Interview with Antoine Versini, participant in the PSL University's final of the contest "My Thesis in 180 seconds"
Antoine Versini, ex-doctorant dans l'équipe de Raphaël Rodriguez (Chimie et biologie du cancer) à l'Institut Curie, est maintenant en post-doc dans l'équipe du Prof. Dr. Karl Gademann au sein de l'Université de Zurich (UZH). Il a décidé de participer cette année à la finale « Ma Thèse en 180 secondes » de l’université PSL.
Antoine Versini, a former doctoral student in Raphaël Rodriguez's team (Chemistry and Biology of Cancer) at Institut Curie, is now a post-doc in Prof. Dr. Karl Gademann's team at the University of Zurich (UZH). He decided to participate this year in the PSL University'a final of the contest "My Thesis in 180 seconds".
Why did you register for the PSL University's final of the contest of "My thesis in 180 seconds" and how did you come up with the idea of doing this?
I've known about the competition for a while now since I studied at ESPCI, an engineering school and then went on to a doctorate. I've attended a few finals, or at least moments when students presented their work in 3 minutes, and I was very attracted by this aspect, the format, 3 minutes, very short, with the need to give a really clear message immediately. And above all, it's also the aspect of popularizing science that appeals to me enormously because when I was at the ESPCI engineering school, I took part in an exhibition at the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie where we organized an exhibition of popularizing science "Inventors of the future" of the ESPCI and so it's a bit in the continuity of all that, to move forward, to present my thesis work in a popularized way to a lay audience and in a very interesting format.
How are you preparing for this final?
For the moment, I am preparing by myself since I unfortunately do not have the possibility to attend the training sessions as I am currently abroad. However, I will attend the last training session next Friday, which is the last rehearsal, so I might be able to get the last tips that will allow me to be at my best during the final, but otherwise I am still in contact with Raphaël Rodriguez's lab with whom I regularly exchange, with whom I have exchanged my script, with whom I exchange the presentation slide, and with whom I will make one or two presentations before D-day to get advice on what can go well, on what can go not so well, in order to improve myself.
Do you think that your time at the Institut Curie can help you for this competition? And if so, how?
Yes, first of all the project, I carried out all my project at Institut Curie, it is the basis of what I am going to describe, it is what I did at Institut Curie, so we will say that from that point of view, Institut Curie brings me a lot. Otherwise, perhaps the experience I got in the laboratory, the exchange with different people, the projects I was able to carry out, the experience I acquired during my three years of thesis at Institut Curie...
What do you think will be the most difficult thing to do on D-day?
Not to hesitate. I will do my best to know my speech perfectly, I don't have - from my point of view - too much difficulty in expressing myself in public, so it shouldn't be too much of a worry but maybe, not to get lost if I make a mistake or if I forget something because there is no margin of error in 3 minutes and as it's to the second, no margin of error, so don't stop and go on in spite of everything because the subject, I know.
What do you expect from this competition on a professional and personal level?
On a professional level, I'd say not so much, it's more the idea of being able to present something complex to a lay audience and the pleasure to finally make this presentation. From a personal point of view, the experience of having learned to do something that I may never do again, that is to say, something so concise and that in the end can be useful even from a professional point of view when I am going to be asked what I have done in my career, in my life, to be able to bring out this kind of elements in a very short time to be able to go to the essential finally.
But above all, it's the pleasure to participate in this contest and to talk about science in a different way.
What are your plans for the future?
I have a second year of post-doc that I will carry out in the same laboratory here in Switzerland in Zurich and I plan to apply for the CNRS research fellow competition starting next year in Raphaël Rodriguez's team because I would like to come back to Institut Curie because I really had a good time there and there are good projects. If it's not possible right now, it doesn't matter, I would continue on other projects but I'd like to come back to the Paris area, maybe with a research position or an intermediate post-doc with the final objective of coming back to Institut Curie in Raphaël's team as soon as the opportunity is given to me.
Interview conducted on 11.03.22
The PSL University's final of the contest "My thesis in 180 seconds" will be held on March 21 at 5:30 pm, at Institut Curie (amphi Burg)