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© CNRS, 2019
On the occasion of the 2019 CNRS innovation medal award, we look back at the career of physics researcher, Vance Bergeron. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. After several years at Rhône-Poulenc, he joined the CNRS in 2000. Vance Bergeron then began developing biological air decontamination systems using cold plasmas. He participated in the creation of the company Airinspace, where he became the scientific advisor, which equips oncology, haematology and burn treatment departments. Vance Bergeron is the author of more than a hundred scientific publications and around forty patents. In 2013, a car refused to give him the right of way and hit him while he was cycling to his laboratory. Now a tetraplegic and deprived of the use of his hands, Vance Bergeron turned to functional electrical stimulation, which remobilises paralysed limbs through mild electrical impulses. His research is supported by the CNRS, ENS Lyon, Hospices civils de Lyon and the Advanced Neurorehabilitation Therapies and Sport (ANTS) association, which he co-founded. Assisted by his former doctoral student Amine Metani, Vance Bergeron created the start-up Circles. They are developing electrostimulation bicycles and rowing machines for use in functional rehabilitation centres and gyms for people with motor disabilities. ANTS has opened the first room of its kind in France, where their prototypes will be tested in 2020.
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