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CNRS 
Mechanics of living tissue during embryo development: understanding biological observations with a mechanical model
CNRS -- Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble
LIPHY -- Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de physique
Biophysics Materials Science Cell Biology / Development 
Full Description:

Applications are invited for a PhD position to be held at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique, Université Grenoble Alpes, in collaboration with the Dept. of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge.


Keywords:

Biophysics, Complex fluids, Continuum mechanics, Developmental biology, Reaction-diffusion, Interdisciplinary research.


Advisors:

Jocelyn Étienne, Jocelyn.Etienne@UJF-Grenoble.fr
Guy Blanchard, gb288@cam.ac.uk

Funding:

1452 € per calendar month for 3 years. Health insurance is included. A paid complementary activity during the PhD, consisting of either teaching, research dissemination or valorisation, can be applied for. This complementary activity corresponds to 1/6 of the work time and increases the monthly salary to 1744 €.

Topic:

During the development of living organisms, large-scale movements of tissues occur to sculpt the adult form from a single fertilized egg. The mechanics of these deformations is poorly understood, although their driving forces are known to originate in the subcellular dynamics of filaments of actin proteins, which are contracted by the action of myosin, a motor-molecule. Understanding the self-organizing capacity of networks of actin and myosin and how this is controlled during development to generate appropriate form is one of the great current challenges at the interface between physics and biology. The objective of this PhD project is to work on physical models of the subcellular dynamics of these filaments, and of the resulting tissue-scale dynamics of cells, in order to understand how the molecular processes give rise to the correct morphogenetic movements.

The models will be based on convection-diffusion-reaction and rheology equations. More details are available on J. Etienne's website. (link below)

 

Requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in mechanics or physics. He/she should be comfortable using both analytical and numerical approaches to analyse the behaviour of the models. The numerical resolution will be done in the finite element C++ library Rheolef (website), which specializes in nonlinear rheology problems and is co-developed by Jocelyn Étienne.

Skills required:
Ability to work cooperatively in an interdisciplinary group.
Solid background in continuum mechanics, experience with rheological models and/or computational fluid dynamics is an asset.
A desire to bring new understanding to the proposed biological problem.
Some programming skills (C++ appreciated).

The student will be registered in Université Grenoble Alpes and will mostly work in Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique with advisor Jocelyn Étienne, and with Guy Blanchard who will be present for several months per year in Grenoble, France. Travel to Cambridge, UK, and Madrid where relevant experimental work is being carried out will be possible.


The Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique is located in Grenoble.

Grenoble is the unique conjunction of a well-established university city with world-class research groups, within a breathtaking mountain landscape.

The Laboratoire was originally a Physics department, but is now highly interdisciplinary with many mechanicists, applied mathematicians and biologists working there as staff, post-docs or graduate students.


The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge is one of the premier Departments world-wide for studying developmental biology and its dynamics.

Funding is provided within a Tec21 project. 1452 € salary per calendar month for 3 years. Health insurance is included. A paid complementary activity during the PhD, consisting of either teaching, research dissemination or valorisation, can be applied for. This complementary activity corresponds to 1/6 of the work time and increases the monthly salary to 1744 €.

Applications should include a letter detailing the motivation and relevance of the applicant's background for this particular project (max. 300 words), a full CV and the names and email addresses of three referees. Please direct enquiries to Jocelyn Étienne or Guy Blanchard, and send applications to Jocelyn.Etienne@UJF-Grenoble.fr by 24 May 2015.

Start date between 1st September 2015 and 30th November 2015.


References

 

Blanchard GB, Murugesu S, Adams RJ, Martinez-Arias A and Gorfinkiel N. 2010. Cytoskeletal dynamics and supra-cellular organization of cell shape fluctuations during dorsal closure. Development 137:2743-2752.


Étienne J, J. Fouchard, D. Mitrossilis, N. Bufi, P. Durand-Smet and A. Asnacios, 2015 Cells as liquid motors: Mechanosensitivity emerges from collective dynamics of actomyosin cortex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112(9):2740–2745.


Fischer SC, Blanchard GB, Duque J, Adams RJ, et al. 2014. Contractile and Mechanical Properties of Epithelia with Perturbed Actomyosin Dynamics. PLoS ONE 9:e95695.


Machado PF, Duque J, Etienne J, Arias AM, Blanchard GB and Gorfinkiel N. Active rheology and emergent material properties of developing epithelial tissues. Submitted.



Posted on: 20 March 2015Deadline to apply: 14 September 2015Start Date: 01 November 2015 Duration: 36 months
The Fund category is Public Funding - University and the salary is 20-25k€ annual gross
Doctoral School is IMEP2: Engineering - Materials - Environment - Energetics - Procedures - Production in the Rhône-Alpes Region.

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