Emmanuel Caruyer : 2013 AFRIF thesis prize
Emmanuel Caruyer worked his thesis while working as part of the Athena project team directed by Rachid Deriche, at the Inria research centre at Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée. He will receive the ATRIF (French Association for the Recognition and Interpretation of Forms) 2013 prize during the RFIA (Recognition of Form and Artificial Intelligence) conference to be held from June 30th to July 4th in Rouan.
Tell us a little about your experience
I started at the École Normale Supérieure de Rennes in 2004 (at that time, it was an annexe to the Cachan ENS) and I was working in the Information Technology and Telecommunications department. I then did an international course in the Université Polytechnique de Catalogne in Barcelona to complete my training. It was during my research training in Barcelona that I met Rachid Deriche, whose work I was familiar with for its pioneering into the field of image processing and medical imaging in particular. He offered me a place on the Odyssée team, now Athéna, first to complete my masters degree, then to go on and do my thesis under his guidance.
And what kind of work did you do for your thesis?
I worked on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), then more specifically on a special procedure known asdispersive MRI scanning, that allows us to observe the structure of the connections between the different parts of the brain. It’s a technique that continues to revolutionize our knowledge of the healthy brain and our understanding of cerebral pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or muscular sclerosis. My work was to concentrate on the mathematical representation of the dispersive MRI signal and on the optimisation of the acquisition sequences. The Athéna team offers an ideal environment for working on this theme, thanks to the wealth of experience in image and biomedical signal processing developed by the team members, but also through its numerous national and international joint ventures. For example, I was able to visit the University of Minnesota medical imaging hyper centre three times during my thesis work, which allowed me to implement and carry out real-life tests on the acquisition sequences that I had developed. This work has now been incorporated into the huge-scale American project “The Human Connectome Project”.
What does receiving the AFRIF thesis prize mean to you?
Of course, it’s a wonderful personal reward, and it’s also recognition of my thesis work from the French scientific community. But it is first and foremost a reward for all those who supported me and helped me during my thesis, starting with my thesis advisor and my colleagues on the one hand, and on the other hand, my wife and family.
What are your plans for the future?
Dispersive MRI scanning technology was born around thirty years ago and although it has achieved a certain degree of maturity, there still remains a lot to be discovered about the potential of this imaging technique. For example, although the typical resolution of the images is around one millimetre, recent developments in the field have shown that it was possible to measure the characteristics of biological tissue at a microscopic scale! This paves the way for the development of real in vivo biopsies that are totally non-invasive. So I hope to continue working in this field and I am delighted to be able do it in France, where I have just joined the CNRS as Research Manager.