Alexandra Vallet

About me

I am a multi-disciplinary researcher with a deep background in physics and neuroscience.

My academic journey began with a graduate degree in engineering, where I focused on fluid and solid mechanics. Later, I got my PhD in high energy density physics and worked as a principal investigator on experimental campaigns at the Laser Megajoule facility in France where we were reproducing ‘mini stars’ in the laboratory.

While my work was fascinating, my interest in neurodegenerative diseases was piqued when I met neurosurgeon Eric Schmidt and physicist Sylvie Lorthois. They convinced me of the potential for combining physics-based modelling with neuroimaging technologies to gain a better understanding of brain ageing.

I shifted my focus to neuroscience and completed postdoctoral research at the ToNIC laboratory (INSERM, Toulouse, France), the IMFT laboratory (CNRS, Toulouse, France), and Kent Andre Mardal’s team (mathematics department of the University of Oslo, Norway). During my postdocs, I developed several modelling tools to predict fluid dynamics, solid deformation, and fluid-structure interaction in the brain. I demonstrated the potential of my transdisciplinary approach through high impact publications in Journal of Neurology and Nature communications.

My current research project focuses on investigating the mechanical aspects of intracranial vessel pulsation and its impact on brain health. As an associate professor at the SAINBIOSE laboratory (Saint-Etienne, France), starting in september 2023, I plan to continue pursuing this research with the goal of developing innovative diagnostic tools and preventive strategies for neurodegenerative diseases. I believe that fundamental laws of physics and mathematical models will provide breakthroughs in our understanding and management of dementia in the same way as it transformed other fields, such as meteorology or aerospace, decades ago.

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Field of expertise

Biomechanics, fluid and solid mechanics, fluid-poroelastic structure interaction, particle transport, computational modelling, mathematical modelling, clinical/experimental data processing, data science, brain ageing