Our main objective consists of obtaining a quantitative understanding of cell function preferentially at the molecular or single cell level, with a particular emphasis on immune cells. Our second objective consists of translating results of basic research into innovative tools or methods for studying immune system function in the immunology laboratory of Marseille hospitals.
Currently two important phenomena are studied :
(i) Early T lymphocyte activation is the triggering step of adaptive immune responses. Cells exhibit outstanding efficiency, close to the limitations set by physical laws, and they are known to integrate physical and biochemical signals.
(ii) Cell migration plays an essential role in the living world and particularly in the function of immune cells that must patrol through out living organisms to detect foreign material, carry information into specialized centers and send effector cells to endangered areas. Cell guidance is also recognized to result from both chemical and physical cues.
Our strategy consists of combining biophysical tools including microscopy (RICM, TIRF, AFM), microfluidics, optical tweezers or surface patterning with more conventional biological methods based on cell culture, fluorescent labeling and manipulation of protein expression to achieve a high resolution monitoring of suitable cell models subjected to highly controled manipulation.
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