University of Corsica: the topic of health expands its disciplinary field

Prominent practitioners and other Corsican scientists working on the continent are approaching the University of Corsica for an ambitious project. At the heart of the consideration is mathematical modeling applied to health to gain insight into many perspectives

Just a year ago, the presence of Professor Dominiqua Barbolosi in the Cortenais campus revealed a project led by this islander who became a renowned scientist near Aix-Marseille. For 40 years, he has been a researcher in the field of mathematics and has dedicated his laboratory to a topic close to him: his own discipline applied to health, especially to the treatment of cancer. An axis that interested the University of Corsica, which wants to involve its health institute, but above all mathematicians, physicists and other computer scientists. Already at the beginning of the 2021 school year, the prospects were attractive. The project has matured in the meantime. Just recently, a one-day seminar showed that it was well and truly launched.

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Back at the University of Cortena, Professor Barbolosi attracted many people, including some Corsican scientists who, like him, participated in this approach*, which concerns a very specialized scientific field: mathematical modeling and artificial intelligence whose work serves medicine. The President of the University of Corsica is all the more pleased that the meeting room was packed with local researchers from UMR’s field of environmental sciences, determined to contribute to this scientific and educational building. All are determined to contribute with their experience and know-how. “This project, which brings us closer to other important researchers, including Corsicans, not only thanks to new scientific perspectives, but also affects, is primarily our involvement in a new discipline, in this case applied mathematics. says Dominique Federici. It is an opportunity for us to expand our offer in this very important discipline for Corsica, to show that there is a real health ecosystem between training and research, then to contribute to the project. the health of our territory, to allow the public the power to take it over, especially when it comes to the creation of the CHJ”.

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And the president turn to precious partners, insist on interest “from feedback”, as a spokesperson for the local scientific force waiting to see what he can contribute. Professor Fabrice Barlesi, specialist in thoracic oncology, director general of the Institut Gustave-Roussy in Villejuif, is all the more motivated to enter into this extensive partnership because for him “Talents are everywhere. The goal is precisely to give these talents the means to express themselves, especially through the possibility of access to exchanges. I am convinced that the vast majority of great discoveries in the future will be connected to the confrontation between very different disciplinary areas. To arrive at breakthrough innovations”.

And in the field of mathematics applied to medicine, CEO Gustave-Roussy is trying to popularize his speech to understand all the interest. “If, thanks to mathematics, we manage to find not a solution, but those that are most likely to work, we give ourselves the means to innovate and benefit patients. Artificial intelligence is already taking up a lot of space in health. If If we look, for example, at the ability to analyze a CT image scan, our human eye can distinguish many things, but it’s a bit like looking at a landscape from a great distance. AI will analyze these images pixel by pixel and will be able to identify features completely invisible to the human eye, allowing us to distinguish diseases that have a worse prognosis compared to others.”

“We have projects, funding, but we need students”

Dominique Barbolosi’s work is already at the heart of these concerns. The mathematician from Aix-Marseille did not forget to mention a mathematical tool dedicated to the treatment of metastatic thyroid cancer, cardiology or even resuscitation. “But this line of research, a promising area that can be developed throughout the medical world, still has a big deficit. We have projects at our level, we also have funding, but we need students.” The beginning of this interdisciplinary cooperation between Corsican and continental academics was already specified in the doctoral thesis. All the actors hope that more works will follow because the stakes are high.

It is mainly about the development of a training axis connecting mathematics, physics, data processing and health, in parallel with research. This could lead to the construction of digital tools that can be used directly in clinical practice. During this first seminar in Corte, the perspectives of nuclear medicine were also discussed, especially the interest to implement Pet scan in Corsica.

Clearly, this approach is anything but detached from Corsica’s delicate health record, which is the subject of much anticipation.

* In addition to the already mentioned personalities, the following were present: doctor Xavier Muracciole, radiotherapist and oncologist of the University Hospital in Marseille; Professor David Taieb, specialist in nuclear medicine from the University Hospital of Marseille; Professor Joseph Ciccolini (in the video), an expert in pharmacokinetics from the University Hospital of Marseille; dr. Sébastien Benzekry, director of the COMPO Inria-Inserm team; Bianca Fazi, executive advisor responsible for health records at the Collectivity of Corsica.

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