Departement PIV

Physics and Engineering for Living Systems

Leader: Annie Viallat


We are a biophysics/bio-engineering department in a research unit mainly dedicated to physics and chemistry.

We build bridges between physical and biological sciences, and study the interaction of biological objects with their physical environment, building new tools to do so. An overarching motivation is to find out how small variations at a local scale impact macroscopic properties and function at the level of assemblies. We ask this question both in the context of soft-matter systems and living organisms, our activities covering both fundamental and applied research.

Mechanics of active biofluids 2

Our questions often revolve around the working of single animal cells, covering sub-cellular to tissular scales.

Examples include membrane organization, its active dynamics and interactions; mechanics and rheology of biofluids, nuclei, single cells and mammalian tissues; largescale self-assembly in active matter, etc. Recently, we have started exploring further into diverse directions – for example into genetic pathologies, host-pathogen interactions, nano-scale architecture of plant tissues etc.

These activities are complemented by applied research where we aim to build novel tools to probe biological systems.

A typical example is our current effort to mimic various aspects of cells (surface nano-bio patterning, including of soft elastomers) or tissues (splenic slits) using micro/nano-fabrication techniques. We innovate imaging techniques as well as image and data analysis tools. Another major focus is on diverse innovative sensors: x-ray nanosensors for simultaneous topography and chemical mapping, lipid based FET sensors for ultra-sensitive detection of ions and biomolecules, and fast photo-thermal sensors for single molecule detection of biochemical reactions.

Mechanics of active biofluids 7



Photocatalytical properties of NiO nanofilms doped with Ba

S. Boulila, M. Ghamnia, A. Boukhachem, A. Ouhaibi, M. Chakhoum, C. Fauquet, V. Heresanu, D. Tonneau

Philosophical Magazine Letters 100:283-293 (2020)10.1080/09500839.2020.1760389

Mechanical adaptation of monocytes in model lung capillary networks

Jules Dupire, Pierre-Henri Puech, Emmanuèle Helfer, Annie Viallat

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117:14798 (2020)

Hydrodynamic model of directional ciliary-beat organization in human airways

Simon Gsell, Etienne Loiseau, Umberto D’ortona, Annie Viallat, Julien Favier

Scientific Reports 10 (2020)10.1038/s41598-020-64695-w

Femtomolar detection of Cu2+ ions in solution using super-Nernstian FET-sensor with a lipid monolayer as top-gate dielectric

A. Kenaan, F. Brunel, J.-M. Raimundo, Anne Charrier

Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 316:128147 (2020)10.1016/j.snb.2020.128147

Active mucus–cilia hydrodynamic coupling drives self-organization of human bronchial epithelium

Etienne Loiseau, Simon Gsell, Aude Nommick, Charline Jomard, Delphine Gras, Pascal Chanez, Umberto D’ortona, Laurent Kodjabachian, Julien Favier, Annie Viallat

Nature Physics (2020)10.1038/s41567-020-0980-z

Electrolyte-gated-organic field effect transistors functionalized by lipid monolayers with tunable pH sensitivity for sensor applications

Tin Phan Nguy, Ryoma Hayakawa, Volkan Kilinc, Matthieu Petit, Yemineni S L V Narayana, Masayoshi Higuchi, Jean-Manuel Raimundo, Anne Charrier, Yutaka Wakayama

Applied Physics Express 13:011005 (2020)10.7567/1882-0786/ab5322

Molecular and Mechanobiological Pathways Related to the Physiopathology of FPLD2

Alice-Anaïs Varlet, Emmanuèle Helfer, Catherine Badens

Cells 9:1947 (2020)10.3390/cells9091947


Investigation of Some Physical Properties of Cobalt Doped MoO3 Nanofilms and Their Effects on the Degradation of the Methylene Blue Solution under UV Illumination

N. Benameur, A. Boukhachem, M. Ghamnia, M. Chakhoum, M. Dahamni, C. Fauquet

International Journal of Chemical Engineering and Applications 10:33-39 (2019)10.18178/ijcea.2019.10.2.736

High spatial resolution inorganic scintillator detector for high energy X-ray beam at small field irradiation

S.B.C Debnath, Agnes Tallet, S. Lavandier, Sree Bash, Chandra Debnath, C. Fauquet, Agnès Tallet, Anthony Gonçalves, S Ebastien Lavandier, F. Jandard, D. Tonneau, Julien Darréon

Medical Physics (2019)10.1002/MP.14002

Structure of a Zn monolayer on Ag(111) and Ag(110) substrates: an AES, LEED and STM study

Maradj Hicham, Carole Fauquet, Mostefa Ghamnia, Benedicte Ealet, Nabil Rochdi, Sébastien Vizzini, Jean-Paul Biberian, Bernard Aufray, Haik Jamgotchian

Surface Science (2019)10.1016/j.susc.2019.02.007

Self-organization of red blood cell suspensions under confined 2D flows

Cécile Iss, Dorian Midou, Alexis Moreau, Delphine Held, Anne Charrier, Simon Mendez, Annie Viallat, Emmanuèle Helfer

