On October 1, 2020, she joined CRCINA and he joined Ceisam. Mathilde Ligeour and Thibault Yssartier are each starting a thesis on the chemistry of astatine, which is one of the main research topic developed within Arronax Nantes. Cross interview.

What is your PhD project?

Mathilde : My work aims at designing new radiolabeling approaches with astatine-211. In particular, I shall study the binding between astatine and metals with the aim of identifying bonds with better stability than the astatine-carbon bond, which is commonly used but insufficiently stable in vivo. This project is part of the LabEx IRON. It is funded by the ANR JCJC ExpAt program, led by François Guérard.

Thibault : The radiolabeling protocols mainly developed so far are based on the formation of a bond with an aryl carbon, but this type of At-C bond has insufficient stability in vivo. The aim of my work is to evaluate by molecular modeling (computer simulation) whether or not it is relevant to introduce functionalized substituents on an aryl in order to enhance the binding of the astatine to the aryl. It is co-funded by the IRON LabEx and the Region Pays-de-la-Loire and is carried out under the supervision of Nicolas Galland (Ceisam) and Gilles Montavon (Subatech), in collaboration with François Guérard (CRCINA) and Cécile Perrio (ISTCT, Caen).

Why did you choose to come to Nantes?

Thibault : After a master’s degree PCCP (Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics) at Bordeaux, I wanted to continue working in the field of molecular modeling. The close collaboration between theoreticians and experimentalists on a topic that will eventually lead to medical progress attracted me.

Mathilde : I did a Master’s Degree Chemistry at the Interface with the Living at the Bretagne Occidentale University of Brest. The CRCINA 13 team’s project proposal is a continuation of this journey. I am also motivated by its multidisciplinarity, which combines organic chemistry, complexing chemistry and radiolabeling. As I am not familiar with this last topic, this is an opportunity for me to learn, in particular thanks to the radioactivity facility. The literature reports few similar projects. Since astatine is the rarest element on Earth, very few laboratories include it in their research projects.

Contacts :
Mathilde Ligeour
Thibault Yssartier