Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
PhD Biology, 2022
“Perseverance, rigour and determination are some of the qualities I was able to develop during my four years as a doctoral student at INRS.”
Having grown up in a family of teachers who encouraged her natural curiosity from an early age, Judith Mogouong directed her passion for knowledge towards the sciences by completing a master’s degree in biotechnology at La Rochelle University, in France. She later pursued her professional career in food processing companies and in teaching applied sciences at the undergraduate level. With an insatiable thirst for learning, Judith decided to rekindle her love for research and, in 2017, began a PhD at INRS.
“I felt that something was missing. After many wonderful years of travelling the world for my husband's work and taking care of my family, I felt it was the right time for me to do my PhD in environmental sciences, a domain I have long been passionate about.” She adds, “I was a bit apprehensive about going back to school. It is not necessarily a question of age, but it is a path that requires a lot of motivation and perseverance. I thought about it a lot, but I had to fulfil my dream.”
At INRS, Judith first enrolled in the master’s program, but when she discovered the fascinating research work of Professor Claude Guertin of the Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie on the gut microbiota of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), she made the leap. Under the co-direction of Professors Claude Guertin and Philippe Constant, Judith did her doctoral studies on the microbiota of these insects, which contain valuable information and may become essential elements in the development of new control strategies against these insect pests, which are now well established in North America. Judith adds, “Today I am starting a new professional life in the field of microbial ecology, focusing on understanding the interactions between microbial communities associated with the gut tract and their potential impacts on host performance. I have finally found my place in scientific research, more specifically in research related to environmental sciences. I feel fulfilled to have been able to make my dreams come true.” Judith is currently a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, working on the EAB.
She feels that she has always felt supported during her studies at INRS, despite her atypical background. Thanks to the support of her professors, she gained a lot of autonomy. She describes her time at INRS as a wonderful laboratory for exchanges between students, “The quality of the exchanges between professors and students and the various activities offered encourage the transfer of ideas and knowledge and can be very stimulating, especially in the most difficult moments.”
“I am proud of my time at INRS. Truly, INRS provided me with the opportunity to give meaning to the new direction I wanted to give to my career. I really appreciated the multidisciplinarity of the structure and the permanent feeling of inclusion that I felt throughout my career. I would like to thank my supervisors who believed in my abilities and gave me the opportunity to fulfil this dream. I came out of it with strong skills that allowed me to find my place in the world of scientific research.”
Her wishes for the future? She admits that she still has many projects, including that of returning to Québec and pursuing a career in research combined with teaching, and she adds that she wants to thank INRS for allowing people with a career path like hers to make their dreams come true.
It is our turn to express our gratitude to her for sharing her story. We sincerely wish her every success in her future endeavours.
Interviewed in July 2022