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Featured Scientist: Jul. 2014


Dr. Christophe Lenglet

By David Woods, PhD.

“What’s the point of doing research if you can’t share or communicate what you’ve learned?”

Armed with master’s degrees in applied mathematics, computer science and engineering from colleges in his native France, Christophe Lenglet, 34, went on to secure a doctorate in biomedical imaging and neuroscience at Sophia Antipolis, located in a technology park situated between Antibes and Nice.

The park is home to companies in computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology as well as being a locus for higher education. But its thrust is not only in science but also in bringing together people from different intellectual horizons and fostering interaction, networking and cross-fertilization of ideas. Clearly this has influenced Christophe, who has authored or coauthored some 25 articles, more than 30 conference papers, and some 50 abstracts. “What’s the point in doing research” he says, “if you can’t share or communicate what you’ve learned?”

From the sunny Côte d’Azur, he made his way to New Jersey for a two-year stint as a research scientist with Siemens Corporation in Princeton, NJ. From there, Christophe moved to the University of Minnesota initially as a research associate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and later joined the medical school’s faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology. He jokes that the trajectory of his places of work seems to be one of ever lower temperatures and that perhaps his next location might be Alaska.

On the other hand, he believes that the trail towards a cure for FA is actually getting warmer. In fact, along with FARA, Ataxia UK and its counterpart in Italy, GoFAR, the goal of the three organizations is achieving effective treatments and a cure in the near term.

Christophe and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota have received numerous grants including FARA’s Kyle Bryant Translational Research award, and his current one from FARA on early and longitudinal assessment of neurodegeneration in the brain and spinal cord in FA, which is also the subject of a paper that Christophe’s team is preparing for publication.

Kyle Bryant is the founder and director of Ride Ataxia, a biking initiative to generate awareness and funds for Friedreich’s ataxia research. Christophe will join Kyle for the first time at Ride Ataxia Philly in October. Working with Kyle and other FA patients, he says, provides him and other researchers with a personal connection that adds a human aspect to research.

An avid triathlon enthusiast, Christophe has completed several Ironman races and will compete in another one scheduled for September in Oklahoma as part of Team FARA. He’s also an enthusiast of TaeKwonDo, the Korean martial art that combines combat and self defense techniques with sport and exercise. In fact, he believes that sport is a good way to make friends and settle in to a new job— sports training is how he met his American wife Katherine, who is studying to be a physical therapist.

What’s next for Dr. Lenglet? He intends to pursue his research interests in mathematical and computational strategies in neuroimaging; translational neuroimaging for neurodegenerative disorders; and human brain anatomical and functional conductivity.

Oh, and he’d like to travel more … perhaps not to Alaska, but somewhere warmer, like the next Ironman competition in Hawaii. Bon Voyage, Christophe.

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