Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Image 1 of
  • Dr Pierre Osteil
    Dr Pierre Osteil

Meet Pierre Osteil

Pierre is a Research Officer in CMRI’s embryology unit. He is originally from France and has worked at the institute for the last three years.

Q: How did you come to work at CMRI?
After finishing my PhD in France, I was looking for the next lab to continue my career. While I am a stem cell biologist, I wanted to study things happening in the embryo rather than just in the petri dish.

I had heard of Patrick Tam’s work, so I decided to contact him and surprisingly he was looking for someone with my skill set. I started here 3 years ago and I still have a lot to achieve.

Q: What does a day in the life of a Research Officer look like?
Mostly it is feeding cells. Stem cells are crazy! They grow quickly and need to be fed every day. Thankfully, we now have new protocols to mostly avoid coming in on the weekend but sometimes we still have to be here.

Different projects are always running simultaneously, so a lot of decisions must be made quickly and I'm often working closely with my colleagues. And the rest of my time is computer based work—writing fellowship applications and scientific articles, as well as doing some bioinformatic analysis.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job, and what are the biggest challenges?
I love taking care of the cells. Even when it takes the whole day, I always think it is fun to do. Sometimes the cells are not happy and I kind of like making them “smile” again! The biggest challenge is the same for all researchers — always chasing funding. I think it’s a waste of time to work for months on a grant application while we could be doing important research. It’s necessary to “survive” but I just hope that one day it will be different.  

Q: If you had not taken up your role at CMRI, what would you like to be doing?
I often tell myself that I wouldn’t have done anything differently as this is a chance to do research. Even if there are some difficult moments I don’t think any other job would be less stressful.

Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut but I’m not great on roller-coasters. I guess that’s why I focused on doing science on Earth!