Soft Matter (2019)10.1039/C8SM02571A

Novel and innovative interface as potential active layer in Chem-FET sensor devices for the specific sensing of Cs

Volkan Kilinc, Catherine Henry-De-Villeneuve, Tin Phan Nguy, Yutaka Wakayama, Anne Charrier, Jean-Manuel Raimundo

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 11:47635-47641 (2019)10.1021/acsami.9b18188

Stable operation of water-gated organic field-effect transistor depending on channel flatness, electrode metals and surface treatment

Tin Phan Nguy, Ryoma Hayakawa, Volkan Kilinc, Matthieu Petit, Jean-Manuel Raimundo, Anne Charrier, Yutaka Wakayama

Japanese Journal of Applied Physics 58:SDDH02 (2019)10.7567/1347-4065/ab09d2

Biphasic mechanosensitivity of T cell receptor-mediated spreading of lymphocytes

Astrid Wahl, Céline Dinet, Pierre Dillard, Aya Nassereddine, Pierre-Henri Puech, Laurent Limozin, Kheya Sengupta

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116:5908-5913 (2019)10.1073/pnas.1811516116


T Cells on Engineered Substrates: The Impact of TCR Clustering Is Enhanced by LFA-1 Engagement

Emmanuelle Benard, Jacques Nunès, Laurent Limozin, Kheya Sengupta

Frontiers in Immunology 9 (2018)10.3389/fimmu.2018.02085

Nanometrology of Biomass for Bioenergy: The Role of Atomic Force Microscopy and Spectroscopy in Plant Cell Characterization

Anne Charrier, Aude Lereu, Rubye Farahi, Brian Davison, Ali Passian

Frontiers in Energy Research 6:11 (2018)10.3389/fenrg.2018.00011

Reconstitution of composite actin and keratin networks in vesicles

J. Deek, R. Maan, E. Loiseau, R. Bausch

Soft Matter 14:1897-1902 (2018)10.1039/c7sm00819h

Lamellipod Reconstruction by Three-Dimensional Reflection Interference Contrast Nanoscopy (3D-RICN)

Marie-Julie Dejardin, Arnaud Hemmerle, Anais Sadoun, Yannick Hamon, Puech Pierre-Henri, Kheya Sengupta, Laurent Limozin

Nano Letters 18:6544-6550 (2018)10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b03134

Facile Nanopatterning of PEDOT:PSS Thin Films

Mohammed Elmahmoudy, Anne Charrier, George Malliaras, Sébastien Sanaur

Advanced Materials Technologies 3:1700344 (2018)10.1002/admt.201700344

Ultra-thin supported lipid monolayer with unprecedented mechanical and dielectric properties

Ahmad Kenaan, Racha El Zein, Volkan Kilinc, Sébastien Lamant, Jean-Manuel Raimundo, Anne Charrier

Advanced Functional Materials 1801024 (2018)10.1002/adfm.201801024

Spatiotemporal organization of cilia drives multiscale mucus swirls in model human bronchial epithelium

Mustapha-Kamel Khelloufi, Etienne Loiseau, Marc Jaeger, Nicolas Molinari, Pascal Chanez, Delphine Gras, Annie Viallat

Scientific Reports 8:2447 (2018)10.1038/s41598-018-20882-4

Adhesion of Active Cytoskeletal Vesicles

Renu Maan, Etienne Loiseau, Andreas Bausch

Biophysical Journal 115:2395-2402 (2018)10.1016/j.bpj.2018.10.013

The effect of strontium doping on structural and morphological properties of ZnO nanofilms synthesized by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis method

A. Ouhaibi, M. Ghamnia, A. Dahamni, V. Heresanu, C. Fauquet, D. Tonneau

Journal of Science: Advanced Materials and Devices 3:29-36 (2018)10.1016/j.jsamd.2018.01.004

When giant vesicles mimic red blood cell's dynamics: swinging of two-phase vesicles in shear flow

Simon Tusch, Etienne Loiseau, Al-Hair Al-Halifa, Kamel Khelloufi, Emmanuèle Helfer, Annie Viallat

Physical Review Fluids 3 (2018)10.1103/PhysRevFluids.3.123605


Printing functional protein nano-dots on soft elastomers: from transfer mechanism to cell mechanosensing

Ranime Alameddine, Astrid Wahl, Fuwei Pi, Kaoutar Bouzalmate, Laurent Limozin, Anne Charrier, Kheya Sengupta

Nano Letters 17:4284-4290 (2017)10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b01254

Plasticity, elasticity, and adhesion energy of plant cell walls: nanometrology of lignin loss using atomic force microscopy

R. Farahi, Anne Charrier, A. Tolbert, A. Lereu, A. Ragauskas, B. Davison, A. Passian

Scientific Reports 7 (2017)10.1038/s41598-017-00234-4

Membrane fluctuations mediate lateral interaction between cadherin bonds

Susanne Fenz, Timo Bihr, Daniel Schmidt, Rudolf Merkel, Udo Seifert, Kheya Sengupta, Ana-Sunčana Smith

