Feedback from our students and graduates

PhD students' opinion

A year in a start-up

Nathalie Py (PhD obtained on 12/16/2014) talks about the engineering contracts in a start-up funded by ICN PhD program (reserved to AMU PhD graduates).

Why did you apply to this competition?

First of all, I want to emphasize the fact that of linking the young doctors with local companies is a very good idea. This opens an additional channel to doctors who can’t or do not wish to go away.

For me, this award fells well because I was already interested in the themes developed in the NeuronExpert society. When I discovered that they were participating in the ICN post-doctoral fellowship program, I did not hesitate to apply. Especially as this scholarship allowed me to discover and get into a private company, while keeping the possibility to change at the end of the contract if it did not suit me.


Have you encountered difficulties?

I started my contract in May 2015 at NeuronExpert. It was not easy at first because the stakes are very different between the public and private sectors, especially for a company that is more in service delivery than in basic research. There is more pressure and I had a little trouble following this new rhythm. I began on a project started some months ago in collaboration with the team of Dr. Frédérique Magdinier UMR-S910 (campus Timone). The challenge was to develop new cellular models of neurodegenerative diseases, from human stem cells, not developed within the company until my recruitment on the support of ICN PhD program.

A rewarding experience?

For the needs of society, I learned with the platform IPS of Timone to grow the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) as well as their differentiation into different kinds of progenitor cells. With this funding, I have greatly developed my skills in cell culture. At present, I remain on the Timone campus within the UMR-S910. I have the technology and expertise needed to grow and differentiate iPS cells in good conditions. I can thus provide NeuronExperts different neuronal cell types they needed for pharmacological tests required by their customers.


And the future?

I have just been recruited in NeuronExperts on a “CDI” (permanent position) mission to continue to provide these cells and also develop new models always from HIPS cells.