2010 thesis prize
Prize for best thesis in biometrics awarded to a researcher from the Inria Lille – Nord Europe research centre
Guillemette Marot - © Inria
Gene expression data currently represent an essential challenge in both human and animal genetics. The statistical analysis of these data represent a key point for their biological interpretation. Guillemette Marot, lecturer in a chair position between Université Lille 2 and the Inria Lille - Nord Europe research centre, addressed this issue during her thesis. Her work was awarded the 2010 prize for best biometrics thesis on 18 November.
What was the context in which you received this prize?
Guillemette Marot: Every two years, the French Biometrics Society launches a call for young biostatistician doctors to send two copies of their thesis, and a group of referees select the best thesis in the field. The prize is presented at the end of the Young Researchers day, devoted to the presentation of work carried out by young biometricians within the framework of their thesis.
Where did you complete your thesis?
I primarily completed my thesis at the INRA Jouy-en-Josas centre, under the supervision of Jean-Louis Foulley and Florence Jaffrézic. I also spent six months at Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland at the start of my second thesis year. There I worked with Claus-Dieter Mayer, with whom I continued to collaborate upon my return to France. I want to thank these three thesis supervisors, as they deserve much of the credit for this prize.
What was the research topic?
Statistical modelling for the analysis of gene expression data. DNA chips make it possible to study the expression of several thousand genes simultaneously. These experiments are increasingly used to understand the functioning of cells and make it possible to, for example, research genes involved in certain illnesses. The analysis of these experiments raises true statistical problems, as results are sought on several thousand genes simultaneously from a very small number of individuals.
How have you promoted your research results?
I promoted the results through articles in international reviews as well as packages distributed on the official site of R software. The implementation of these packages encourages the use of models that can seem complicated at times but are very useful for analysing data.
Your work is at the convergence of mathematics and biology…
Guillemette Marot : Yes, and one of the difficulties of biostatistics is the issue of finding a common language between applied mathematicians and biologists. But it is a very enriching challenge, and I hope to continue to develop this interface between biology and statistics in my new position, especially as I will belong to both the Inria MODAL team and the Public Health team at the faculty of medicine.