Morphogenesis, a central event in the embryo development, hinges on a finely orchestrated collective motion of cells, with protrusions and invaginations happening at well-defined positions. Topological defects, a small region where cellular alignment is perturbed, have been identified as organizers of these morphogenic events in vitro in 2D (Guillamat P. et al., 2022). During my postdoc, I am studying the coupling between topological defects, stress fields and morphogenesis in vitro, in and on 3D structures of various topologies. To quantitatively investigate this phenomena, I grow epithelia and myofibroblasts inside alginate microcapsules, which I produce using a 3D printed microfluidic device (Alessandri K. et al., 2016). Because shell thickness and diameter can be tuned, I can quantify cell motion, collective alignment and stress fields as a response to topology, curvature and rigidity. Using this controled model system, I hope to uncover the link between active matter, mechanics and morphogenesis.
I started my postdoc in January 2022 in the Roux lab. Prior to coming to Geneva, I did my PhD in the Hydrodynamics laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique (France). My thesis is entitled Forces in a microvessel-on-chip: system development, poroelasticity mechanics and cellular response (see link below). I hold a Mechanical Engineering degree from Ecole Polytechnique in France (2016) and an MSc in Bioengineering from EPFL in Switzerland (2018). I did my first master thesis in the Biophysics group at FAU in Erlangen (Germany) on cardiomyocytes mechanics and my second master thesis in the Microbs group at EPFL in Lausanne (Switzerland) on microactuators mechanics.