Current Status : Directrice de Recherche 1ère classe au CNRS, Group leader
Research area: Cell biophysics - Drug delivery - Electroporation - Gene transfer - Fluorescence microscopy - Electroporation
My group develops for many years a multidisciplinary approach combining cell biology and biophysics to determine the mechanisms of membrane permeabilization induced by electric field pulses (a physical method known as electroporation). Our approach is to integrate various imaging tools to visualise and define these phenomena at the molecular level. These studies bring new approaches for safe and efficient delivery of therapeutic molecules into cells and tissues since vectorisation requires targeting molecules towards specific cells.
Our main objectives are to elucidate the mechanisms of membrane perturbations induced by transmembrane potential changes and by doing so to efficiently and safely use the method in clinics for anticancer drugs and nucleic acids transfer in healthy tissues or tumors. Open questions still exist about the actual electropermeabilization processes and the subsequent behaviour of the membranes both while the field is on (µs to ms time range) and after its application (from seconds to several minutes and hours). There is indeed a lack of information on the molecular processes associated to the reversible loss of membrane cohesion. Also, there is a lack of understanding on how molecules are transported in complex environments, such as those found in cells and tissues. By using single cell imaging, we showed that the uptake of molecules (nucleic acids, antitumor drugs) takes place in well defined membrane regions and depends on their chemical and physical properties (size, charge). Our objectives are to give a complete molecular description of the mechanisms. Our strategy is to use different complementary systems with increasing complexities (model membranes, cells in culture, spheroids and tissues in living mice) to transfer our knowledge into the clinics (electrochemotherapy, gene therapy).