Doctor Alain Coron, CNRS Research Engineer at the Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging in Paris actively contributed to innovations in biomedical signal and image analysis with particular emphasis on quantitative and statistical signal analysis and machine learning techniques providing better evaluation of cancerous lymph nodes and solid tumors with ultrasound. He also contributed techniques to processing high-frequency ultrasound data and analysis of dynamic contrast-enhaned ultrasound and digitized histology data. Alain passed away at the age of 48 on Thursday the 21st of May 2020, at the Hospital Jean Jaures in Paris France after a 16-month personal battle with cancer.
Alain was born in Saint-Etienne, France, in 1971. He received an Engineering degree from the Electronics and Information Department at the Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles, Lyon, France, in 1994, and a Ph.D. degree in signal processing from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Grenoble, France, in 1998. From 1998 to 2001, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Universit Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and with the Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands. He was involved in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with time frequency and wavelet transforms and sparse sampling of 3-D MRI.
Alain Coron joined the Parametric Imaging Laboratory (one of the labs at the origin of the current Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging, LIB) in Paris in November 2001 just after his recruitment in the CNRS. Alain was on the team “Imaging and Targeted Therapy Development” but he interacted transversally with many of the researchers and students in the laboratory working on signal analysis. Alain’s methodical approach to complex problems, mathematical and data analysis skills and dedication to address clinical needs were widely recognized and sought after for the development of projects both within the laboratory and within national and international collaborations. From 2011 to 2016, he was the principal French scientific investigator for a project led by Drs. Feleppa and Mamou at the Lizzi Center in New York to develop advanced ultrasonic evaluation of sentinel lymph nodes. The project united researchers in France, the USA and Japan with funding from a prestigious RO1 American National Institutes of Health research grant project.
In 2013, Alain was awarded the Invitation Fellowship Programs for Research in Japan from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), an independent institution that advances science in all fields including the natural and social sciences. This prestigious fellowship program provides opportunities for highly qualified foreign researchers to interact closely with leading research groups in Japanese universities and other Japanese institutions, thereby permitting the fellow to advance his or her research while stimulating Japanese scientists, particularly young Japanese researchers. The dialog and collaborations fostered by the fellowship are also intended to advance scientific research in the fellow’s home country. Alain was one of only 300 researchers worldwide selected for the 2012-2013 fellowship. Through the Invitation Fellowship Programs for Research in Japan, Dr. Coron visited Japan twice to pursue studies with Prof. Tadashi Yamaguchi at the host institution, the Chiba University Center for Frontier Medical Engineering during the fall 2013 and winter 2014. While there, Dr. Coron interacted with Japanese investigators at all levels, from students to senior researchers and faculty and he was able to strengthen existing collaborative ties with Prof. Yamaguchi to make significant contributions to lymph-node studies.
Alain was a long time member of IEEE UFFC and IEEE SPS. He was an associate editor for the international journal Ultrasonics. He was scientific advisor for many master’s level students and PhD students who benefited greatly from his expertise and exacting teaching. His work led to invited presentations at international conferences (most recently at the Microbubble Conference in Leeds, UK and the American Acoustical Society Conference in San Diego in 2019) and 46 peer reviewed research articles.
His work was exceptional in terms of methodology and scientific rigor. He produced scientific work of wide-spread interest and trained students with skills that put them at the fore-front of their field. Originally an expert in quantitative signal and image processing methods, his research greatly benefitted from his strong understanding of ultrasound biophysics and its openness to new concepts and ideas. We are fortunate to have been able to interact with a multitalented researcher like Alain.
Beyond his significant professional achievements, Alain was also a valued friend who maintained strong ties with students and collaborators both within and outside of the LIB. His curiosity extended far beyond science and discussions with him were always lively and informative. He shared his culture and interest in numerous areas like cooking, sailing, music and politics. Alain maintained a positive attitude even during challenging situations. He was a positive force in the field and in our lives and Alain will be dearly missed.