The laboratory LIPhy, in collaboration with the University of Leeds (UK), is seeking a candidate in biophysics for a PhD on the study of cell-glycocalyx interactions under flow.

Cell capture under flow at the wall of blood vessels is a critical physiological process: red blood cell adhesion should be avoided to prevent blood clots, and immune and stem cell adhesion is tightly regulated for proper immune/inflammatory responses, and for tissue repair. How the selective capture of cells is controlled is not well understood. It is clear though that this involves biomechanical and biochemical cues, and knowing how these signals are coupled would help to devise new ways to control immune cell recruitment and homing of stem cells, or to interfere with pathogen invasion and tumour metastasis.

The first and critical step of cell capture is mediated by the endothelial glycocalyx, a soft and glycan-rich coat on the blood vessel wall. To elucidate how biomechanical and biochemical cues in the glycocalyx are coupled to regulate cell capture, biomimetic surfaces will be developed that present selected components of the blood vessel wall in a tunable way, building on our extended experience on simpler glycocalyx models. Combined with laminar flow assays, these surfaces will enable quantitative cellular and cell-mimetic studies in a well-defined environment, and subsequent analysis with theories from soft matter and biological physics.


In this interdisciplinary project, the PhD student will use in vitro systems to study how the glycan-rich layer on the endothelial cells lining blood vessels helps regulating the selective capture of cells from the circulation into tissues using biomechanical and biochemical signals.

The PhD student will be exposed to and work with state-of-the-art surface biofunctionalization and physico-chemical characterization, microfluidics and advanced optical microscopy methods, cell culture as well as soft matter and biological physics concepts. Training on all these methods will be provided as required.

This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the University Grenoble Alpes (UGA) and the University of Leeds (UoL). The successful applicant will be hosted by the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Physics (LIPhy) at UGA, in the research group Mechanics of Cells in Complex Media (MC2). He/she will work under the supervision of Dr. Delphine Débarre (UGA) and Dr. Ralf Richter (UoL). The project will comprise extended secondments to the Richter Lab at UoL.


More details about the job offer in the downloadable PDF document.


Application deadline: 03/07/2020.



Delphine Débarre (LIPhy)


Ralf Richter (Univ. Leeds)



Job description
PDF format



LIPhy website
Ralf Richter web page

Role of fluid membranes in cell-glycolalyx interactions under flow
Project description