pierre-henri puech
  • E-mail :[email]
  • Phone : +33661529918
  • Location : marseille, France
Last update 2011-05-27 16:40:11.92

pierre-henri puech PhD Biophysics / (physics, biology and medecine interface)

Course and current status

Pierre-Henri Puech, PhD, HDR
Inserm UMR 600 /  CNRS UMR 6212
Adhésion Cellulaire et Inflammation
Case 937 - 163, avenue de Luminy
13288 Marseille Cedex 09, France
Tel : + 33 4 91 82 75 83 ; Fax : + 33 4 91 82 75 80
email : pierre-henri.puech@inserm.fr
web : http ://puechph.free.fr/

Education and research experience

Since Dec. 2005 : Inserm researcher (tenure position) in UMR 600 (Marseille, France)
head : Pr. P. Bongrand (CR2 -> CR1 : 2008 ; Habilitation : 2009)

Dec. 2003 - dec. 2005 : post doc in the group of Pr. D. J. Müller (Dresden, Germany)
labs : Biotec, TU-Dresden and Max Planck for Cell Biology and Genetics

Oct. 2000 - Oct. 2003 : PhD in physical chemistry, university of Paris VI
group : F. Brochard-Wyart ; lab : UMR 168 CNRS / Institut Curie (Paris, France)

Oct. 2000 : Ingenier degree from Ecole Supéerieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielle de la ville de Paris (ESPCI, Paris, France)

Oct. 1999 - June 2000 : Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies with honors - university Paris VI

1998-1999 : Student at ESPCI ("Admis sur titres")

1996-1998 : Physical Chemistry, Soft Matter Physics - with honors - university Paris VI

1993-1996 : Classes préparatoires (speciality : Mathematics), Lycée Louis le Grand, Paris

Scientific summary

I have been interested in the field of cellular adhesion (from experimental and theoretical point of view), fi rst using model membrane systems and then involving myself in more cellular based studies. Coming from a physical chemistry / physics background, I gradually placed myself at the interface between physics and biology.

I completed my PhD thesis in the group of Pr. F. Brochard-Wyart (Institut Curie, Paris,
France), a specialist of adhesion and wetting phenomena. My PhD was introducing in this group some more biologically relevant adhesion problems and opened a new branch of interest. I explored experimentally and theoretically the mecanisms of adhesion between biomimetic model membrane systems. I developped the decoration of plane, supported bilayers and of giant vesicles (diameter of 10-100 micrometers) with receptor / ligand systems. Two types of molecular "glues" were examined during this work : an "ultra weak" glue (E-cadherin fragments) and a "super-glue" (streptavidin/biotin). These two systems allowed us to describe and observe very di erent regimes of adhesion and to model it together with P.-G. de Gennes.

I then turned  to more biological problems during my post doc in Germany (MPI-CBG
and Biotec, Dresden). Together with the group of CP Heisenberg (developmental biologists, working on Zebra sh) and the company JPK Instruments (Berlin) who provides a "biology oriented" Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), combined with optical microscopy, we have developped a new AFM based apparatus designed for measuring cell adhesion forces. The idea was to provide a quanti cation of these forces, between a cell and a decorated surfaces (with ECM proteins) and ultimately between partner cells. We succeeded in demonstrating the existence of an integrin like receptor during zebra sh gastrulation. We shown the influence of a mutation of wnt11 on the cadherin mediated adhesion during the same process and nally tested the di erencial adhesion
hypothesis in early development using a modi ed AFM.

My main project proposes to caracterise the molecular recognition phenomenon (pMHC/TCR), from single molecule to the "whole" cell, and its links with cell mechanics, using immune system related systems. The aim is to adress how passive properties of the system (thermodynanics / kinetics of the recognition...) will influence the active behaviour of the cell (proliferation, inducing death...) using cutting edge force measuring techniques such as AFM, micromanipulations and Biomembrane Force Probe (BFP) that I have developped in the lab. Combined with advanced microscopies such as FRET we propose to follow the early activation steps of T cells to answer the following question : "How does a T cell quantify the signals it receives through its surface receptors ? What is the "physical" message (lifetime, force,...) ?"

Aside of that (i) I currently work on the influence of nuclear mechanics and dynamics on Drosophila development (with T. Lecuit, IBDML). (iii) I analyse the influence of anticancerous drugs on cell mechanics (with L. Counillon, Nice) and (iii) I am participating to several common projects in the UMR, at the interface between physics, biology and medecine through the development of new techniques such as BFP.

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