Jimmy Wilmouth in France

Posted by Monica Hoel
He ended up in France for love…but he’s also doing important cancer research

As if living and studying in France isn’t romantic enough, Jimmy Wilmouth ended up there because of a girl. “I know it’s cliché!” he says.

Jimmy is a first year PhD student at Université Clermont Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand. He started dating a young woman during his master’s program at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and she led him to Clermont-Ferrand. “She is a pharmacy student at the Université Clermont Auvergne (currently in her 5th year out of 6), and was doing an internship in Leicester when we met.”

He had just completed his Master of Science degree in Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology, and he reached out to the principal investigator of a team at Clermont who focused on adrenal cancer.  “After a few meetings, he invited me to join his lab for a 6-month internship while we applied for PhD funding. Eight months later I was chosen to receive full doctoral funding (3 years in France) from La Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer. I am using mouse models to study specific mutations in adrenocortical tumorigenesis, with the aim to translate these findings into furthering the understanding of metastatic progression in Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC).”

Jimmy is intrigued by the work he is doing. “I know it sounds bad, but I honestly think cancer is fascinating. I am very fortunate to be a part of a team of scientists, physicians, and pharmacists who are constantly challenging each other to work harder and progress. This great work environment combined with a passion for the subject has led to a great experience so far.  

Academically, he has tried to use his English ability as much as possible, whether it involves correcting scientific papers for colleagues or tutoring other students. And he makes time for a little adventure. “I have just tried to travel when I can and really engulf myself in the French culture.”

The Lynchburg, Virginia, area native says living in France has been a very rewarding experience. “Between learning French, traveling, indulging in wine and food, and experiencing different French traditions, this past year has been one of the most amazing years of my life. I am very excited to see what the next 3 years has in store.”

  • Jimmy Wilmouth with his girlfriend at the Eiffel Tower.
    Jimmy Wilmouth with his girlfriend at the Eiffel Tower.
“I am very fortunate to be a part of a team of scientists, physicians, and pharmacists who are constantly challenging each other to work harder and progress.”
– Jimmy Wilmouth, E&H Class of 2016

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