Portraits

From Stanford, with passion and gratefulness

The Director of Daldrup-Link, her host laboratory at Stanford, California, proposed a job to Fanny Chapelin, after a 2-month internship. With her diploma in biological engineering, Fanny has been working with Daldrup-Link for the past 2 years and has just been nominated laureate of the 2013 Engineer of the Year Prize (Usine Nouvelle).

From Stanford, with passion and gratefulness

While she was at UTC – where she spent “the best years of her life” – Fanny Chapelin studied the speciality “Design and innovation of bio-products”. She did her first industrial placement with the French company Guerbet which allowed her to familiarise herself with contrast media products and to gain an early insight to research and work in the USA. “At the time, Guerbet was working with an America company who proposed that Fanny did an internship in their laboratories in California. Since I already travelled a lot during my studies, I wasn’t over-enthusiastic about moving to the USA… until I heard the magic word, Stanford!” Fanny only came back to France to present her end of studies dissertation.

Marking stem cells by intravenous injection

In Stanford, the ‘rooky’ research scientist investigated a contrast media product called ferumoxytol used to monitor the status of an implant replacing bone or cartilage in the human body. The Daldrup-Link Laboratory has been working with this specific product for about 10 years –originally it was an iron supplement for anaemia cases. “Bone marrow in these cases is seen as black when analysed by MRI, and this led to the idea that ferumoxytol could be used as a media contrast product. I developed the technique that now allows us to administer the product by intravenous injection”, explains Fanny Chapelin. If the implant is black compared with the surrounding tissue, this indicates that it has been accepted by the host body. If the implant image is clear, this can mean that the implant is being rejected. Fanny finalised the possibility of resorting to ferumoxytol intravenous injections, which process avoids having to extract stem cells from the patient and culture-replicate them for the purpose of cell marking. “Stem cell extractions, via an invasive process, were a source of worry for surgeons; the possibility to get the results by intravenous simplified the use of the ferumoxytol media product.” Clinical trials have begun. “Implant contrast media products were removed from the market-place”, notes Fanny Chapelin. “This implies that there is a real need in the health sector and, since the ferumoxytol had already been authorised for anaemia, its certification as a media contrast product should prove simpler. Between 5 to 10 years from now, it could be adopted by the professional practitioners and enable – if necessary – a rapid replacement of an implant, thereby contributing significantly to the patients’ wellbeing.”

On her way to a PhD in the USA?

Fanny Chapelin is captivated by her research. “Our laboratory has extraordinary means and tools. This provides a major opening for further research”, ensures Fanny? Another feature is that the lab.team is truly international in its composition. The members hail from India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Germany … “There is a high level of mutual aid among us, albeit to keep our English technical vocabulary up to par! “ Having lived on the campus a while – “Stanford is a magnificent township constantly upgrading its facilities to keep to the forefront, a place where students can live, study, work without leaving the campus” – Fanny moved out of Stanford. She then came over to Paris, just for a few days after being nominated laureate of the 2013 Engineer of the Year Prize awarded by the magazine Usine Nouvelle. “My lady lab. director encourages us to participate in a maximum number of events inasmuch as they add visibility and help with seeking finance for the research programme. That was why I applied to be considered for this Prize with for an instant imagining that I would be the winner. After all, I’m only two years into my career now”, she adds enthusiastically. Fanny Chapelin is also very grateful to Claude-Olivier Sarde, Head of the specialty courses in Design and innovation of bio-products at UTC. “Apart from the fact that his lectures were brilliant, he really looked after us. For example, he fought tooth and nail for me to get the ‘admin’ documents I needed for admission to Stanford”, says this young lady who, this year, will register to prepare a PhD thesis in the USA. “In 5 years’ time, I hope to successfully obtain my PhD and then pursue research into tissue engineering and medical imaging. There will certainly be new developments of MRI techniques, given its totally non-invasive feature”.

More informations : http://daldrup-link-lab.stanford.edu/

Bio-Notes:

  • 2006 - Obtained her Baccalaureate in Beijing, China
  • 2009 - Admission to UTC
  • 2012 - Graduated from UTC, followed by a first professional job with Daldrup-Link Laboratory, Stanford, Ca.
  • 2013  First scientific paper published
  • First presentation of her research work at the WMIC (World Molecular Imaging Congress) 5 000 attendees, Savannah, Ga)
  • Laureate of the 2013 edition of the “Engineer of the Year in Science” Usine Nouvelle.