PhD position in biochemistry : Design and investigation of adhesive proteins

Keywords: biomimicry, protein self-assembly, adhesion, surfaces.

  • Context and mission

In our daily lives, all conventional man-made adhesives are petrochemical products, which are toxic for the body and show limited efficiency in wet conditions, major drawbacks for biomaterials. In this project, we aim at producing adhesives effective in air and/or in wet conditions inspired by natural glues of some arthropods. This approach using simplified mimics of biological adhesives will facilitate better understanding of systems from which they are derived and could find applications in medicine as well as in biotechnology and industry.

Adhesive proteins of some arthropods have been identified. For these animals, the adhesion mechanism seems to be related to protein self-assembly on the surface. The molecular basis of this process has been elucidated by our team but its mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The goal of the PhD project is to produce adhesive proteins mimicking the natural one, to investigate the self-assembly process of these proteins and their adsorption/adhesion on materials. To achieve this goal, the project will involve a genetic engineering strategy, protein characterization approaches using biophysics and microscopies.

  • Candidate profile

We look for a highly motivated candidate with a strong knowledge in biochemistry, biophysics and/or in material science. The student should be able to work in a team, have very good writing skills (report, presentation…) and good knowledge of at least one of the language used in the lab: French, English.

  • The Laboratory and the team

The project will take place within “Equipe de Recherche sur les Relations Matrice Extracellulaire- Cellules” (ERRMECE: EA1391) from Cergy-Pontoise University (, in collaboration with the “Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique”(LMGP: UMR 5628) in the Grenoble Institute of Technology (, known worldwide for its expertise in material science.

The ERRMECE lab is composed of 18 staff members and is organized in three research groups:

– BioSan: this team works on biomatrerials, especially on layer by layer films and interpenetrated network technologies;

– BCMI: this team works on microbial biofilms and anti-fouling strategies;

– MecUp: this team works on human extracellular matrix in physico-pathological contexts. Hence the lab has extensive expertise in the study of different extracellular matrices, on their composition and function, in relationships with cells and the functionalization of materials. The PhD project proposes new “matrix-like” models for the ERRMECe lab and will reinforce the axis on protein- material interactions by the collaboration with the LMGP.

  • Contact

Charlotte Vendrely, Uni. de Cergy-Pontoise, ERRMECe ;

The position is available for 3 years starting from: October 1, 2019.

Application dead-line is: May 17, 2019.

Université de Cergy-Pontoise, EA 1391,
Equipe de Recherche sur les Relations Matrice Extracellulaire-Cellules-ERRMECe
Groupe MEC-uP
Maison Internationale de la Recherche Rue Descartes
95031 Neuville sur Oise Cedex France