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L'X and the Institut Pasteur form a joint bioengineering research team

École Polytechnique and the Institut Pasteur, in collaboration with CNRS, have set up a shared team for the research of physical microfluidics and bioengineering. The team is developing new approaches in biology, based on microfluidics for the manipulation and individual study of cells.

Directed by Charles Baroud, professor at École Polytechnique, the "Physical Microfluidics and Bio-engineering" team brings together researchers and professors-researchers from the Hydrodynamics Laboratory (LadHyX, CNRS / École Polytechnique), and researchers from the "Genomes and Genetics" Department of the Pasteur Institute led by Didier Mazel. This research unit will be located at two sites, namely École Polytechnique and the Institut Pasteur. The team’s original approaches comprise major innovations based on microfluidics methods developed at LadHyX, which allow the researchers to manipulate cells and observe their behavior on an individual basis.

Having worked on developing instruments for cell manipulation for several years, the team led by École Polytechnique and CNRS will bring to the table shared expertise in fluid mechanics and engineering, in order to tackle biology and healthcare issues currently under the microscope at the Institut Pasteur. For instance, one of the projects focuses on understanding the emergence of antibiotics resistance on an individual cellular level. This project falls within a current global problem concerning the loss of effectiveness of antibiotics. Other projects aim to gain more knowledge on how an individual cell responds to a controlled change in the local environment, which, in turn, will allow for better understanding of the disparity of responses a population may have to a certain medicine.

On an international level, three-dimensional cell culture models are being developed to more accurately reproduce in vivo cell environment. In this context, the joint team is formulating a new and innovative process that delivers unique results, both in terms of the level of detail and the large mass of data that is gathered and analyzed. The team’s goal—in the same line as certain research aims set by other teams at the Institut Pasteur—is to find a new angle in dealing with complex interactions between different types of cells.

Charles Baroud states: "this merging of the École Polytechnique and Pasteur Institute ecosystems puts our team in a rather unique setting to tackle a highly multidisciplinary research thematic."