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News & Press: Member News

Member Spotlight: Francis Poulin

Tuesday, February 25, 2020   (0 Comments)
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The Member Spotlight Q&A is part of an ongoing CASSS series, in which we invite members to meet other members of the CASSS Community.

The Member Spotlight is an ongoing Q&A series focused on getting to know the CASSS community. Today’s spotlight shines
on Francis Poulin, Director, Analytical Development at Sanofi.

Q. What was your motivation to volunteer with CASSS?
My first CASSS meeting was WCBP 2016, when DC ended up under 20 inches of snow after the “Snowzilla” blizzard. I was born and raised in Québec, so I did not think anything of going to the meeting until I stepped out of Reagan National Airport and realized the city had ground to a halt. Several attendees ended up being delayed or could not make it to the symposium. Despite the disruption, Karen, the CASSS staff and the committee members who did make it rose up to the challenge and held a successful event. As I witnessed this unfold, I knew immediately that this was an organization I wanted to be a part of, and I volunteered to be on the scientific committee at the first opportunity a few weeks later.

Q. What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?
I like the wide variety of activities in the Northeast. Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks and Mount Desert Island in Maine are among the top of my list for skiing and hiking, respectively. During a weekend in NYC you will find me at one of the museums by day and on Broadway by night. I am not sure if it counts as a hobby, but I always enjoyed building Lego sets. My brother and I had an entire city in our basement, and I have great memories of playing with my older cousins’ Classic Space sets. Now I am an AFOL and recently built Farnsworth House. I look forward to receiving the Millennium Falcon as a present someday (set 75192, in case anyone I know is reading…).

Q. What's your favorite type of food or special dish you cook? Why?
I discovered French regional cuisine when I visited France as a teenager, and I was amazed by the diversity of flavors one may encounter in different regions and towns. Nowadays I relish visiting our site in Paris as my colleagues keep finding new restaurants to try, and they are always fantastic.

Q. What is your favorite movie, tv show, music or book?
My all-time favorite book series is Dune, especially God Emperor of Dune. I really look forward to seeing the universe that Denis Villeneuve will create for the new Dune movie he is directing. If I can add a favorite TV show, that would absolutely be Frasier.

Q. What famous person (dead or alive) would you choose to have dinner with? Why?
Actually, my dream is to have a time machine and go back to a time before someone was famous to discuss with them whether they think their work will be significant for future generations. Time travel not being an option yet, I would love to have dinner with Carme Ruscalleda in Barcelona. I would have a long conversation about the history of Catalunya; its cultural and culinary traditions, as well as get a first-hand account of her success in earning seven Michelin stars.

Q. What’s your favorite travel experience?
Scotland. I visited a few years ago and was fascinated by the weather that was constantly changing, the stunning landscapes from the Isle of Skye to the obscure lochs, and the fiercely independent Scottish people, and their extraordinary history.

Q. What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am Canadian and I never learned to play hockey, even though my dad was a Pee Wee hockey coach in my hometown.

Q. How did you get inspired to go into science/biotech/pharma industry?
I have wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember. I heard about molecular biology when I was in high school and chose Biochemistry as a program when I went to college. What truly inspired me was the concept of genetic engineering, in large part because my best friend at the time was afflicted by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His passing left a strong impression on me, and it is part of my motivation when developing cell and gene therapy products for rare diseases. I am truly privileged to be working in a field where we can have so much positive impact on the lives of our patients and their families.

Q. If you did anything other than your current occupation, what would it be?
I would probably be a historian. I have a keen interest in learning about historical figures or periods. I am currently reading a great story entitled Rivièrances by Brad Cormier, who recounts his travels from New Brunswick to New Orleans in the footsteps of the French-Canadian explorers. From Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette exploring the Mississippi to George Drouillard, who you encounter as “Drewyer” in The Journals of Lewis and Clark; and Mother Joseph, one of the first architects in the Pacific Northwest. French Canadians have roamed North America for more than four centuries.

more Calendar

2/6/2020 » 4/30/2020
WCBP 2020 On-Demand

4/26/2020 » 4/28/2020
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5/11/2020 » 5/13/2020
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