STEM students at U.S. universities will be integrated into the Université de Poitiers not only through their classes but also through their participation in research projects within university labs.

Students will also be able to take advantage of the Middlebury Language Pledge® to help accelerate their French language proficiency.

Overview

This program is meant for students who have completed the equivalent of at least four semesters of college French and who are majoring in one of the following fields:

Biology
Chemistry
Computer Science
Environmental Sciences
Geology
Mathematics
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Neuroscience
Physics

Academic Structure

While students take most of their courses in STEM, they take one French language class and may also select one course from the humanities departments of the Université de Poitiers (history, art history, literature, for instance). If students arrive in Poitiers with five semesters of college-level French and place out of the required language class, they may choose to complete a second course from the humanities.

Year-long students obtain from 8 to 9 units of credit, while semester students obtain four to five units, depending on their course choice and on whether they complete a STEM research project with lab (see below).

Full Academic Year

Early September-Mid June
Total 8–9 units

Fall
Language and Culture course 1 unit
Optional humanities course 1 unit
STEM courses 2–3 units

Spring
Language and Culture course 1 unit
Optional humanities course 1 unit
STEM courses 2–3 units
Optional research project 1 unit

Fall Semester Only

Early September-Mid December
Total 4 units

Language and Culture course 1 unit
Optional humanities course 1 unit
STEM courses 2–3 units

Spring Semester Only

Early January-Mid June
Total 4-5 units

Language and Culture course 1 unit
Optional humanities course 1 unit
STEM courses 2–3 units
Optional research project 1 unit

Research Project with Lab

Students have the option of completing a research project with a lab component for credit in a Université de Poitiers research lab.

Academic-year and spring students may apply to complete a full-time research project with lab for academic credit within a Université de Poitiers research lab for 5 to 6 weeks. A STEM research project with lab can only take place at the end of spring semester (early to mid-May through mid-June). Students who wish to stay in Poitiers beyond mid-June may commit to a longer research project (with no extra credit however).

According to research interests and based on acceptance by a research team, students are placed within one of the seven following research labs:

Ecologie et Biologie des Interactions (EBI)

The EBI lab is a Joint Research Unit (UMR CNRS 7267) of the University of Poitiers. The Unit, attached to the Institut Ecologie et Environnement (InEE) of the CNRS, was created in 2012 and renewed in 2018. The members of the three teams that make up the laboratory, Ecology, Evolution, Symbiosis (EES), Sugars & Plant Exchanges-Environment (SEVE) and Microbiology of Water (MDE), develop research themes on the interactions between host species, microorganisms and environmental factors. These themes are addressed through an integrated approach that extends from the molecule to the body and down to ecosystems. The aim of EBI's research work is to provide answers to the major issues related to global climate change, the consequences of human activities on the environment, and their direct or indirect effects on health. In a more finalized approach, this research also makes it possible to develop eco-innovative technologies.

Institut de Chimie des Milieux et des Matériaux de Poitiers (IC2MP)

This lab specializes in the study of materials, natural environment, and natural or initiated reactions. Five teams research water and soil; hydrogeology, clays, soils and alterations; active sites and catalytic material; catalysis and unconventional media; and organic synthesis.

Ischémie Reperfusion enTransplantation d’Organes Mécanismes et Innovations Thérapeutiques (IRTOMIT)

IRTOMIT is a joint INSERM/University of Poitiers research unit (U1082). It is located in Poitiers on the site of the University Hospital of Poitiers near the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy. The unit's research themes focus on improving organ transplant conditions, mainly kidney and liver, and on studying lesional phenomena related to ischemia-reperfusion (IR).

Laboratoire d’informatique et d’Automatique pour les Systèmes (LIAS)

This lab covers many specialized engineering fields through its main applications (energy management, water treatment, complex systems modelling or the optimisation of real-time
systems). Three labs research data models and engineering; embedded real-time systems; and automatic control systems.

Laboratoire de Mathématiques et Applications (LMA)

This mathematics lab is comprised of four teams who study algebraic geometry; partial differential equations and applications; probability, statistics and applications; and data analysis and computation through imaging modeling & medical imaging.

Laboratoire de Neurosciences Expérimentales et Cliniques (LNEC)

This lab researches neurological pathology and psychiatric pathologies. Three teams focus on cell therapies for brain diseases; addiction neurobiology and neuropharmacology; and neurobiology of neutral networks.

Signalisation et Transports Ioniques Membranaires (STIM)

The STIM teams are interested in studying the functions of ion channels in their membrane and sub-membrane environments. Five teams research ionic transfers and cardia rhythm; stem cell microenvironments and calcium; physiological and pathophysiological implications of connexins; ionic transports and cystic fibrosis; and calcium and differentiation.

Institut de recherche Sciences et Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (XLIM)

XLIM is a multidisciplinary research institute centered on electronics, microwaves, photonics, mathematics, computer science, and image. Three teams investigate systems and intelligent networks; computer graphics; and images and textures.

