Christian Chabannon Interview

Christian ChabannonProfessor Chabannon*, you are an "M" Ambassador and you led Marseille’s winning application to host the International European Society for Blood and  Bone Marrow Transplantation Annual Meeting with over 4000 people expected to attend between March 25th and 29th 2017 at Parc Chanot. How do you think this event will affect the fields of Research and Medicine and Marseille in general?

Aside from the economic benefits to the city and area, hosting scientific conferences, seminars and meetings in Marseille helps promote our medical/scientific community. In terms of the EBMT, it highlights the figures in a city that has historically played a major role in developing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in Europe and its application in haematology and oncology.

Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (which now goes beyond “bone marrow transplantation” as it started out) is part of the broader field of tissue and organ transplantation and implies the idea of donation which was highlighted this year by the “Marseille, donation capital” campaign. By incorporating countless innovations in biology, medical imaging, medication and healthcare organisation, it provides treatment options for patients who are often affected by very serious and debilitating illnesses and for whom other treatments are often no longer an option.

There are now further possibilities for cell transplantation with the development of innovative treatments based on sophisticated cell or tissue engineering which will undoubtedly be used in the future for diseases outside the realm of haematology and oncology as I mentioned earlier and could be used for cosmetic reasons. The annual EBMT conference deals with a wide range of subjects. It will both highlight work conducted in Marseille and encourage communication with our European and overseas colleagues. It’s one way to boost the appeal of medical and scientific teams in Marseille for young health and science professionals with an interest in this field and help expand the critical talent base.

Your professional diary is already packed, what was your main reason to apply for this conference and give up your time for your role as Ambassador?

As Head of the Medicine Faculty at Aix-Marseille University and Doctor at the Institut Paoli-Calmettes, the cancer research centre in Marseille, my role is threefold: healthcare, teaching and research. I don’t underestimate how hard it is to carry out three roles at the same time in 2015 as demand from users, students and financers is constantly increasing. I do however believe that the chance to be part of these three areas is a major source of both fulfilment and professional satisfaction.

Conference and seminar planning fits in perfectly with my career’s teaching and research. It is worth learning how to efficiently manage my professional diary in terms of teamwork …without sacrificing vital personal time.

What do you think about the Club M Ambassadors project? What do you expect from the Club?

The Club’s inaugural meeting proved the myriad talents in or from Marseille in a range of professional backgrounds. This very team spirit with its many different talents should help Marseille cement its rightful place in Europe and worldwide as a modern city, looking to the future and providing opportunities for its youth as well as being in a fantastic setting in terms of its site and quality of life: the Club M Ambassadors should encourage this sense of community. Personally speaking, it’s great to be part of it and find examples and sources of inspiration among the figures whose journey proves their commitment and ability to achieve goals in very different areas to mine.

*Professor Christian Chabannon is Professor of Cellular Biology in the Medicine Faculty, Aix-Marseille University & Doctor, specialist in Medical Haematology and Oncology at Institut Paoli-Calmettes, the cancer research centre in Marseille.