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Curie Physicochemistry - UMR 168

The Physical Chemistry ‘Curie' unit is located on the central Paris site in the Curie Pavillon, the historical building where Marie Curie worked. The unit is associated with the Institut Curie, the CNRS, and the Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris VI). It comprises 13 research groups, including 27 permanent researchers, eight technical staff, 21 postdocs and 37 PhD students, as well as Masters students.

Originally composed of physicists, chemists and biologists our unit is developing interdisciplinary approaches that use physics, chemistry and biology to gain novel insights into cellular mechanisms. The research covers a broad spectrum from single molecules (molecular motors, DNA-protein interactions, membrane proteins) to cellular functions (cell adhesion, cell motility, intracellular transport) and the collective behaviour of cells in tissues (wound healing, morphogenesis).

The approaches range from theoretical studies – including statistical physics of non-equilibrium systems – to the organic synthesis of molecules and macromolecules, and they include many experimental studies on biological and biomimetic systems in which the parameters can be changed. We use a variety of microscopical techniques such as optical, multiphoton, electron and atomic force microscopy, as well as other experimental techniques like microfluidics in a clean-room environment, optical tweezers and magnetic tweezers and micromanipulation.

Our major achievements include: developing a theoretical and experimental understanding of how molecular motors work together; direct observation of supramolecular assemblies of proteins in native membranes, as well as quantitative descriptions of cellular actin-based motility and intracellular traffic through biomimicry assays.

The unit's long-term goal is to uncover the physical laws involved in cellular functions. 

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biological physics, biomimetic systems, molecular motors, cytoskeleton, cell motility, membrane, tissue

Teams and research themes

Active mechano-sensitivity by hair cells in the inner ear
      Group leader: Pascal Martin

Biology inspired physics at meso-scales
      Group leaders: Axel Buguin, Pascal Silberzan

Biomimetism of cellular movement
      Group leader: Cécile Sykes

Macromolecules and Microsystems in Biology and Medicine (MMBM)
      Group leader: Jean-Louis Viovy

Mechanics and Genetics of Embryonic and Tumoral Development
      Group leader: Emmanuel Farge

Membranes and cellular functions
      Group leader: Patricia Bassereau

Molecular and macromolecular architecture of organized fluids and interfaces
      Group leader: Patrick Keller

Physical approach of biological problems
      Group leaders: Prof. Jean-François Joanny, Jacques Prost

Physics of the cytoskeleton and membrane functions
      Group leader: Francois Amblard

RNA dynamics and biomolecular systems
      Group leader: Hervé Isambert

Soft interfaces
      Group leader: Prof. Françoise Brochard-Wyart

Structural analysis of membrane proteins and of biomimetic systems by electron microscopy
      Group leader: Daniel Lévy

Structure and assembly of membrane proteins in native membranes by atomic force microscopy (AFM)
      Group leader: Simon Scheuring

Contact Informations
Contact Informations
JOANNY Jean-François 
01 42 34 67 54
Physical address
Institut CURIE, 11, rue Pierre et Marie Curie 75005 Paris

Laboratory's mail

Mailing address
Institut CURIE, Centre Recherche, 26 rue d'Ulm - 75248 PARIS cedex 05

Communications Contact

Administrative Contact
Malthête Jacques 
01 56 24 67 51


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