distance the setting up of the study and our collaboration.

Could you speak the local language ? If not, was it a hindrance to communication?

I didn’t know any Finnish, but I’ve learned some words during my stay. Fortunately, Finns are almost all English-speaking, which helped me communicate with them.

Any anecdote to tell us?

During the winter months, the temperatures are very cold in Turku (-20°C). It is so cold that the Aura river, that runs through the city, is totally frozen. You can see the locals ice-skating on it in the middle of the day.

What can be, according to you, the benefits of the EC2U project?

EC2U is a very interesting project as it offers mobility funding, for students and staff, that enables them to grow professionally. In my case, it made my research study abroad possible. The communication and links that have been established between the University of Poitiers and the other EC2U universities offer many benefits and could be of great interest for students who want to do part of their studies abroad or more broadly wish to build up their resume or for researchers who want to develop collaborations projects.

 


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