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Phagocytosis by macrophages represents a fundamental process essential for both immunity and tissue homeostasis. Most of our current quantitative knowledge on phagocytosis is based on the use of solid polymer microparticles as model targets that are well adapted to the study of phagocytosis mechanisms that do not involve any lateral mobility of the ligands, despite the relevance of this parameter in the immunological context.

Recently, we designed monodisperse, deformable IgG-coated lipid droplets [Ben M’Barek 2015Montel 2019Dumat 2019] that are efficiently and specifically internalized by macrophages through in-vitro FcγR-mediated phagocytosis. We have shown that, contrary to solid polymeric beads, droplet uptake is efficient even for low IgG densities, and is accompanied by the clustering of the opsonins in the zone of contact with the macrophage during the adhesion step. Recently, we designed particles with a tunable deformability [Pinon et al., BioRxiv 2021].

In this collaborative project, we wish to extend the biological analysis to other types of receptors, and to initiate a mechanobiological study of the forces acting on the lipid droplets during the engulfment process.

The recruitment takes place in the context of a funding from the French Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR) for a collaborative project involving our team (Jacques FATTACCIOLI, IPGG ENS) the group of Florence NIEDERGANG (Institut Cochin) and the group of Jean-Maurice MALLET (Department of Chemistry, ENS).

In parallel to additional recruitments that have taken, or will take place in other labs of the consortium, we are looking for a skilled biophysicist or cell biologist to quantify the deformation of the lipid droplets during their uptake by macrophages, in a statistical manner, to precisely map the mechanical forces acting on it for various ligands and biological conditions

Requirements. Applicants should have a background in cell biology, biophysics, soft matter science or related fields, with a taste for quantitative experimental work/analysis, including the development of biophysical image analysis procedures. 

A basic knowledge in cell culture and related procedures (staining, transfection, etc.) would be beneficial for this part of the project. An interest/expertise in open-source softwares/programming langages (e.g. Python, ImageJ), the usage of public repositories (e.g. Github) will be a plus. 

Applicants are expected to be self-driven, have a strong work-capacity and enthusiasm for science, and have good communication/writing skills.

Location. J. Fattaccioli’s team is part to the Microfluidics group of the Chemistry Department of the ENS. The team is located at the Institut Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, in the Latin Quarter, in Paris (France). As a team, we are particularly interested in methodological developments at the interfaces with biology.

Funding and salary. This position is supported by an ANR funding. It is offered on a fixed-term contract of up to 24 months (postdoc) or 36 months (PhD). Salaries are in accordance with national regulations for these types of positions.

Application procedure. Potential candidates are asked to send a research statement, a CV, and names and contact information of three references to jacques.fattaccioli@ens.psl.eu

While applications will be accepted until the post is filled, first interviews will take place as soon as possible.

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