The missions of the young "Biomechanics of the cell" core facility, BIOMECAN'IC, is to propose a set of technological approaches in order to mimic the environment of the tissue from which the cells originate and to measure their responses: morphology, sub-cellular localization of interest markers, force measurements, individual and collective migration. The cells may be subjected to various rigidities and constraints on areas defined by micro-printing.

BIOMECAN'IC manages an Incucyte device, a device intended for automated cell imaging placed in an incubator, allowing long-term studies.
BIOMECAN'IC provides a micro-pipette suction (MPA) device for measuring the mechanical properties of cells and cell membranes
BIOMECAN'IC also collaborates in innovative projects and ensures a constant technological watch.


The core Facility BIOMECAN'IC proposes 4 services :

  • How do cells respond to the environment?
  • Impact of spatial constraint on cell structure and behavior?
  • What forces do cells develop?
  • How do cells respond to environmental modulation?

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BIOMECAN'IC offers an access to some equipments to trained people. Information and training from BIOMECAN'IC.



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Modification des propriétés physiques du substrat des cellules. Réponses dynamiques des cellules

BIOMECAN'IC works in collaboration with the team of Filippo Fabbri, C2N laboratory (Center for Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies) Université Paris Saclay UMR9001 and that of Clotilde Randriamampita (Signaling of immune cells and retroviral infection, Institut Cochin) for the application of photoactive materials to biology. The objective is to manipulate the mechanical environment of the cell by remote light and in a reversible manner. The induced cellular response is monitored by videomicroscopy.

Kymographes figurant la migration individuelle de cellules sur gels de polyacrylamide

As is the case for the study of individual cell migration on plastics, IncuCyte as well as microscopy can be used for the study of individual cell migration on polyacrylamide gels. BIOMECAN'IC optimizes the conditions on homogeneous substrates or micro-patterned with adhesion molecules. The acquisition will be carried out by wide-field or confocal microscopy (IMAG'IC) or on the IncuCyte.

Schéma du principe de micro-pipette aspiration

This technique aims to measure the mechanical properties of cells and cell membranes. It is currently being developed on red blood cells (collaboration with Frédérique Verdier and Catherine Lavazec)

Forces exercées par la cellule contrainte pour son étalement sur ligne de fibronectine

The measurement of the cell forces is performed by "Traction Force Microscopy" (TFM). This technical approach uses polyacrylamide gels in which fluorescent microbeads are inserted during the polymerization of the gel. Cells spread on gels tend to wrinkle them by the forces they exert. In order to measure these forces, cell and bead acquisitions are carried out using wide-field microscopy. The image of the beads reflects their position in a situation where the gel is folded. An image of the beads is also acquired after elimination of the cells (relaxed gel). The force measurement is calculated using an algorithm (ImageJ plug-in) which will compare the respective position of the beads on the two images, taking into account the Young's modulus of the gel used.

The development of TFM in a situation where cell spreading is constrained by the micro-printing of the adhesion molecule was carried out by the BIOMECAN'IC facility. The advantage provided by this approach consists in decoupling the "shape of the cell" parameter from the "force involved" parameter. Indeed, the forces measured vary for the same cell type depending on the spreading of the cell.


Image illustration newsletter


BIOMECAN'IC publishes newsletters to inform of developments and news of the facility. The newsletters are written in French and in English.

Last newsletter:

Newsletter Biomecan'IC may 2022 (2022-05)


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Mireille Lambert

Bâtiment G Roussy, 8è étage, pièce 805,
27, rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques 75014 Paris

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