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PhD and Postdoc positions “Actin dynamics and energetics” – Michelot Lab, IBDM, Marseille, France

Posted by , on 8 June 2021

Location: IBDM, Marseille, France

Closing Date: 30 September 2021

The Michelot team is welcoming applications for one PhD + one postdoc positions for two projects at the intersection of biology, physics and chemistry.

Research Background:

The actin cytoskeleton is a complex and dynamic system involved in several force-generating processes such as cell motility or cell division. The actin itself is a biological polymer, which has the property to assemble in organized networks. Actin-based forces are generated by the polymerization reaction against loads, or by families of molecular motors called myosins. Multiple families of actin binding proteins (ABPs) regulate this complex system, by modulating the polymerization dynamics and organization of filaments into networks. All actin-based processes are powered by the hydrolysis of ATP, which provides the free energy to sustain these chemical reactions. For more information about this field, please read [1].

Research Objectives:

Our lab investigates the molecular and physical principles governing cytoskeletal organization. More specifically, we are interested in understanding how the cell is able to maintain a dynamic actin cytoskeleton, with fast kinetics of assembly and recycling (postdoc project), and how such dynamics is related to energy consumption (PhD project).

Lab Tools:

The host team is recognized for its expertise in designing a multitude of biomimetic systems from purified proteins, in order to reconstitute relevant biological processes from a minimal number of components. The candidates will benefit from state-of-the-art biological tools and instruments available within the institute.

These projects will also benefit from the development of new probes and methods in the lab, which enable us to visualize the ATP bound to actin. These tools enable us to measure quantitatively rates of ATP integration within actin networks and rate of network recycling. For more information about these tools, please read [2] and [3].

Research environment:

The host team is interdisciplinary and composed of physicists, chemists and biologists. The team is also part of a very active multidisciplinary program, The Turing Center of Living Systems (https://centuri-livingsys-, which brings together biologists, physicists, and computational scientists. The candidates will ben- efit from this environment, including collaborations, courses, seminars, and meetings. The team is interna- tional, so speaking and presenting in English is expected.

These projects are suitable for experimental physicists or chemists with at least basic knowledge in biology. Applications from biologists motivated by these interdisciplinary projects will also be considered. Basic coding skills are recommended. The candidates should be driven by their curiosity and be able to advance a scientific project by interacting with their colleagues or seeking in the literature.

Please send your CV, a letter of motivation and contacts for references.
Lab website


[1] Blanchoin et al. Actin dynamics, architecture, and mechanics in cell motility, Physiol Rev, 2014.
[2] Colombo, Antkowiak, et al. A functional family of fluorescent nucleotide analogues to investigate actin dy- namics and energetics, Nat Commun, 2021
[3] Antkowiak et al. Sizes of actin networks sharing a common environment are determined by the relative rates of assembly, Plos Biol, 2019.

Annoucement in pdf

Closing Date: 30 September 2021

Duration: Fixed term

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