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URGENT ! Thèse/PhD COFUND

Laser-induced forward transfer for modelling skeletal muscle physiopathology


The goal of the present project is to combine cellular biology and laser-assisted printing to investigate different arrangements of living cells in predefined patterns in order to enhance cell adhesion, spreading, proliferation, migration, differentiation. Recent works show that such laser induced additive processes are compatible with the printing of biological materials.

The LP3 laboratory has developed since few years a laser-assisted printing process has for microelectronic applications. It allows to print drops / structures / lines of minimum dimensions of about ten microns with a very precise control on the dimension and the location of the structures. The potential of this process has already been demonstrated in the printing of a wide range of materials (including liquids over a wide range of viscosities) and on a large variety of substrates for microelectronic applications. In biology, the two-dimensional (2D) cell culture models have significant limitations. Indeed, 3D culture more likely reflects the in vivo complexity and architecture of tissues consisting of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the different cell types forming tissues. Therefore, controllable and well-defined 3D cell models are a key challenge for future progress in tissue engineering, especially for reconstruction of functional tissues involving different cell types. Therefore, the ability to precisely position different cells in complex 3D patterns is of essential importance for the development, validation and optimization of such approaches.

First we will study and choose the best printing approach (bio-ink coated as a thin film associated with a dynamic release layer (DRL) or a film free approach) in order to transfer without damage, and with a high control, the cells encapsulated in adequate gel-based biomaterials.

Then will focus more specifically on the design and optimization of bioactive 2D/3D patterns to improve skeletal muscle differentiation and, further, we plan to investigate the formation of active neuro-muscular junctions (NMJ). The GMGF laboratory has recently developed and patented a novel procedure for generating contractile multinucleated skeletal muscle cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). The purpose of this project is, by combining the know-how of these two laboratories in two completely different fields, to produce reproducible 3D models allowing the conversion of hiPSCs into highly enriched population of myotubes and consequently, succeed to develop in vitro NMJs. So far, such a protocol does not exist. Thus, the approaches proposed here have great potential for a wide range of application from basic and biomedical research to industrial developments.

Starting date : October 1st, 2017 for 3 years.

Location : LP3 laboratory, Campus de Luminy –case 917, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9 and GMGF laboratory, La timone Hospital, 27, boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille cedex 5

Contact : Anne-Patricia Alloncle (CR CNRS) alloncle@LP3.univ-mrs.fr ; Frederique Magdinier (DR INSERM) Frederique.MAGDINIER@univ-amu.fr

Conditions of appointment : European Cofund project. The PhD fellowship is remunerated above that of a standard French PhD contract with a net salary of approximately 1625€/month (health insurance is included) for 3 years.

Qualifications. We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with an interdisciplinary background in physics and biology. Good spoken and written English is mandatory. The applicants must have spent less than 12 months in France during the last three years.

Mode of application. Through the website of Doc2Amu (http://doc2amu.univ-amu.fr/en/laser-induced-forward-transfer-for-modelling-skeletal-muscle-physiopathology ). It is higly recommended to contact Anne-Patricia Alloncle and Frederique Magdinier by e-mail as soon as possible (including a brief description of research interests, previous experience and the list of communications, if any), and contact details of at least two references (letters of recommendation are optional at this stage).

Application deadline : April 10th, 2017

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