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Third year Agronomy degree student Antoine Chandelier has certainly `been on a journey’ in the last few years- from Parisian gardening & landscaping school to one of Switzerland’s leading agricultural research centres – Agroscope, in the heart of the beautiful Valais region.  At Agroscope he’s been part of the Swiss government-funded Project Pisa team for the last few months, a multi disciplined team helping Vivent gather and translate electrical signalling data from greenhouse-grown plants. I recently chatted to him about the influences on his career path so far and his future goals.

What inspired you enter the world of plant research?
Born in Stockholm to French parents, Antoine spent most of his life in the Paris area. He first became interested in plants after spending a lot of time with his grandparents who were passionate about gardening. So when he came to choosing a college course, it was natural to go for Gardening and Landscaping. After about 5 years of study and work experience at the Ecole du Breuil in Paris, he felt he wanted to understand more about the biological mechanisms of plants and find out about the production of ornamental crops. “I was getting lots of ideas and inspiration from reading the books of biologist Francis Hallé and botanist and plant collector Jean Marie Pelt”, Antoine said. Bravely he changed path and enrolled in the Bachelor of Agronomy course at Geneva’s HEPIA.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about your research work at the moment?
“The team at Agroscope is cool”, he said, and praised his supervisors Cedric Camps and Daniel Tran for being so knowledgeable and willing to teach him. He’s also enjoying the interpretation and analysis of electrical signalling data from Vivent’s device and the drawing of conclusions for Project Pisa – which will in turn prove the commercial applicability of PhytlSigns.

     

Antoine’s Preliminary Experimental Set Up

What’s the biggest challenge you face?
Besides the difficulty of working in super-hot greenhouses in the middle of a heat wave, he finds the repetitiveness of making many plant measurements in order to produce controlled and quality data to be quite tough but unfortunately essential.

What areas of new science and plant research are you most interested in?
He says he finds the new leaps in techniques for optimising all components of crop culture for future sustainability and economic viability fascinating and a very important area of science. He’s especially interested in applications for speciality & ornamental crop production.

What’s next for you ?
Firstly, after his graduation in December 2019, Antoine feels he needs to set aside a year to take a Statistics course, tailored for scientific researchers. He is then setting his sights on a Masters course in Ornamental Horticulture with a view to working in this industry eventually. Exciting times for him ahead.

Whatever he chooses to do next, all of us at Vivent thank him for his hard work and wish him well for the future.

Footnote:
Francis Halle’s biggest selling book is “In Praise of Plants”, published by Timber Press.
Jean-Marie Pelt’s Botanical Gardens are a major tourist attraction and can be visited at Villars-les-Nancy, France.

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