We are an interdisciplinary team working on systems and synthetic biology. We use microfabrication, microfluidics, genome editing, fluorescence and super resolution microscopy to produce quantitative measurement of cells' dynamical processes. We also use advanced modeling and theoretical tools to extract single cell parameters. Our long term goal is to improve our ability to interact and control cellular processes in vivo, with a specific focus on gene expression and cell-computer interfacing. Our team is hosted at the Laboratoire MSC in the Physics department of the University Paris Diderot and benefits from the support of CNRS, INRIA, the MechanoBiology Institute of the National University of Singapore and several grant agencies. We are constantly looking for highly motivated and highly skilled researcher and students. Do not hesitate to contact me if you fell that you can contribute to our research long term goal.
Cell Computer Interfaces
Regulation of gene expression is a central problem in biology. Cellular homeostasis requires a fine tuning of essential biological functions (e.g. response to stress, metabolism, etc.) through the activation of specific regulatory pathways. In order to decipher the logic of genetic networks classical approaches have long used specific toolsets (e.g. knock out genes, gene over-expression) to alter protein levels and observe the changes in cellular physiology. Although this methodology has proven very successful, it is limited to static and unprecise changes. This means that whereas the functional role of most proteins is known, their quantitative influence on the properties of their regulatory network is not yet accessible. Therefore, having a mean to externally control, in real time, the expression level of a gene of interest would be a major step towards a better, quantitative understanding of how a cell functions. This motivated us to develop a real time, computer based, control of gene expression in live cells. In the coming years, our research team will focus on two main projects: studying gene expression in the context of cell communities and interfacing cells with computers to gain control on cellular processes. Both projects will benefit from our expertise in microfluidic, microscopy and modeling and synthetic biology.
Education and Interdisciplinary Teaching
I am the co-director of the Master AIV (Approches Interdisciplinaires du Vivant). This innovative master program trains students to the yet emerging field of synthetic biology and systems biology, while helping them to develop their soft skills in critical thinking, oral presentation, research project planning and argumentative debating. The emphasis is put on collaborative works, project based teaching and "inverted pedagogy", letting the students teach each other in many occasions. We also give our students the possibility to develop their own projects, encourage them to organize themselves in associations and clubs, to meet regularly and engage both the science community and the society. This is what we think is important - and still missing in many French university curriculums. This is also why we are now developing an open laboratory to foster creativity and facilitate the realization of students projects
Open Education & Open Science
Indeed, we have just launched an OpenLab, in the same spirit than the now famous Medialab of the MIT. It will be possible to use 3D printers, start arduino's project, design objects, create sensors and share ideas and knowledge. This is a place to host, develop and launch research and education projects proposed by students from the University, but also from the teachers, kids and more generally citizens who are curious about what science is and how it can be usefull in our every day life. Several researchers in Physics, Biology, Computer Science and Design are already participating to the beginning of our open laboratory. More details on this initiative can be found on the OpenLab webpage. Feel free to visit us or to contact me if you want to participate to this exciting adventure.