Research Projects

The IPGG funds scientific projects where nano- and micro-fluidics play a central role in the research teams. During the 1st phase of the IPGG Labex from 2012 to 2017, 6 calls for projects were launched. They allowed 40 doctoral and postdoctoral grants to be awarded.

The 2nd phase of the Labex IPGG was launched in 2020 thanks to the renewal of the Labex in 2019. Since 2020, 17 projects have been funded.



Microfluidic mimics of alveolus for mechanistic understanding of nanoparticles translocation through respiratory system

​Project leader:
Yong Chen
Year:
2017

Actually, the daily exposure of ultrafine particles to human body goes from 20 to 500 g/m3 and the respiratory system is certainly the most critical route of such an exposure. While the fine particle passages through the alveolar epithelium barrier is the key issue for non-desired inhalation, the pharmacological delivery of drug through lung system is one of important subjects in nanomedicine. In both cases, there is still a lack of mechanistic understanding about the interactions of nanoparticles with human pulmonary alveolar barrier. To overcome this shortage, we propose an in-vitro model made of human alveolar epithelium and endothelium formed on a monolayer of elastic fibers which mimic structurally and functionally the human alveolus. In particular, we propose to use human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) and microfluidic device to build alveoli-on-chip systems, together with a high precision flow control setup, to study nanoparticles crossing alveolar barrier.


Gas-Liquid plasma microreactors for CO2 valorization

Team:
2PM
​Project leader:
TATOULIAN/LESCOT
Year:
2017

The objective of the work is to synthesize organic compounds using CO2 as a raw material in gas-liquid plasma milli-reactors, a totally new technology developped these last years in IPGG. There is now a great interest to produce CO from CO2 and directly uses in-situ CO molecules as a reactant for synthesis reactions of industrial interest. In that context, the project aims to study the plasma dissociation of CO2 into CO followed by the direct reaction of CO with organic molecules injected as liquids in the diphasic plasma micro-reactors. Two chemical routes will be explored: (i) a well known catalyzed liquid phase reaction currently used for the synthesis of biologically relevant compounds (a classical aminocarbonylation reaction catalyzed by Palladium) and (ii) gas phase reactions between CO and the plasma-generated radicals formed from selected organic substrates.


New miniaturized tools with selective sorbents based on molecularly or ion imprinted polymers for the analysis of compounds at trace level in real samples

Team:
LSABM
​Project leader:
V. Pichon
Year:
2017

Miniaturized devices have enormous benefits since they save time and reduce the consumption of reagents and solvents, but they also lead to a dramatic decrease in the separation power and in the injected amounts, which is a serious limitation when the target analytes are at trace-levels in complex samples. This project aims to integrate a sample pretreatment step to extract and concentrate the target analytes, based on a selective mechanism with molecularly and ion imprinted polymers synthesized in situ, to prevent from the simultaneous extraction and concentration of interfering compounds. After optimizing the synthesis conditions, the protocols to selectively extract and preconcentrate the target analytes present in complex real samples will be optimized and validated. Next, the target analytes will be released and will be separated and specifically detected with a printed electrode or by LED induced fluorescence after complexation with a custom-developed probe. Both high selectivity of the polymers and specificity of the detection modes should compensate for the lack of performance of the microsystem separation step. Dopamine and other neurotransmitters in biological samples and lanthanide ions in environmental samples will be the model analytes and samples of this project.


Statistical exploration of fitness gradients

Team:
LBC
​Project leader:
Clément NIZAK
Year:
2016

Fitness landscapes determine evolutionary dynamics, in analogy to energy potential landscapes that rule dynamics of physical systems. Given their extremely high dimension (typically 10200), mapping exhaustively protein fitness landscapes and harnessing their local and global structure is impossible. Thus, how much local fitness gradients can be used to infer long term Evolution is still an open question. Here we will probe the local fitness landscape gradient near 103 protein-encoding genes by characterizing phenotypic properties of their sequence space neighborhoods. For this, we will measure the individual phenotype of thousands of point mutants in their neighborhood following our droplet microfluidics-based large-scale genotype-phenotype mapping strategy. Next we will relate the outcome of many long-term evolution trajectories starting from each original gene with the local fitness gradients in their neighborhood. We will next set up an extension of our technology to directly select genes according to the phenotypic distribution and local fitness gradient in their neighborhood (instead of their current fitness), opening up to the direct selection for evolvability of protein-encoding genes.


Investigating surface rheology for droplet-based microfluidics

Team:
MMN
​Project leader:
Marie-Caroline Jullien
Year:
2016

Two-phase flows are involved in many industrial processes (cosmetics, food, new materials, enhanced oil recovery) and are largely studied since several decades. These studies strongly benefit from the emergence of microfluidics, offering building block experiments or model systems for both single bubble/droplet system or foam/emulsions. These studies lead to both important fundamental questions and to a wide spectrum of applications. The question we address is the influence of the used surfactant (soluble or not) on the global dynamics of these objects. There is no consensus in the literature and we propose to study model systems starting from a building block experiment: a single droplet. The results should have a significant impact for both the droplet –based microfluidics, and more generally to the soft matter community.


