PhD candidate: Naresh SAHA

Date and place of defence: December 18, 2013 - Université de Grenoble, France.

There is currently a growing interest in the development of biomaterial surfaces not only biocompatible (e.g. accepted by mammalian cells) but also bioactive (i.e. able to trigger a specific cell response). On a more fundamental point of view, understanding how a cell interacts with a surface and what are the molecular mechanisms leading to a certain type of response are among the questions raised by biophysicists and biomaterials scientists. The role of substrate (or matrix) topography and chemical properties have already been widely investigated. During past years, it has appeared more clearly that matrix stiffness plays a key role in tissue regeneration processes and cell differentiation. Moreover, the lateral structure of the surface was shown to play a role when designed with pattern sizes ranging from a few micrometers down to a few tens of nanometers.

The objective of this PhD proposal is to develop model biocompatible macromolecular thin films displaying spatially-patterned stiffness and to investigate the cell behaviour on such nano-coatings. In particular, we aim to design thin films with patterned viscoelasticity with feature size ranging from a few micrometers down to a few tens of nanometers. The idea is to investigate how muscle cells “sense” the effect of the spatial variation of the surface viscoelasticity. The research will be performed in close collaboration with two academic research groups from INPG (Grenoble, France) and UCL (Belgium) having a large expertise in the development of nano-engineered organic coatings and the study of the cell behavior on material surfaces and with an industrial partner located in France and developing patterned surfaces for life science (the project includes a 3-month industrial training).

Project Partners:

INPG-LMGP Grenoble

UCL-Unité Poly, Louvain la Neuve