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The future is being made in UST, a repository of variety

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My Global Friend

“The future is being made in UST, a repository of variety”

Maylis Boitet (doctoral program, bio-medical science and technology major, Institut Pasteur Korea Campus of UST)

Researcher Maylis Boitet, who goes anywhere in the world where a new experience and learning await her, is a person who has “acting DNA.” She said that the Institut Pasteur Korea campus of UST, where scientists come from all over the world and where the spirit of Pasteur, the father of microbiology, exists, is the best place to pursue her dream. Let us introduce Maylis, who has both sharp intelligence and great sensibility, and how her motto “carpe diem” has greatly influenced her to lead a happy life.

“Animals and travel! Life is a journey to find what I like.”

"I’ve liked animals since childhood, and wanted to be a veterinarian," she said. After graduating from high school, Maylis, who grew up in near Paris, France, entered the University of Lyon with intention of becoming a veterinarian. Her affection for animals led her to toxicology studies, and she majored in biotechnology for her Master’s course.

There is one more thing she likes as much as animals, and that is travel to experience new cultures. Going to Australia to learn English at the age of 18 was a chance for Maylis to broaden her horizons and have an open mind. In particular, during her time there, she said that she became interested in Asian culture and interacted with friends from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.

"During my master course I went to Barcelona, Spain as an exchange student,” Maylis said. “I went to Japan to take a working holiday and participated in vaccine development research and animal protection internship programs in Vietnam and Taiwan, respectively." Maylis was ready to go wherever the beauty and culture of a new city could be encountered. In particular, she had no hesitation in going to Asian countries where she could have animal-related experience such as in zoos and national parks.

Her life in Korea began by working as an intern at the Chungnam Wild Animal Rescue Center. "I had difficulty communicating because I was not accustomed to Korean, but the team members treated me so warmly that I felt like I was in my hometown,” Maylis said. “That experience led me to look for schools and organizations where I could have an opportunity for more experience in Korea, and I was fortunate enough to participate in the internship program at the Institut Pasteur Korea for 6 months starting from January 2016."

"In Korea I discovered my vocation as a researcher. UST made it possible."

"Rather than becoming a veterinarian in France, I wanted to continue my research at the Institut Pasteur Korea to grow into an expert in the health care sector to protect the health of animals and human beings," she said.

Having finished the internship and gone back to France to get her master's degree, Maylis chose Korea from among many options in pursuing her doctoral degree. The reason was that the Institut Pasteur Korea Campus of UST has an attractive system for graduate students to participate in advanced research.

For Maylis, the Institut Pasteur Korea Campus of UST was the best choice to experience Korean culture while enhancing her expertise in life sciences. In fact, the Institut Pasteur is a world-class biomedical research institute rooted in France. The Institut Pasteur Korea, a global research institute for life science was established in 2004 in partnership between the Institut Pasteur in France and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), and it has strived for the diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases and medicines for them to contribute to public health in the world, as well as Korea.

"While a veterinarian's life is rewarding, the daily routine is repeated. On the other hand, every day in a lab searching for unknown results is newer and more fun," she said. Maylis is now in the third semester at the Institut Pasteur Korea studying for a Ph.D. She is participating in research to develop a new animal model using optical technology and identify the causes and solutions of brain diseases such as inflammation of animal brains. The ultimate goal is to develop medicine for brain diseases. Regular meetings with UST colleagues from all over the world are also valuable time for her. Interaction with friends from diverse national backgrounds gives her new energy.

"Life is a series of choices, so we must be faithful to the present."

"It may sound trite, but “carpe diem” is my favorite expression,” she said. “If you are faithful to the present, you will not regret what you become in the future. The future will be a series of opportunities and choices, but now I want to strive for research in the biotech sector."

After finishing her doctoral work, Maylis, who is faithful to the present but not hesitant to take on new challenges, wants to work in a startup that develops diagnostic devices using advanced technologies such as AI, based on an understanding of the relationship between animals and human beings. This reflects her conviction that that researchers in science and medicine should also know about both human life and business. In this sense, it is only natural that she also considers starting her own business. Whichever way she decides, Maylis is ready to embark on a new journey whether it will be in Korea, France or another country.

For young people who worry about their future, she advised, “Do it, first." She did not know much about the country at first. However, her open mind and curiosity made it possible for her to see the vision and value of UST and decide to go to Korea. Everybody is afraid of the unknown lying ahead, but taking on new challenges creates more opportunities.