marie-pierre rols
  • E-mail :[email]
  • Phone : +33 5 61 17 58 11
  • Location : Toulouse, France
Last update 2011-09-06 14:23:11.612

marie-pierre rols PhD Cell Biophysics

Course and current status


  • PhD (University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France) awarded 1989 (Cell Biophysics)
  • Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches (University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France) awarded 1995
  • October 1990: Chargée de recherches au CNRS (Centre de recherche de Biochimie et de Biologie Cellulaire, Toulouse, France)
  • October 2006: Directrice de Recherches au CNRS (Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, Toulouse, France)


  • Awarded Galvani Prize (Bio Electrochemical Society, 1993)
  • Awarded Innovation Prize (Région Midi-Pyrénées, with J. Teissié, M. Golzio , B. Couderc and Y. Tamzali, 2005)
  • President of the French GEIMM society (Groupe d’Etude des Interactions Molécules Membranes – sous-groupe thématique de la SFB Société Française de Biophysique, 2006-2008)
  • Vice secretary of the French GTRV society (Groupe Thématique de Recherches sur la Vectorisation)
  • Reviewer of American, European (FP6 and 7) and French scientific programs (ANR)

Current Status : Directrice de Recherche 1ère classe au CNRS, Group leader


Scientific summary

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).


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