• Post-Doc Researchers

Post-Doc Researchers

  • Valérie Gateau

    Valérie Gateau

  • Ashley Ouvrier

    Ashley Ouvrier

  • Alexis Zimmer

    Alexis Zimmer

Valérie Gateau

Dr. Valérie Gateau graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and in 2006 she graduated with a Phd in Philosophy. Since 2003 she is working on ethical issues related to organ transplantation, she has written numerous publications on this matter including a book in 2009. For her work on transplantation she has been awarded twice, The Medical Ethics Maurice Rapin prize in 2008 and the Surgery Academy Prize in 2009. She is currently a Post-Doc researcher at the ERI since February 2015. Valérie conducts theoretical and empirical research and coordinates the writing of informative publications in collaboration with patients, medical teams and associations. She performs interviews and data analysis on transplantation perception and solidarity expressed by medical stakeholders. Valérie works part-time in a hospital (Department of Hepatobiliary surgery and biblio-pancreatic hepatic transplantation) and also in research and teaching (CGC, Université Paris Diderot).



II. Presentation of the ERI.


The research and information centre on Hepatic transplantation (ERI) has recently opened at the Beaujon Hospital in March 2015. It focuses on patients having or expecting transplantation and their relatives. Its objective is to improve information and support of patients by obtaining a better knowledge of the real-life situations they experience. Its main priority is to better understand problems, values and ethical arguments that patients, their relatives and medical professionals encounter and have to deal with


Its intermediate objectives are :

– (1) Gathering material through field surveys on the experience of Hepatic transplantations different actors.

– (2) Identify how families, transplant patients or patients awaiting a transplantation as well as living donors experience of their own autonomy (consent) as well as the act of “donating” (transplantation) and its reception (family and identity reconstruction).

– (3) Demonstrate : a) the specific needs of patients, donors, relatives and medical teams in terms of information, support and training ; (b) their training and ethical decisions methods (value conflicts etc.);

– (4) to communicate its own points of views by including them within national and international societal reflexions. The centre addresses essential sanitary access challenges and is situated in the frame of “participate researches” studying the implication of actors as subjects (and not objects) in the production of knowledge on theses practices.


It studies 4 research topics.

– The first aims at improving patient’s access to information and support by opening an information and participative research centre on hepatic transplantation in hepatic and surgery services.

– The second aims at identifying and communicating the specific needs of patients, their relatives and medical teams by conducting a sociological survey based on interviews, focused on ethical, family and social challenges of Hepatic transplantation, with the objective to identify and communicate their points of view.

– The third research topic aims at better understanding the conception and the consent on transplantation from medical teams and families in the context of organ sample following the death of a potential donor.

– The fourth research topic aims at developing a therapeutic teaching programme for patients as well as training in ethics for medical teams. In Therapeutic transplantation, the prolongation of patients’ lives requires the same kind of support as for chronic diseases.

Ashley Ouvrier

I am a Social Anthropologist working at the Center for Research, Medicines, Sciences, Health and Mental Health (CERMES3-Paris) in collaboration with the Center Norbert Elias (EHESS-Marseille) and the French Research Institute for Development (IRD). I am currently involved in two research programs: one on Memorial and Remains of Medical Research in Africa (MEREAF), in collaboration with European and North American historians and anthropologists and the other one on  the Lay Perceptions of Pharmaceutical Risks in France.


My research focuses on medical research and more broadly on social issues related to pharmaceuticals in developing countries and in Europe. So far, I have mainly conducted research in Senegal (West Africa) on clinical trials. Since I started to use photography as a research tool and a way to communicate about my anthropological inquiries, I am also interested in visual anthropology.


My first interest in Human Science was in Psychology which I studied for two years. Then, I joined the field of Anthropology and worked in various non-western contexts (Africa, India, Mongolia) as well as in Europe (France). I studied access to primary health care, patient-doctor relations, and more broadly the application of international and national recommendations in the field of HIV/AIDS, Oncology and Clinical Trials.



II. An Anthropological approach of pharmaceutical risk management in France


Lay management, Subjectivity and Experiential Knowledge



Context: Due to the  of the dual dimension of pharmaceuticals (which can be considered as remedies as much as poison), users feel enthusiastic as much as suspicious about it. Hidden in the kitchen’s closet, casually thrown in a trinket bowl or meticulously put in a tablet container, medicines are used by the French lay indivduals and patients according to what they consider to be dangerous, harmless or constraining. While the contemporary patient is more then ever invited to take part of the risk management, few publication have yet documented the users’ lay representations and practices regarding pharmaceuticals.


Problematic: Far from the evidenced based medicine paradigm which relies mostly on public health approach of risk management, we will explore in this study how experiential knowledge and subjective experiences influence those who daily manipulate and consume pharmaceuticals in the frame of their chronic disease. What value do these consumers give to the discourse of their physicians, their experience of medicine and of their disease or to the pharmaceutical notice? Do they cope with the risk differently whether they consume an analgesic, an antidepressant or an antidiabetic? Does the fact that the users have been diagnosed recently or have long been living with their disease influence the way they manage pharmaceutical risk? Does risk prevention and the patient’s autonomy’s public health policies influence the way individuals interact with medicines?


Goal: This ethnographic study will explore the way subjectivity and experiential knowledge connect with lay management of pharmaceutical risk, in a perspective which frames the medicine at the core of the users’ daily, intimate and domestic life.


Method: The study will take place in the PACA region (mainly in the cities of Marseille and Toulon). It will last 12 months and will rely on a series of qualitative interviews conducted preferably in the residences of the users. Interviews will be one-on-one interviews or multiple depending on the cases. Interviewees will be different ages, have various social statuses and will be affected by different types of disease (heart disease, infectious disease, psychiatric or hormonal disorders, dermatologic disease etc.)

Alexis Zimmer

Research Fields :
Medical Humanities; Science and Technology Studies; History of science, technology, health and Environmental history.

From an initial background in philosophy and biology, Alexis Zimmer follows two main lines of research. Firstly, in prolongation of his PhD thesis, which is based on the history of the mortal fog of the Meuse valley from (in?) 1930 – a catastrophe which was the first scientific demonstration of air pollution mortality, – he continues to work at the intersection of the Science and Technology studies, the medical history and the environmental history, on the reciprocal transformations of bodies and environment and on their partial scientific translation. Secondly, he works also on the role and the situation of the humanities among medical education and clinical and biomedical research.
II. Brief description of the research project:


The research is about the construction of comparative approach of modern history and the evolution of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities in the field of medical education. I will study the disciplines, contents, pedagogical and evaluation methods in social sciences and medical humanities units as they are taught in medical education – with a particular focus on the following countries:

England, Canada, France, Netherlands, and the United-States. The notion of Medical humanities is considered here in a broad sense, including bioethics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, History and Philosophy of science, moral and political philosophy, literature and art.