Cellular mechanics can be divided into two separate fields: intracellular mechanics and extracellular mechanics.
Intracellular mechanics deals with the mechanical properties of the cell itself. It is known that those properties change as the cell differentiates (in the case of stem cells) or as disease progresses (such as in cancer). As a result, intracellular mechanics can be considered as a possible diagnostic tool, letting us know the overall health status of the cells.
Extracellular mechanics relates to the influence of the extracellular environment on cells. External mechanical factors such as rigidity, topography, forces or surface charges are known to affect cellular behavior, and can thus be used to control cells. Extracellular mechanics can therefore be used as a way to manipulate cell behavior or differentiation, alongside with chemical stimulations.
Integrating microfluidic techniques and tools for the study of cellular mechanics allows us to use the unique physical phenomenon of microfluidic dynamics to manipulate cells according to their mechanical properties, thus creating better diagnostic tools. It also allows us to use those unique dynamical phenomenon to stimulate and better visualize cells during tissue engineering, such as during bone generation in scaffolds.
I was born in Nice, France and raised on the French riviera. Later, my family relocated to Florida. I received my undergraduate degree in Engineering Sciences with minor in Biomechanics in 2001, and my Msc and PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2003 and 2007 from the University of Florida.
I had the opportunity to conduct all my research in the Cellular Mechanics and Biorheology lab of Dr. Tran-Son-Tay. The research we performed was in collaboration with engineers, medical doctors and scientists from many other fields. This multidisciplinary facet of biomedical engineering remains the most appealing and instructive aspects of the field.
Seeking international experience, I moved to Montréal, Canada for my first postdoctoral work. I became a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, in The micro and nano bioengineering lab from 2007 to 2009. During this time, I developed microfluidic devices for biomedical research and a deeper understanding of microfluidic systems and microfabrication techniques.
To accomodate our dual-career family, we decided to move to Spain, and I was chosen for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalunya ( IBEC) in Barcelona, Spain. This work was the opportunity for me to merge microfluidics and cellular mechanics. Through various mechanical stimuli, we sought to understand the intracellular mechanics and the differentiation of stem cells.
Since 2012, I have joined the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield as a lecturer ( equivalent of assistant professor). I am happy to go back to teaching and starting my own lab: Cellular Mechanics and Microfluidics.