Mathilda Bedin, PhD student, from research to medicine

Mathilda has been a doctoral student in the biology and epithelial diseases laboratory at the Imagine Institute for three years and is now studying medicine to become a pediatrician and geneticist. She tells us about her journey from biology to medicine, from research to the clinic, and how the Imagine model, which brings together researchers and clinicians around patients, has confirmed her vocation.

Published on 02.09.2019


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Mathilda Bedin

Have you always had medicine in the back of your mind?


I knew since high school that I wanted to study biology and genetics thanks to my life and earth sciences teacher who introduced me to genetics from original and exciting angles. When I left high school, I was also interested in medicine but I didn't think I had the profile to follow these studies. I also wanted to do research, even if I didn't know what this profession really meant. After an agro-veteran preparatory course and a bachelor's degree in biology, I entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure for a Master's degree in developmental and cellular biology. In parallel, I did a Master 2 at the University of Paris VI in stem cell biology. After my studies, I benefited from a doctoral school grant to participate in a translational research project on renal diseases and tubular proteinuria in the laboratory of epithelial biology of Matias Simons at Imagine. I am currently writing my thesis on genetic proteinuria. A year and a half ago, I made the decision to go into medicine and I started the process to get a bridge to enter the 3rd year of medical school.

What drives you to go from research to medicine?

It is true that it is much rarer to go from research to medicine, especially since the selections are very thorough. Next year, at the University of Paris Descartes, there will only be 7 of us who will be admitted directly into the 3rd year of medicine, 3 of whom have science theses.

In my opinion, medicine and research are inseparable. The university hospital doctor has a major role to play in advancing research and medicine and strengthening the links between them. I hope to use my "researcher's culture" and my scientific curiosity to develop this approach. My career path has allowed me to open up to other subjects, other specialties, and above all to understand that, in research as in biology and medicine, multidisciplinarity is very important and allows us to advance more quickly.

Sometimes in the course of research, we can get lost along the way, no longer aware of the implications of our discoveries on patients and what they will change for them, we forget the importance of what we are doing and our approach can become abstract. At Imagine, we see patients every day, we work with doctors, it helps a lot to understand all this. And throughout the project I worked on, I was lucky enough to collaborate with doctors, notably Corinne Antignac, Olivia Boyer and Aude Servais, who passed on all their passion to me.

What advice would you give?

Before starting, it is important to exchange with students in medicine, science, and medicine and science, with interns, clinicians, to understand all the implications of these studies and these professions. During my studies, it was these exchanges that confirmed my attraction to medicine.  

I would also advise immersing oneself in one or more hospital departments. I was able to benefit from an immersion in the pediatric nephrology department of the Hôpital Necker-Enfants malades and in genetic consultations. They highlighted the human aspect of medicine, the links with children and families, and the role of pedagogy in these relationships.

The road is long and full of pitfalls, especially from a financial point of view (there are currently very few, if any, solutions for financing one's medical career, unlike the medical-research career). But there is support and solidarity, and you have to rely on your vocation, your motivation and your passion!