Interview to Sabine Charon, engineer research in molecular biology, in the cellular team at the Liryc Institute. Alongside the experiments and the results’s analysis that she realizes on a daily basis, Sabine juggles between theoretical and practical missions related to the expression of genes and proteins in various heart rhythm diseases such as ventricular or atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
What's your position at Liryc?
I am a Molecular Biology Engineer.
When did you join the Liryc institute?
I joined the Liryc institute in February 2013.
What research projects are you working on?
I am working on different projects where molecular biology might provide answers. I study gene and protein expression in the different heart rhythm diseases that are studied here at Liryc (Ventricular Fibrillation, Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure). I work on the smallest scale, that is, molecules. I prefer to work alone, but of course, in collaboration with the researchers.
What is your professional background to becoming an engineer at Liryc?
I obtained a Professional Master’s Degree in Genetics, Physiology and Biotechnology in Limoges. Previously I had obtained a DUT in Biological Engineering and a Master's Degree in Technical Sciences, which gave me a very professional career path: one year and three months of internship in four different laboratories over five years of study. I started my professional career at the Molecular Immunology and Embryology Laboratory (IEM- CNRS UMR 6218) in Orleans. I worked at the Fundamental Microbiology and Pathogenicity unit (MFP - CNRS UMR 5234). I also worked at the Rare Diseases: Genetics and Metabolism laboratory (MRGM - INSERM U1211) just before joining the IHU LIRYC.
What's your typical day?
There's not really a typical day. But I rather launch molecular biology experiments in the morning and I rather do the analysis of the results of these experiments in the afternoon.
According to you, what qualities/skills do you think are needed for your position?
For me, the main quality needed for my position is rigour. This is the key to having validated experiment results.
What is your most used tool on a daily basis?
The Molecular Biology platform tools: the apparatus to do quantitative PCR (to see gene expression) and the equipment to do Western Blot (to see protein expression).
In your opinion, is it difficult to be a woman in the scientific world today?
No, I've never had any difficulties as a woman in my field.
Do you think that being a woman makes a difference in your work?
No, I don't think it's any different. However, I see that there are more men in higher positions. I think that there are as many women as men in the BIATOSS staff, on the other hand, at the level of research directors and professors, I would say that there are more men. At the LIRYC Institute, as in most research institutes, all team leaders within the research department are men. It's up to us, as women, to gain more confidence to take on positions of responsibility.
How do you see the women’ position in research 20 years from now?
I think that there will be more women in charge, perhaps not the equal in numbers, but certainly more than today. There has already been a visible change over the last few years; the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in France is currently a woman!