French Researcher Selected as 2017 Merkin Fellow


padillaA leading French researcher has been named the 2017 Richard Merkin Visiting Fellow. In July, Frédéric Padilla, PhD, a research scientist and associate professor from the Laboratory of Therapeutic Applications of Ultrasound (LabTAU) in Lyon, France, will begin a 12-month appointment as a Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia’s Department of Radiation Oncology and will work closely with the Foundation scientific team.

Dr. Padilla was selected based on his research experience at several world-class institutions, including the University of Michigan and Boston University. He is an expert in tissue and bone characterization in the context of focused ultrasound. At the University of Michigan, he and his collaborators conducted research in the areas of photoacoustic tomography, therapeutic ultrasound for enhancement of thermal lesion formation, and ultrasound control of gene expression for bone regeneration. During his fellowship with the Foundation, Dr. Padilla plans to initiate new work on skull characterization in the context of neurosurgical applications of focused ultrasound and collaborate with researchers exploring focused ultrasound-induced immunomodulation.

“I’m really looking forward to my time with the Foundation to explore novel research areas and broaden the scope of my expertise and collaborations, especially in the field of ultrasound-induced immunomodulation,” he says.

Dr. Padilla studied electrical engineering and acoustic physics in France, where he earned his PhD from Paris Diderot University. He was at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) until 2008, when he was selected as a Fulbright scholar and joined researchers at Boston University. He then moved to the University of Michigan for a Visiting Professor position, where he spent almost 3 years in the radiology department. There, he became very interested in the interaction between ultrasound and biology. Returning to France in 2011, he joined LabTAU under the direction of Jean-Yves Chapelon, where he researched focused ultrasound and its interface between physics, medicine, and biology.

Padilla’s fellowship will further the research alliance between experts at the Foundation, LabTAU, and other institutions. LabTAU was recently named a Focused Ultrasound Center of Excellence, and Dr. Padilla follows our previous Merkin fellow and LabTAU colleague Cyril Lafon, PhD.

Support from Dr. Richard Merkin allowed the Foundation to create this unique opportunity for mid-career and senior international researchers. Now in its third year, the fellowship is meant to embed a scientist within the Foundation team and stimulate collaboration. Dr. Merkin is a renowned physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is currently the CEO of Heritage Provider Network, serves on the Cal Tech Board of Directors among others, and co-founded FasterCures, an action tank that seeks to speed up the time it takes to get important new medicines from discovery to patients.