Light powered vs. fuel activated micro-swimmers: toward efficient self-propelled nanoparticles for drug delivery

Envoyé par Eric Grelet 
Open PhD position at Paul Pascal Research Center (, a multidisciplinary research laboratory belonging to French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and to the University of Bordeaux (UB).

Research Project: Light powered vs. fuel activated micro-swimmers: toward efficient self-propelled nanoparticles for drug delivery

Mimicking the properties of life in artificial cells is a current research frontier between biophysics and synthetic biology. Among these properties, reproducing motility and directional swimming is major for understanding the individual and collective behavior of their more complex natural counterparts, while having strong potential for developing advanced therapies. One of the most efficient mechanisms of Brownian particle self-propulsion is based on self-phoretic swimmers that propel themselves by generating a local gradient of concentration, temperature, etc through asymmetric surface properties (Janus particles). These gradients induce surface flows that lead to directed motion. In this PhD project, we aim at designing and developing a new generation of self-propelled particles, either chemically powered by enzymatic decomposition of glucose fuel or light driven by self-thermophoresis, and asymmetrically functionalized with filamentous bacteriophages in order to improve their directional swimming efficiency. The spatiotemporal organization of these fuel and light powered nanoparticles will be studied at the single particle level thanks to advanced optical microscopy techniques in order to characterize their dynamical behavior and to understand individual and collective effects in simple and complex fluids. While addressing relevant fundamental questions, the objective of the project is to establish a proof of concept for the design of self-propelled artificial protocells capable of demonstrating efficient motility, allowing in the long term to solve some drug delivery challenges.

Key-words: Active Brownian matter – Self-propelled particles– Light powered microswimmers – Filamentous viruses.

Your Profile: This PhD project is mainly experimental with national and international collaborations providing support and expertise from biochemistry to physics modelling. It is fundamentally interdisciplinary, combining soft matter physics, physico-chemistry, as well as the production and manipulation of biological objects. The candidates should be in possession of, or expect to attain, a Master’s in a relevant discipline (Physical Chemistry, Materials science, Physics, Nanoscience, etc). Good skills in written and oral communication in English are important.

Applications should include a CV, contacts of two referees and a brief statement of interests for this specific PhD research project. Please send your application or any inquiry, to
More information: Prof. Eric Grelet
CRPP, CNRS & University of Bordeaux, 115 av Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France
Phone: +33 5 56 84 56 13 Fax: +33 5 56 84 56 00 []