Throughout the year, via the ESO newsletter, we are focusing the spotlight on prominent ESO members under 45. In January we introduced you to Georgios K. Tsivgoulis. For February, we learned more about Else Charlotte Sandset and in March we presented Urs Fischer. This month, we interviewed, Charlotte Cordonnier. Prof. Cordonnier is currently serving on the Executive Committee as ESO`s Vice President.
- How did you get involved in stroke research and why?
I was a very curious child who always wanted to understand why. Thus, I was attracted by clinical research early in my career. When I was a 3rd year medical student, rather than going in the operating theater, I went through 10 years of surgical reports to extract data on lung cancer. So, in 1996 at the end of my 4 weeks surgical rotation, I contributed to my first original research article in thoracic surgery! Then, the magic and mystery of the brain associated with the emergency field brought me to stroke and then to ICH.
- Why should more women get involved in research?
We should first take a wider approach: there are so many fields in which women should be more involved in the society today. Research is one of them. But more than women, I’d like to emphasize the need of diversity in the field of research. Diverse backgrounds, diverse culture, diverse habits…this is how a research team should work. So women – of course – are part of it. They promote different ideas, different concepts, different ways of looking at data. In the field of stroke, the WISE group (Women Initiative for Stroke in Europe) has highlighted the importance to take into account sex specificities in stroke research questions. I think that some research questions would have not emerged without the input of female researchers. Besides that, women should be encouraged to pursue academic career where research and teaching are an important part of the job. Until now, younger female researchers tend to think that the path is not for them: too long, too difficult and no one in leadership position that look like them. Things are evolving and by increasing women’s visibility in leadership positions, younger one will believe this is also possible for them.
- What has been the highlight in your career so far and what are your goals for the future?
In October 2015 – when I just turned 40 years – I was appointed as a member of the prestigious Institut Universitaire de France. It gave me confidence in my abilities to build new research projects. The same month, I became the head of the department of neurology & stroke centre in the Lille University Hospital in France.
My goals for the future are to be more involved in clinical trials, especially in ICH. I enjoy participating in collaborative international projects. So my goal is to promote collaboration within Europe. In my region, collaboration is also what makes me happy. Promoting health actions that will enable all citizens to have access to good stroke care is extremely important for me and I am actively working on that in my region of France and with ESO at the European level. Finally, I’d like to actively promote younger women in leadership positions in the field of medicine and stroke especially.
- How do you combine clinical and academic work, ESO activities and family?
The key word is TEAM. In my department, I have a fantastic team full of energy. I would not be able to be involved in international activities without them. They bring me strengths, ideas, and friendship. In the ESO, this is also a team effort. The atmosphere is really nice and the time spent always sounds useful for the community. Finally the most important team to me is Home. My husband is the biggest supporter ever. I would not be able to do as much as I do without him. Of course, I am often difficult to catch but I am very well organized. I must confess that I am a bit of a control freak and know by heart all the agendas of all the family members for the next 3 months… It can be a bit tiring sometimes for my loved ones!