“My diploma thesis in 180 seconds”: PhD pupil Alphanie Midelet wins the nationwide finals

Alphanie Midelet, a researcher at Inserm and the University of Grenoble Alpes, won the first jury prize in Lyon on May 31 in the “My Work in 180 Seconds” final. He will present his work on sleep apnea at the international finals in Canada.

Alphanie Midelet, a doctoral student at Grenoble Alpes University, won the finals of the “My Work in 180 Seconds” competition. More than 600 candidates took part in this year’s 2022. The 26-year-old will represent France in the international finals, which will take place on October 6, 2022 in Montreal.

Sixteen young researchers followed one another on the podium on Tuesday, May 31, at the Lyon job fair to try to win the first jury prize. They have already passed the semi-final selection, which brought together 58 doctoral students. Their challenge: to present their diploma thesis in a simple, popular and convincing way in just three minutes and one slide.

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Sharing science and encouraging research professions

At 18:30, the orchestra started the finals in 2022 in front of an audience of 1,200 people. Astrophysicist Hélène Courtois, vice president of Lyon 1 University and sponsor of the event, says that “what gives value to science is sharing.” This popularization competition can also “force people to do research“, Starts at the opening of the event. This year, the Prize for High School Students was created, among other things, with the hope of arousing interest in the university.

To the applause of the crowd, ten doctoral students and six doctoral students from metropolitan and overseas universities came to the stage to present their work.

Authentic and diverse presentations of diploma theses

Research topics were very diverse: understanding and learning about the peaks of infection in bats in Réunione, developing legal aspects of labeling of seafood products to better inform consumers and protect the environment, increase the effectiveness of chemo-immunotherapy in lung cancer, better characterization and prediction of the stability of cosmetic creams, use of the potential of graphene for charging smartphones, computers, electric cars, etc.

“I would like to thank the researchers for their creativity,” said Hélène Courtois, welcoming the ‘authentic’ and ‘colorful’ presentations. For Franck Debouck, president of the University of Lyon, this exercise is “extremely interesting.” “Some PhD students become educators-researchers. It is a very good connection for teaching“, He adds.

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Avoid myocardial infarction

The winner, Alphanie Midelet, convinced the jury with a presentation of his diploma thesis on the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. “Sufficient sleep is not enough. Sleep while breathing is, yes, it is necessary,” he chanted at the beginning of his presentation. “When you have sleep apnea, the airways darken until they become clogged, before the resumption of breathing is accompanied by micro-awakening,” he explains.

To help them sleep, 1.4 million French people are connected to a machine that sends them air. “But with the wrong settings, the apnea continues,” Alphanie warns.

The researcher collected data from these patients and developed an algorithm that allows this machine to be better tuned. However, her thesis goes even further: she wants to prevent heart attacks. Doctors actually observed changes in apnea the night before the heart attack.

“Unexpected” victory

“I was very happy, more than in all the other stages. I loved it!” Alphanie comments as he leaves the stage. The young woman, excited to win the first prize, said she was “very surprised” by her victory. “It’s unexpected, I don’t realize it at all. I liked the presentations of many other candidates,” he says. “Since I thought it would be my last step, I was less stressed than in my previous presentations. Suddenly I had no brakes, I enjoyed sharing my speech,” he explains.

In order to prepare for his performance, the researcher collaborated with Ludovic Lecordier, an actor who trains oral communication in Grenoble. “After the semifinals, I rewrote a small part so that it resembled me more and I was fine,” he says.

She now has several months to fully immerse herself in her presentation before performing on the podium of the international finals in Canada.

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