| Press Release

Joëlle Barral (X 2001), Winner of the 2019 Pierre Faurre Prize

Joëlle Barral (X 2001) was awarded the 2019 Pierre Faurre Prize today, December 3, 2019 by Denis Ranque (X 1970), President of the École Polytechnique Foundation. An alumnus of the Ingénieur Polytechnicien Program at École Polytechnique, Joëlle is currently Engineering Manager at Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet focused on life sciences and healthcare.
 
To commemorate the memory of Pierre Faurre (X 1960), who passed away in 2001, a member of the French Académie des Sciences and Chairman of the Board of Directors of École Polytechnique, several major founding companies of the École Polytechnique Foundation have set up funds dedicated to an annual prize and award ceremony. The Pierre Faurre Prize is intended to be awarded to an École Polytechnique alumnus whose industry career path demonstrates a combination of technical expertise, management skills and success in an international environment. This award aims to inspire students from École Polytechnique who are continually exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship during their high-level, research-based and internationally-oriented multidisciplinary education to strive for success in their future careers.  
 
Following her undergraduate studies at École Polytechnique, majoring in Physics and Mathematics, Joëlle Barral decided to continue her studies in the United States, doing graduate work at Stanford University in Electrical Engineering. While carrying out her Ph.D. work on high-resolution MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Joëlle worked at the Max Planck Institute doing PET (Positron Emission Tomography) imaging, at GE Global Research doing CT (Computerized Tomography) imaging as well as with a few start-ups in extremity and skin imaging.   
 
She then joined Stanford Biodesign as the 2010-2011 Simon Stertzer Biodesign Innovation Fellow, where she started two small companies, one to alleviate xerostomia (dry mouth) post-chemotherapy and one to prevent rehospitalization in heart failure patients.
 
Following her fellowship, she became the first employee of HeartVista, the only AI-guided MRI platform, where she developed an MR software package for the comprehensive evaluation of ischemic and valvular heart diseases. Joëlle left after receiving the company’s first FDA clearance and joined Verily in 2014 as Senior Hardware Engineer to work on surgical robotics. She was part of the team who started Verb Surgical, Verily’s joint venture with Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon. Verb Surgical is pioneering a vision for the future of robotic surgery that leverages machine learning and digital tools to enhance the surgeon’s judgement, improve decision-making, and positively impact clinical outcomes. She led the Surgical Analytics team from its inception before becoming the Head of the broader Surgical Software team at Verily, a position she currently holds.
 
Joëlle drove the initial vision behind Verily’s digital surgery program, which is a key differentiator of the robotic platform, and has helped to grow the team to over 300 employees to date. She holds six published patents and is an inventor on a dozen additional applications, on topics ranging from maternal health, digital pathology, surgical robotics, and medical imaging. She is also an MRI expert, has published 11 articles, and has co-authored a book on MR quantification, titled “T1-mapping in myocardial disease”.

About the École Polytechnique Foundation

Created in 1987 by twenty leading French companies at the request of Bernard Esambert (class of 1954), the Chairman of École Polytechnique Board of Directors at the time, and with the support of the Alumni Association, the École Polytechnique Foundation builds bridges between the business world and École Polytechnique, including its students and research professors. The Foundation is a recognized public-benefit organization that works to promote École Polytechnique. This status entitles it to receive gifts and bequests from both individuals and companies. The funds raised are directed to École Polytechnique programs, facilities, students, and research professors.

Files to download

191203PRPrixPierreFaurre2019EN-pdf

191203PRPrixPierreFaurre2019EN-pdf

Joelle BARRAL-jpg

Joelle BARRAL-jpg