Nature Physics 13:906-913 (2017)10.1038/NPHYS4138

Investigation of some physical properties of ZnO nanofilms synthesized by micro-droplet technique

N. Hamzaoui, A. Boukhachem, M. Ghamnia, C. Fauquet

Results in Physics 7:1950-1958 (2017)10.1016/j.rinp.2017.06.005

Ultracompact x-ray dosimeter based on scintillators coupled to a nano-optical antenna

Zhihua Xie, Hichem Maradj, Miguel-Angel Suarez, Lydie Viau, Virginie Moutarlier, Claudine Filiatre, Carole Fauquet, Didier Tonneau, Thierry Grosjean

Optics Letters 42:1361-1364 (2017)10.1364/OL.42.001361


Ingénierie moléculaire et matériaux fonctionnels Physique et nano-micro Ingénierie pour le Vivant 1 Sources et sondes ponctuelles 2

  • X-R2P2 (DOC2AMU PhD grant, Cofunded by Europe, PACA District Council, In Excellence A*MIDEX)

  • Prématuration CNRS (2017-2019)

  • Région PACA Projet exploratoire ‘BioMimWASH’ (2017-2018)

  • ANR TMOL “SENSEI” 2017-2020

  • ECO (Academy of Excellence, A*MIDEX) 2018-2021

  • AMIDEX ”NORMAL PCW”  2018-2021

  • AMIDEX ”Macbio”  2018-2021

  • ANR: “Ultra-high throughput sequencing by synchronized synthesis” 2018-2021

  • A*Midex Interdisciplinarité ‘MecaLam’ (2018-2021)

  • ANR ‘RECAMECA’ (2019-2022)

  • NANOPTIX (ANR, 01/01/2019 to 06/30/2022)

  • ANR MicroCJ (2019-2021)

  • Prématuration AMIDEX (2019)


Physique et nano-micro Ingénierie pour le Vivant 2

  • Photo luminescense : excitation with cw He-Cd laser (10 mW, Gaussian TEM00 mode). Spectro resolution of 21 nm/mm of slit aperture

  • Micro-XRF analysis: Rh target X-ray source, lateral resolution 20 µm, total X-ray photon flux within the spot area of 2.109 photons/s, EDX SDD detector from Brücker (X-flash)

  • AFM

  • Electrical measurement platform

  • Confocal microscope

  • TIRF and RICM microscopy

  • Langmuir Film Balance

  • Microfluidics combined with high-speed videomicroscopy

  • Optical microscopes equipped with temperature and CO2 control

  • Optical microscope (bright field, phase contrast, epifluorescence) combined with Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and optical tweezers (in construction)



  • Peng
  • Raimundo
  • Petit



  • Catherine Henry de Villeneuve (LPMC, Palaiseau)
  • Limozin (Marseille)
  • Pueche (Marseille)
  • Gianonne (Bordeaux)
  • LeClanche (Paris)
  • CRCM (Marseille) – Prof Anthony GONCALVES
  • Paoli-Calmettes Institute (Marseille) - Dr Agnès TALLET and Dr Julien DARREON
  • FEMTO-ST (Besançon, France) – Dr Thierry GROSJEAN
  • Guillaume  Baffou, Aude Lereu (Institut Fresnel, Marseille)
  • Catherine Badens (APHM, Marseille)
  • Julien Favier (M2P2, Marseille)
  • Pascal Chanez et Delphine Gras (CV2M, Marseille)



  • Zhngli Peng (Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA)
  • Ali Passian & Rubye Farahi (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA)
  • Yutaka Wakayama (NIMS, Japan)
  • Merkel (Germany)
  • Smith (Germany)
  • Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials and Advanced Photon Source (Argonne, IL, USA) – Prof Saw HLA and Prof Volker ROSE


  • 1‘Method and device for determining red blood cells deformability '.

Inventeurs: A. Viallat, S. Atwell, E. Helfer, A. Charrier, C. Badens. Application N°EP18305914.6, 10 juillet 2018.


  • 'Amphiphilic molecules layers'.

Inventeurs: A. Charrier, J.M Raimundo, A. Kenaan, S. Lavandier. N° of publication: PCT/EP2016/074569


  • 'Transistor à effet de champ pouvant notamment être utilisé comme détecteur et procédé de fabrication de ce détecteur'.

Inventeurs: A. Charrier, Tuyen Nguyen Duc, Hervé Dallaporta. N° of publication: WO/2013/083490; EP 2 788 747 B1


  • 'Device to detect the fixation of a target object on a probe object immobilized on a solid substrate and detection process'.

Inventeurs: A. Charrier, F. Thibaudau. (FR2873818, WO/2006/021716). N° of deposition/publication: 0451747. Publication date: 02.03.2006.

jobs and internships

internship opportunities available at Master level on the theme 'Mechanics of active biofluids'