Our interdisciplinary group is dedicated to the application of physics and chemistry to biology and medicine, with a strong translational component. It has two main lines of research.
The first deals with bioanalytical tools and methods based on microfluidics, also called “laboratories on chip”. The group developed several innovative technologies, based on its expertise in complex fluids and soft matter: magnetic and convective self-assembly, flow control, non-conventional microfabrication strategies and surface treatments, high content droplet microfluidics.
This is applied to several biomedical projects in collaboration with clinicians :
- Capture and molecular typing of tumour cells from patients, for the evaluation of metastatic relapse and treatment orientation. The group has notably coordinated the European Project CAMiNEMS on this topic
- Early diagnosis of Alzheimer disease by microfluidic methods, within the European consortium NADINE: the finality of this project is to diagnose the early steps of the disease development, to apply as soon as possible (and before irreversible brain damage) neuroprotective methods.
- Portable microfluidic devices for fast and low-cost analysis of pathogens. This is notably developed within the European project LOVE-FOOD, in collaboration with Pasteur Institute and other international laboratories, for the search of pathogens in food.
- Original systems for the oriented culture of neurones. This project, developed within the ANR “Neuroscreen” and EraNet “Microdeg”, aims at organizing in microfabricated environment arrays of neurons with deterministic connection architectures, and be able to address them specifically by chemical (microfluidic), electrical (microelectrodes) and optical (optogenetics) means. Applications concern both the understanding of biochemcial communication between neurons (involved e.g. in neurodegenerative diseases) and information processing at the single neuron level.
- Study of the correlation between mechanical, biochemical and genetic effects in the development of tumours, in order to better understand the competition and interaction between a growing tumour and its environment and find new therapies.
- The group recently received an ERC-advanced grant, for the project “CellO” “From cells to organs on chips”. The aim of this project is to develop microfluidic platforms for the deterministic organization of functional multicellular assemblies, and use them as model in vitro systems for cell biology and screening applications. This will help to study cell-cell interactions and tissue development (including abnormal tissues as cancer), reduce the need for tests in animals, and increase the power of in vitro drug screening.
- The group is also involved in fundamental studies of DNA-protein interactions, at the single molecule and single cell level. It has, in particular, developed new single molecule manipulation tools called torque-sensitive magnetic tweezers. Current focus is on:
– The mechanisms of homologous recombination at the single molecule level
– The study of single molecule transport and trafficking in vivo.