Stéphanie Pitre: A Golden Woman

Winner of the "Femme en Or 2008" award (literally: woman in gold, an award for exceptional women), Stéphanie Pitre is first and foremost a woman of passion. "As part of my physics degree at the University of Paris 7, I did an internship in a scientific instrumentation laboratory. It was my first real encounter with research work and with scientific instrumentation. I loved both, that's why I decided to make this my career. As I am also interested in health, I chose to work with medical imaging, a particularly innovative field for applying these tools.

After completing her Master’s degree (DEA) in nuclear physics, in 1999 Stéphanie Pitre joined the "Physics-Biology Interface" team at the IN2P3 (National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics) of CNRS (French Center for Scientific Research) in Orsay, where she prepared her thesis on the design of a prototype mini gamma-camera called POCI (Per-Operative Compact Imager). The result: her doctoral thesis was lauded as "brilliant" and she joined CNRS in 2003 as a researcher. She is now the scientific director in charge of clinical validation of POCI, as part of the neurobiology and oncology imaging and modelling laboratory established in 2006.
 
At the same time, Stephanie Pitre also teaches instrumentation courses to photo-detection Masters students at the University of Paris 7. She believes that teaching is an important activity for a researcher: "Teaching requires you to be very specific, she says. And it’s also a good way to share your research and, perhaps, to encourage students to choose this field for their doctoral theses." And this is in fact what has happened: this year, she is supervising a thesis work in her laboratory.

This hectic schedule sometimes eats into her weekends and holidays, as is often the case with researchers who are passionate about their work. Yet there is more than just science in this young woman’s life. During her years of study, she took on another commitment, humanitarian work. "I wanted to get involved and I had time. I took my first aid certificate at the Red Cross, http://www.cicr.organd as I fully share the principles of this organization, I have, little by little, become increasingly involved in their work." As a member of the Red Cross committee for the Hauts-de-Seine region, she takes part in domestic first aid operations with fire fighters and paramedics, as well as taking on a large part of the administrative work and the training of new emergency workers. “This commitment has an important place in my life.

She has other projects already waiting in the wings: Trecam, an even more efficient gamma camera in development, and in the longer term, she has plans to develop a sensor using new radio-pharmaceutical materials to enhance radio-directed surgery.

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