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Cellular engineering

How can we quantify cell mechanical properties and follow their evolution during cellular processes ?

Avin Babataheri, Abdul Barakat, Julien Husson

Our research focuses on the mechanics of biological systems at the cellular and intracellular level. We are interested in understanding the mechanics of leukocytes, endothelial cells, and their interactions. One example of such interaction is the adhesion of a leukocyte to an endothelium, and its subsequent transendothelial migration. We study these mechanical aspects in different biological contexts : atherosclerosis, T cell activation and immunological synapse formation, cytotoxic T lymphocytes function, and phagocytosis. We are also interested in the mechanics of cell membranes and cell organelles such as mitochondria.
To perform these studies, we develop and use single-cell micromanipulation techniques (micropipette-based devices, profile microindentation) that enable us to measure forces, cell viscoelastic properties, and their changes over time.

Characterizing Cell Adhesion by Using Micropipette Aspiration. See Hogan et al., Biophysical Journal 2015, 109 (2): 209–219.

Mitochondrial fission. See Gonzalez-Rodriguez et al. PRL 115, 088102