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Home > Teams > Materials, Optics and Instrumental Techniques for the Life Sciences > Internships

T. Boudou

Optogenetic interrogation of engineered biological tissues

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Mechanical signals, such as forces or stiffness, are crucial to many biological processes over a range of length scales. This project aims at studying how these signals are spatially propagated and temporally stored in biological tissues. To this end, this project combines cutting edge technologies in tissue engineering with recent advances in optogenetics. On one hand, microfabrication techniques allow for measuring the forces generated by 3D multicellular tissues. On the other hand, the use of photosensitive fibroblasts allows for a precise spatio-temporal control of cell forces from the inside.

A major focus of this project consists in investigating the influence of several
parameters (cell density, extracellular matrix composition, energy of stimulation) that might impact the response of a model tissue to local mechanical perturbation. Our approach involves the in situ formation of 3D microtissues by culturing photosensitive fibroblasts embedded within collagen in a platform microfabricated by soft lithography (Figure). The formation and tension of the microtissues will be assessed by time-lapse microscopy. The characterization of the tissue response to stimulation will be done by using a digital micro- mirror device (DMD) to control the shape of the stimulating light.

This challenging internship will provide a highly interdisciplinary training, as the student will learn praised skills in
different aspects of bioengineering, from materials science to fundamental biology and biophysics.


Related Publications

  • Ramade, Legant, Picart, Chen & Boudou. Microfabrication of a platform to measure and manipulate the mechanics of engineered microtissues. Methods Cell Biol. 2014.
  • Boudou, Legant, Mu, Borochin, Thavandiran, Radisic, Zandstra, Epstein, Margulies & Chen. A microfabricated platform to measure and manipulate the mechanics of engineered cardiac microtissues. Tissue Eng. Part A. 2012.
  • Sakar, Neal, Boudou, Borochin, Li, Weiss, Kamm, Chen & Asada. Formation and optogenetic control of engineered 3D skeletal muscle bioactuators. Lab Chip. 2012.

Background and skills expected
4th-5th year engineering school student and/or Master student whose training focuses primarily on biophysics, tissue engineering, biology and/or biomaterials. We are looking for highly motivated scientists with an aptitude for teamwork
and good communication skills in oral and written English.

Competences that will be acquired during the internship
Microfabrication, optogenetics, microscopy, image analysis, cell culture, immunostaining.

Supervisor Thomas Boudou; E-mail :