Cells are able to deform, migrate or integrate external mechanical cues such as forces or rigidity of the environment. These capabilities are essential all along the life of an organism starting from development to pathologies. My team developed during the last years a new approach to access to these properties at the scale of in vitro networks, subcellular structures in vitro or in cellulo, isolated cells and cell monolayer. We use dipolar forces that develop in superparamagnetic colloids in an homogenous magnetic field to follow the deformation of biological structures under controlled forces (applied and tuned by the intensity of the magnetic field). In addition, the self-assembly of the colloids into chains allow high throughput of the measurements to be obtained. Based on this technique we have studied the link between architecture and mechanics of dense branched networks resembling the ones found in the leading edge of a moving cell (Arp2/3 machinery) (Pujol et al. 2015), we followed the assembly of actin network when facing a loading forces (Tavacoli et al 2013, Bauër et al. 2017).

We are now working closer to cellular context by using cell extract instead of purified proteins in collaboration with Alphée Michelot (IBDM, Marseille). PhD of Jessica Planade (2013-2016) and Reda Balbahri (2016-2019).

In another project in collaboration with Matthieu Piel and Ana-Maria Lennon-Duménil (Institut Curie) we are interested in the activity of actin cortex. (PhD Valentin Laplaud who started in October 2016)

In a last project (MUSCACTIN) we study the coupling between mechanics and biochemistry in actin dynamics using a multiscale approach, both spatial and temporal. Our approach combines different spatial scales: filaments in the group of Guillaume Romet-Lemonne & Antoine Jégou (IJM, Paris) to network in our group  with theoretical multiscale modeling (Martin Lenz (LPTMC, Orsay, France)) to bridge the gap between them. Post-Doc César Valencia-Gallardo who started in June 2017.



This work is a daily collaboration with Julien Heuvingh (PMMH, ESPCI).


Project MUSCACTIN granted by the French ANR 15-CE13-0004, 2015-2020.

Previous PhD Students and Post-Doc:

Thomas Pujol (PhD, 2009-2012), Joseph Tavacoli (Post-Doc, 2011-2013), Pierre Bauër (PhD, 2012-2015), Jessica Planade (PhD, 2013-2016).