Past Research Projects

EBI Lab

Shawn Bayrd

Secondary metabolites are organic compounds not directly involved in growth, development, or reproduction, but that can sometimes be useful in protection, metal transporting agents, agents of symbiosis between organisms, sexual hormones, or even differentiation effectors. Lately, these metabolites have been sought after in the search for new antibiotics against quickly transforming pathogens that have evolved resistance against many of our already known and practiced agents. Acanthamoeba castellanii are free-living amoeba found on the human body and various other environments that encyst from a trophozoite form when the environmental conditions become unsatisfactory. This amoeba can cause rare and severe infections in the eye, skin, the central nervous system, and various other locations on the human body. We first measured antibiotic resistance against E. coli and P. fluorescens, and then against human carcinoma lung tissue cells.

Ascel [the professor] created a very conducive learning environment throughout this short internship by having me help out other research projects in the adjacent laboratories to see and do science on several projects and fields. This was a very exciting project as Ascel created a new research assay where no published science has really gone before in order to see if there would be future prospects for studying. While my work was short and so far inconclusive, I’m happy to say that I learned a lot during my time in his lab and I have hope that our work may lead to a new antibiotic resistance.

Bryce Williamson

I am working with a graduate student and a professor on a long-term project on terrestrial isopods, also known as pillbugs, rolly-pollies or woodlice. These critters are found all over the world and play an important ecological role as detritivores. The goal of the research is to better understand how pillbugs might avoid inbreeding through their partner choice. My work so far has consisted mainly of maintaining the pillbugs and performing experiments where I record their behavior using a special computer program. The entire lab team is extremely friendly, which makes for a great work environment. The work itself has been fantastic as well, since arthropods are one of my main interests in ecology and I have always found bugs fascinating! Later on in the internship I will also be performing chemical analyses on bee samples in an unrelated project for the same professor, which should give me some experience with more technical work. The whole experience has been fantastic also because I get to speak in French all the time, which I love! It is truly a very immersive experience.

DACTIM-MIS Lab (Part of the LMA Lab)

Katherine Kulp

Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy (MRI/MRS) are common clinical diagnostic tools that currently operate at magnetic field strengths of 3 tesla (T) and below. However, in 2017, ultra-high field strength at 7T was approved for clinical use in the US and the EU. La Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Poitiers is first clinical platform and the third research platform in France to offer 7T imaging in conjunction with 3T. Researchers at the Data Analysis and Computation Through Imaging (DACTIM) laboratory hope to further develop techniques related to ultra-high field, multiorgan, multinuclear metabolic imaging.

With that in mind, my objective as a stagiaire was to investigate the proposed benefits and challenges associated with 7T magnetic resonance (MR) including higher resolution images and improved diagnostic confidence. At the end, I presented a comprehensive comparison of the effects of 3T and 7T field strength on various MR technologies, including proton, 13C, and 31P MRS as well as sodium and relaxation mapping.

Overall, this internship was an incredible experience. My supervisor, Carole Guivellin, Ph.D., as well as the entire DACTIM-MIS team, were very welcoming, patient, and knowledgeable. The laboratory itself is located in the cardiac wing of the university hospital in Poitiers, which was a very energizing and educational environment. I gained a wealth of new French vocab pertaining to clinical practices and MR, and was pleased to have an immersive language experience. I thoroughly enjoyed observing clinics with the MRI technicians and working on my research in the lab. However, my favorite part was when I attended a research conference hosted by DACTIM and their partners, where I got to collaborate with many brilliant students, researchers, and professors from all over the world. I would highly recommend the stage experience to any future Midd students at Poitiers. I am so grateful that I could be a part of such innovative research!

Katherine Kulp in lab

IRTOMIT Lab

Laurent Asiama

I interned in the IRTOMIT lab (Ischémie Reperfusion en Transplantation d’Organes Mécanismes et Innovations Thérapeutiques) under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Hannaert, and Dr. Clara Steichen.

My lab experience has indeed been fun, engaging and challenging at the same time. This experience gave me the opportunity to work closely with a professional clinical team which investigates ischemia/reperfusion injuries relating to organ transplantation. Here, I was able to not only assist but directly familiarize myself with various lab protocols. Some of the analysis I was fortunate to perform includes, culturing human renal cells, determining renal cell proliferation with chemical and enzyme-based assays, extracting and measuring ATP from porcine kidney samples, and many more. Moreover, I was able to improve my proficiency in French since this experience compelled me to find efficient ways to communicate with my supervisors and other laboratory personnel.  I can therefore say without a doubt that I gleaned a lot from the team and this has even amplified my interest for medicine and research.

Laurent Asiama in lab

LIAS Lab

Abigail Stone

I'm working on a long-range low-power internet of things implementation project. In this architecture, remote devices send messages to a gateway device via LoRa modulation, which in turn relays the data to an application server hosted on the web. If the gateway device doesn't receive a transmission, the device re-emits on a different frequency channel (which consumes additional power). The goal of the research is to optimize the power consumption and data reliability of the end devices. My work has included testing several variations of this architecture, including building a local gateway as well as testing end devices with gateways that have already been deployed locally. Overall it has been an incredible experience and I've learned a lot about the research process. It's also been a great opportunity to improve my technical writing in French!

Abigail Stone in lab