Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
As Atlanta hosted the Georgia Life Sciences Summit last week, some of its attendees honored French neuroscientist Nadia Girardot, who received an award from the French government for her accomplishments in bioscience and efforts to promote French culture in Atlanta.
Dr. Girardot, a native of the Lorraine region of northeast France who co-founded Atlanta-based biotech company BioMed Design LLC, was honored by Jean-David Levitte, France’s ambassador to the United States, on Oct. 4 in Atlanta.
Mr. Levitte, who was also in Atlanta to celebrate the much anticipated opening of Louvre Atlanta, a three-year partnership between Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and Paris’ MusÃ©e du Louvre, bestowed on Dr. Girardot France’s esteemed National Order of Merit.
Created by French President Charles DeGaulle in 1963, the National Order of Merit is an Order of Chivalry that is awarded to individuals who make outstanding civil or military accomplishments.
Dr. Girardot has developed technologies that extend the life of porcine heart valve transplants. She was awarded the national order because “she is making a difference between life and death,” Mr. Levitte said during the pinning ceremony where Ms. Girardot received her award. The ceremony was held at the residence of French Consul General in Atlanta Philippe Ardanaz.
Having lived and worked in Atlanta since 1984, Dr. Girardot developed technologies with her husband Jean-Marie Girardot, a biochemist, who founded BioMedical Design Inc., which the couple co-owns.
In 2005, Dr. Girardot founded BioMed Design LLC with her husband and two children Natacha and Marc Girardot, to manage and license technologies from BioMedical Design.
Currently, heart valves using the Girardot’s technologies are being produced by Minneapolis, Minn.-based Medtronic Inc. Pegasus Biologics Inc. of Irvine, Calif., which Dr. Girardot also helped to found, sells products using technologies designed by the Giradots that preserve and sterilize implants for orthopedics and other medical markets.
BioMed Design is a supporting company member of the Georgia BioMedical Partnership, which organized last week’s life sciences summit.
The summit, which Marc Girardot attended, assessed the state of Georgia’s life science industry and brought together university and commercial leaders in the field.
“It looks like the momentum is there to put everything together and for Georgia to move ahead,” she said during an interview at Mr. Ardanaz’s home. She cited the collaboration of private businesses, research institutions, state agencies and universities as advancing science innovation in the state.
Fellow Frenchman Patrick Abate, vice president of Lorraine, also attended the life sciences summit as well as Dr. Girardot’s pinning ceremony.
Mr. Abate and a delegation of six public and private sector representatives visited Georgia Oct. 1-7 to promote technological collaborations between Georgia and Lorraine. Metz, the capital of Lorraine, is home to a Georgia Institute of Technology satellite campus, in which the state of Georgia has official representation.
Accompanying Mr. Abate here were representatives from French companies Diatelic, which designs technologies to assist dialysis treatments, Genomic and Clinical Synergy Genlics, a biotech company specializing in molecular innovations for cell therapy and ETAP, which provides scientific research services for the improvement of the pharmaceutical and food processing industries.
In addition to being president of BioMedical Design, a managing member of BioMed Design and a senior scientist consultant for Pegasus, Dr. Girardot also is active in Atlanta’s French community.
She is a board member and officer of the Alliance FranÃ§aise d’Atlanta and worked with Kennesaw State University to develop a year-long program that promoted French culture in 2004.
For more information on Dr. Girardot’s award, contact Natacha Constable, press attachÃ© at the French Consulate, at (404) 495-1682.
For more information on the Lorraine delegation, contact Carla Plouin, manager international services at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, at (404) 962-4115.