Formation and propagation of renal cysts: study in a biomimetic multilumen system

Team:
MMBM
​Project leader:
Coscoy S., Descroix S., Demolombe S.
Year:
2016

Our project aims to reproduce the mechanical constraints induced by growing cysts on quiescent epithelial cells, leading to their entrance in a proliferative cycle and to the generation of new cysts. This ‘snowball” effect leads to renal failure in the most common hereditary nephropathy, ADPKD (Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease). We will study innovative aspects of this cystic spiral by developing a biomimetic system of deformable parallel multi-tubes, mimicking the physiological organization of tubules and their compression by expanding cysts, thanks to original microfabrication and microfluidic approaches. We will characterize the events involved in tubular deformations and generation of new cysts by quantitative imaging and single cell transcriptomics.


A Kidney on a chip for advanced nanofiltration

​Project leader:
Lydéric Bocquet
Year:
2016

The vivid need in fresh water is one of the main challenges now faced by humanity. Water desalination and water recycling involve costly separation processes in terms of energy. The domain has been boosted over the last two decades by the progresses made in membrane technologies for water purification, such as reverse osmosis or nano- and ultra- filtration [1], and more recently by the possibilities offered by nanoscale materials, such as graphene or advanced membranes [2, 3]. However, a necessary step for progress requires out-of-the-box ideas beyond sieving separation principles.
In this projet our aim is to fabricate a biomimetic device mimicking one of the most efficient filtration devices: the kidney [4]. We showed recently in a theoretical investigation, see Ref. [5], that the central piece of the kidney filtration, the U-shaped loop of Henle, is designed as an active osmotic exchanger: accordingly, the waste is separated from water and salt via a symbiotic reabsorbtion, with salt playing the role of an ”osmotic activator” [5]. Beyond, we showed that this design allows to operate at a remarkably small energy cost, typically one order of magnitude smaller than traditional sieving processes like nanofiltration, while working at much smaller pressures.
Taking a biomimetic perspective, we now want to take inspiration from this design and fabricate experimentally a microfluidic artificial counterpart of the kidney filtration process. The design will rely on existing microfabrication technologies and membranes, and use only electric fields as driving forces. This will allow to explore systematically the performance of such a osmotic exchanger in terms of separation of species. Various extensions will be considered. Such a ”kidney on a chip” could be used for compact and low-energy artificial dialytic systems. It also points to new avenues for efficient separation processes and advanced water recycling.


Plant Protoplasts on Chip: cells, polarity and ontogenesis

​Project leader:
J. Fattaccioli – JC Palauqui
Year:
2016

Because a cellulosic wall encases plant cells, plant morphogenesis cannot rely on cell migration inside the organism: differentiation of a plant cell thus depends more on its spatial positioning within the tissue than its clonal origin. In addition to mechanical and chemical constraints, cells experience hormonal and metabolic fluxes that can be both inhomogeneous and polar, and drive differentiation. The understanding of the influence of these parameters on the fate of cells during plant development is crucial and necessitates the design of monitoring and observation techniques with a high spatio-temporal resolution. The aim of the project is hence to develop a microfluidic device as a tool to explore and decipher the synergetic role of various external constraints on the development of individual protoplasts: mechanical confinement, presence of a polarized flux of differentiation signals.


Development of a lab-on-a-chip for proteomics: an integrated isoelectric focusing / enzymatic digestion / mass spectrometry protocol

Team:
SEISAD
​Project leader:
A. Varenne, MC Jullien
Year:
2016

In the context of proteomics, there are still thousands of novel proteins to discover. Whereas classical protocols need various time consuming off-line steps, we propose herein to design an integrated lab-on-a-chip that will perform isoelectric focusing followed by protein digestion and finally mass spectrometry (MS) characterization. It will consist in (1) separating the proteins in function of their isoelectric point, (2) incorporating the focused protein zones into droplet microreactors including a digestive enzyme, (3) transferring the digested protein droplets into MS, either via a MALDI plate or an integrated ESI interface for MS. The development of such a lab-on-a-chip will bring a new path for proteomic sciences by proposing a rapid, on-line and low sample consuming protein characterization method.


Hybrid hydrogel capsules for 3D cell culture

Team:
LCMD
​Project leader:
Bremond
Year:
2015

The LCMD has recently developed a new strategy to form liquid core hydrogel capsules that are compatible to cell culture. The use of microfluidic technology allows a large production rate of such compartments that opens the way to screening applications of living tissues. The final aim of the project is to bring the capsule technology to such a level of accomplishment that it becomes an accessible and versatile tool for 3D cell culture in academic or industrial biology laboratories. The success of this new tool for cell culture rests on the possibility to implement a multilayer structure with various biopolymer gels, to further downscale the capsule size and to finally elaborate microfluidic strategies to manipulate capsules and to monitor the fate of numerous reconstructed tissues or organoids.


47 projects.