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.



Microfluidics and perinatal pathologies

Team:
MMBM
​Project leader:
Stephanie DESCROIX
Year:
2015

While international studies show that preterm birth has become the leading cause of neonatal mortality, the french « cour des comptes » has recently highlighted the alarming situation of perinatal care in France. In this context the IPGG an unique institut in France dedicated to Microfluidics and FCS PremUP unique network of research and perinatal care, have decided to join their efforts to protect the health of the mother and the newborn. This collaborative effort gathers different scientific communities and will allow the development of microfluidic relevant tools to identify new biomarkers of diseases of pregnancy and propose new therapeutic approaches for perinatal pathologies.


A new class of magnetosensitive surfactants for the magnetic actuation of microfluidic operations: from proof-of-concept to autonomous devices

​Project leader:
D. Baigl, S. Rudiuk, M. Morel, J.-L. Viovy, S. Descroix
Year:
2015

This project aims at developing a new concept of magnetic actuation of microfluidics systems based on the implementation of a new class of magnetosensitive surfactants. By harnessing for the first time magnetic field-induced gradients of interfacial energies, we expect to magnetically induce and control the motion of individual water or oil drops, floating or immersed in another liquid, or deposited on a solid susbtrate. Inside microfluidic channels, this new concept will allow us to magnetically control fluid flow in microfluidic devices and achieve key-operations such as fluid filling, transport and mixing. Multi-modal operations will also be explored by developing photo-magnetosensitive surfactants or by combining our approach with magnetic particles. Finally, we will integrate the accumulated knowledge to develop a new generation of electric power-free, autonomous, portable devices fully powered by miniature permanent magnets.


Electron driven chemistry in diphasic millireactors for methane valorization

Team:
2PM
​Project leader:
Stephanie OGNIER
Year:
2015

The objective of the work is to synthesize liquid oxygenates fuels (mainly formaldehyde and/or methanol) by direct oxidation of methane in a two-phase plasma milli-reactor. Nowadays, the direct oxidation of methane is performed catalytically at high temperatures. The main difficulties of this process are related to the stability of the methane molecule and the reactivity of the oxygenate fuels which may be oxidized subsequently into CO and CO2, with the consequent drastic decrease in selectivity with the methane conversion rate. Using plasma gas-liquid millireactor will give the opportunity to produce formaldehyde at room temperature and trap it in-situ by absorption in a liquid phase, thus obtaining both high selectivity and conversion rates.


Competition between normal and transformed cells in controlled microenvironments

Team:
PBME
​Project leader:
I. Bonnet / P. Silberzan
Year:
2014

Situations where groups of cells develop a collective response to their microenvironment are numerous: formation of biofilm, wound healing, stem cell dynamics …. It has recently been proposed that tumors behave as such a coordinated multi-cellular system. The interactions between transformed cells and their environment (including their neighboring normal cells) appear to play a crucial role in the evolution of the tumors; but the precise contribution of the environment remains poorly understood. In this context, new interdisciplinary approaches need to be developed that combine physical measurements with dynamic control of biological activities.
Our project aims at establishing in vitro assays to study these complex interactions between normal and tumor cells, in relation with their mechanical environment. Our model system is the monolayer culture of cell lines expressing, upon induction, constitutively active mutants of the oncogene ras. Our strategy consists in studying the dynamical evolution of well-defined coexisting populations of transformed and non-transformed cells: we will precisely tune in time and space the oncogene activation as well as its level, in an environment where mechanical properties are controlled. Altogether, we will investigate the crosstalk of mechanical and genetics factors on the tissue cohesion during early tumorigenesis.


Experimental evolution of bio-molecular networks

Team:
LBC
​Project leader:
Philippe NGHE
Year:
2014

How bio-molecular networks evolve is an outstanding question in biology which, so far, has been lacking appropriate experimental models. Here we propose a highly innovative approach to explore the evolutionary potential of networks, by combining DNA computing, droplet microfluidics and deep-sequencing. In a single experiment, we will create ~106 combinatorial genomes made of DNA molecules carried by hydrogel beads and released in droplets after encapsulation. Network topologies, inputs and outputs, will be encoded as reacting oligonucleotides, quantified by deep-sequencing all at once using a bar-coding technology. The unprecedented scale (104-105 fold improvement) of this approach allows to explore the relation between network structure and function, which should lead to a breakthrough in the field of network evolution. It will also provide new strategies for applying synthetic biology approaches to regulatory systems.


