Dr. Poulain is originally from France and obtained her PhD from the University Paris 6-Pierre et Marie Curie, studying the roles of microtubule-regulating proteins stathmins in neuronal morphogenesis. She became convinced that observing axon growth directly in the embryo in vivo would provide invaluable insights on how axons integrate different signals from the environment to navigate properly. She joined the laboratories of Drs. Chi-Bin Chien and Joseph Yost at the University of Utah to study the roles of Heparan sulfate proteoglycans in axon guidance in vivo in zebrafish. Her work led to the discovery that selective axon degeneration is an essential correction mechanism that establishes topographic ordering of retinal axons during development. She also developed new transplant approaches and trasngenic lines to study retinal axon pathfinding and topographic map formation.