Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Member spotlight: Anne-Laure Fameau

Anne-Laure Fameau

Anne-Laure received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Nantes (France) in 2011. During her doctoral program, she developed responsive foams and interfaces based on fatty acid self-assemblies and worked at the Laboratory Léon Brillouin at CEA Saclay (French Neutron Center) as well as the French National Institute of Agricultural & Environment Research (INRAE) in Nantes. She has since worked as a full-time research staff member at INRAE in Nantes (2011–2013), and completed two 6-month posts as a visiting scientist at North Carolina State University (USA) and Technische Universität Berlin (Germany). From 2015–2021, she worked at the L’Oréal Company, and at the end of 2021, she returned to INRAE as research scientist at Lille (norther France).

Anne-Laure, congratulations on winning the AOCS Young Scientist Research Award in 2021! This is a major accomplishment. What has receiving this award meant to you?

Thanks! Yes, a major accomplishment. I remembered that I was relaxing at home with my family at night when I received this amazing news by email telling me that I was awarded the 2021 AOCS Young Scientist Research Award. I was so happy and proud! It is such an honor to have my name on the list of AOCS Young Scientist Research award winners (PDF). Especially when you admire, as much as I do, all the scientists in that list since the beginning of my passion for science in lipids, surfactants, soft matter, food science, and nutrition. It is fantastic that AOCS helps young and emerging scientists, by giving such awards. This award encouraged me, after seven years in industry, to come back to academia at INRAE to continue to pursue a career advancing the applied and fundamental research in my field.

Can you tell the EAT members a bit more about your general research interests and what major challenges your current work is trying to address?

My research interests are in the field of responsive soft materials based on lipids and green surfactants, with a particular emphasis on foams, emulsions, liquid marbles and interfaces, for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. My research is focused on the development of these systems and their detailed structural characterization using scattering techniques such as SAXS and SANS. I also enjoy transmitting my passion for science to young students. I visited many schools and gave scientific talks to students to promote science in France, and especially to promote science for girls.

Presently, I am working at INRAE on the PIHM team (Interface Processes and Hygiene of Materials) as part of UMET (Unit dedicated to materials science of the University of Lille). PIHM includes scientists in microbiology and engineering, pooling their skills to improve the understanding of bacterial contamination in food industries and how to improve hygiene procedures. I am personally overseeing a project dealing with the use of liquid foams based on green surfactants intended to improve decontamination processes in the food industry. In parallel, I have many collaborations in France, Japan, USA, Germany, Italy and the UK.

How has being a member of AOCS influenced your career development?

I joined AOCS only recently in 2020. I wrote an article for INFORM magazine in 2019, at which point I realized how the AOCS community could help my research and my career in many different ways. In particular, AOCS is very important for both people working in academia and in industry, and I find it very useful to have access to all of the AOCS content and networking opportunities. I greatly enjoyed the 2020 and 2021 AOCS annual meetings, and I am looking forward the 2022 AOCS annual meeting.

You are obviously a very busy individual. What do you do to disconnect and recharge (i.e., hobbies, interests, activities, etc.)?

With two young children at home, I try to recharge by sleeping when they allow me. Joking aside, I relax by spending as much time as I can with my family. I keep a weekly meeting with my little boy, where we go to our favorite tea room and share a slice of cake and hot chocolate. I love sports in general (football, swimming, horse-riding, etc.), but for the moment I only have time to practice yoga at home.

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