Investigating droplet velocity for droplet-based microfluidics

Team:
MMN
​Project leader:
Marie-Caroline Jullien
Year:
2014

Droplet-based microfluidics is a growing field often requiring an accurate synchronisation for automated systems. Recently, we showed that confinement plays a crucial role in setting the droplet velocity. We thus propose to perform rational experiments for developing accurate models. First, the role of different experimental parameters (viscosity ratio, interfacial rheology, geometry) will be addressed in order to perform complete models used as a reference to predict droplet velocity. Then, the lubrication film will be analysed considering different experimental parameters and a tool allowing the characterisation of the disjoining pressure will be provided to the community.


Digital Microfluidics for Growing Uncultured Microorganisms

Team:
LCMD
​Project leader:
BAUDRY
Year:
2014

Uncultivable microorganisms represent typically more than 95% of the microbial population in any environments. Access to a vast number of unstudied microbial populations will lead to a better understanding of our natural environment. It will also open practical perspectives, like for the search of new antibiotics.
This project aims to grow part of these microbial populations using new strategies based on high-throughput digital microfluidics and microorganisms co-culture.


Single-cell Dual-molecules detection of protein-protein interactions : A companion diagnosis for second generation targeted therapy of cancer

Team:
MMBM
​Project leader:
S. Descroix
Year:
2014

A recent clinical study has demonstrated a statistically significant clinical interest for a new generation targeted therapies, pertuzumab for breast cancer patients presenting an amplification of the HER2 gene. This therapy specifically targets the interaction between HER2 and HER3 proteins. However, so far no clinical biomarker could be found, that could be able to predict responding versus non-responding patients. Quantifying the number of HER2-HER3 dimers seems a natural biomarker, but unfortunately so far no technique able to do that was available. The MMBM group, in collaboration with University of Uppsala, has developed a microfluidic approach able to enumerate protein dimers at the single protein level, in single cells. This method is based on Proximity Ligation Assay (PLA) invented by the Uppsala group. The aim of this project is to apply this new microfluidic method to the quantification of HER2-HER3 first on cell lines, then on samples from breast cancer patients, and correlate the results with the efficiency of the pertuzumab drug. If positive, this will set the first biomarker able to anticipate which patient may benefit from the drug and which may not, and thus select the right treatment


Electropray mass spectrometry for droplet‐based microfluidics

Team:
SMBP
​Project leader:
Vinh‐Griffiths‐Malaquin‐Tabeling
Year:
2014

In this proposal 4 groups of IPGG will collaborate to develop a simple and versatile interface to efficiently couple droplet‐based microfluidic and mass spectrometry. The proposed interface will allow the extraction of  aqueous  droplets  from  monodisperse  stabilized  emulsion.  The  extraction  will  be  obtained  through  electrocoalescence and hydrophilic treatment of the aqueous stream channel. In order to minimize Taylor‐Aris dispersion the extraction will take place at a minimal distance of the electrospray nozzle. A preconcentration/desalting step using magnetic tweezers will be implemented upstream in order to remove non‐volatile contaminants and to fractionate the sample.
The unique analytical power of MS would allow the screening of microorganisms 1) producing enzymes that degrade  natural  feedstocks,  or  2)  producing  molecules  of  industrial  or  therapeutic  interest  (e.g.  natural  products). In addition, the ability to analyse the proteomes (or sub‐fractions of the proteome, such as the secretome) of millions of cells, each at the single cell level would be a transformational tool for life science research and drug discovery.


SIMBAD: combining next generation SequencIng and droplet-based Microfluidics for the high throughput statistical analysis of Bio-molecule ADaptability

Team:
​Project leader:
Andrew Griffiths
Year:
2013

Darwinian processes, involving iterative rounds of mutation and selection, can be used for the rapid directed evolution of proteins in the laboratory. Directed evolution is a powerful tool to study evolution at a molecular level, to unveil fundamental aspects of protein function, and to optimize enzymes for industrial applications. However the poor current understanding of the relationship between protein sequence and function precludes the rational design of evolution trajectories, and therefore directed protein evolution proceeds often blindly towards a defined goal, resulting in frequent trapping in deadend trajectories or on local optima. Furthermore, cost and time limitations mean that typically only 103 to 105 variants can be screened per round using conventional microtitre-plate based screening systems. We propose to overcome both of these limitations by coupling the evolution of proteins using droplet based microfluidics to next generation sequencing via the barcoding of genes encoding proteins according to their phenotype. This microfluidic approach will allow cost effective, quantitative screening of large repertoires of mutants (≥106) using minimal quantities of reagents (~150 μL) and generate high resolution mapping of protein sequence versus function. This mapping will then allow navigation along well-defined trajectories and to perform much more controlled directed evolution, opening up new enzyme optimization strategies.


47 projects.