Mathilde Guérin's laurels(ix)

Mathilde Guérin, a doctoral student at theÉcole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie, won the laurels, not of Caesar but of victory, in the regional Ma thèse en 180 secondes competition with a story about Druids, Romans and Gauls. On June 10, she'll be taking part in the national final at Lutèce, with the whole village of Montpellier irreducibles behind her.

The year is 2021 AD. All of Gaul is occupied by the coronavirus. All of Gaul? No! One team of die-hard PhD students is still holding out against the invaders, taking part in the regional final of the "Ma thèse en 180 secondes" science popularization competition. As the 19 candidates take part in this closed-door battle of the chefs , a young woman dressed in red and white makes her entrance: "Oh, what a nuisance! Maybe Pronostix was right when he told me: "Listen, young druid, working on extensive, deep or chronic wounds is going to be complicated! You're wasting your time, you just want to impress the gallery at the my 180-second cure contest!"

What Pronostix obviously hadn't predicted was that Mathilde Guérin(-ix), enrolled at the Sciences Chimiques Balard doctoral school, would charm the jury with a performance straight out of an Asterix album, "except that my Romans are bacteria trying to invade the village of Plaie-ouverte-qui-fait-malix". The tone is set! Enrolled in a doctorate at theÉcole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie in Montpellier, the apprentice Druidess has been pursuing her Idéfix for almost two years: to combat bacterial resistance by designing an intelligent dressing made up of hybrid particles capable of helping wounds to heal and avoiding superinfections. A real alternative to antibiotics, "because antibiotix isn't automatix, talk to your druid about it", Mathilde laughs during her performance.

Mathilde's tour of Gaul

In 2019, Olaf Grossebaf's distant cousin from Normandy will set up home in Montpellier, after completing her engineering degree in Strasbourg. Her domain of the gods? Chemistry "since adolescence" and biology "because the human body and everything that goes on in it fascinates me". Mathilde Guérin soon knew what she was looking for: "A thesis subject that would enable me to combine my two passions and that could be applied to healthcare." TheInstitut des biomolécules Max Mousseron in Montpellier and Cirimat in Toulouse offered her this opportunity, as part of a thesis funded by theInstitut Carnot chimie Balard Cirimat.

Mathilde had already planned to take part in Ma thèse en 180 secondes when, as a student in a physics and chemistry preparatory class in Le Havre, she was already planning her thesis. "It's true that I've been thinking about this competition for a long time. I like to challenge myself, I like to popularize, I do it all the time with my family and friends, because I want to share what I do. It's also an opportunity to show the general public and young students the world of research... and why not arouse curiosity and, who knows, a vocation? Prior to this first experience, Mathilde had also successfully tried her hand at the "Ma thèse en 400 mots" (My thesis in 400 words ) competition organized by the University of Perpignan, where she also won the jury prize.

The secret of the magic potion

As she awaits the national final on June 10, for which Mathilde Guerin has qualified, she is fine-tuning her text, working on her diction and applying the advice she received during the three days of training provided by the doctoral college last March: "We learned to better master the spoken word, the importance of silences, slides, the coherence of the text, I changed the script at least fifteen times... We meet doctoral students from other disciplines and we realize that popularization is not the same depending on whether you're doing quantum physics or the humanities. e.s from other disciplines, and you realize that popularization is not the same for quantum physics as it is for the humanities. And beyond the competition, it's a great experience for our future careers.

A career that the young chemist naturally envisages in research, private or public, "as long as the approach is multidisciplinary and applies to the medical field". And when it's time to say goodbye, we ask her the secret of such enthusiasm and energy, and she answers with Bonemine: "You mean my magic potion? Classical dance and the violin, which I've been playing at the Conservatoire since I was four years old. Enough to overshadow the bard Assurancetourix at the next Victory Banquet on June 10!

My thesis in 180 seconds (MT180)

Organized each year by the CNRS in partnership with university presidents, "Ma thèse en 180 secondes " is an opportunity for doctoral students to present their research topic, in French and in simple terms, to a lay and diverse audience. In three minutes, each doctoral student has to give a clear, concise yet convincing presentation of his or her research project. With just one slide! The competition is inspired by the Three minute thesis (3MT®), developed at the University of Queensland in Australia. The concept was taken up in Quebec in 2012 by the Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas), which decided to extend it to 20 French-speaking countries.