Pau received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Barcelona, where he did his PhD on Active Matter in the group of Self-Organized Complex Materials, under the supervision of Drs. Jordi Ignés and Francesc Sagués. There he focused on developing strategies for controlling the dynamics of active gels. Then Pau moved to Geneva to work in the lab of Dr. Aurélien Roux to study self-organization principles inducing remodeling within cell monolayers.

Can you describe in a few words your research work? And the project and experiments for which you wanted to use PRIMO?

« I use protein micropatterns to induce specific cellular arrangements and behaviors within cell monolayers. PRIMO is a reliable tool to generate precise and robust protein patterns. Having PRIMO has also allowed us to develop a micro-pillar constriction assay, which represents a very direct and non-invasive way to measure forces within cell monolayers. The assay requires a clean and precise combination of micro-patterning of cell-adhesive islands and micro-fabrication of fluorescent soft pillars. »

Confined C2C12 cells compressing a hydrogel pillar. Courtesy of Dr Pau Guillamat, University of Geneva, Aurelien Roux’ Lab. P. Guillamat et al, BioRxiv, 2020

What made you choose PRIMO ?

« PRIMO can be used for generating protein micro-patterns with varying protein quantities and micro-structures made of photo-polymerizable materials. Interestingly, PRIMO also allows to precisely generate clean systems combining micro-patterns and micro-structures. »

Which solution did you use before using PRIMO?

« I’ve mainly used photomasks and, although they are very useful and allow patterning faster than PRIMO, they of course lack adjustability. Also, direct contact with the masks can easily damage the substrates. »

Is the PRIMO system matching your expectations?And how would you qualify its performances?

« The ease-of-use of both PRIMO and LEONARDO software help to achieve great results in a short time. Some applications might require more optimization but soon you realize the possibilities are endless. »

If you were to describe PRIMO in one word, what would it be?

« Versatile »

And finally, how would you qualify the support provided by the team?

« The support provided by the Alvéole team couldn’t have been better: rapid response to our queries, and 100% efficient solutions. »

“My interest is to understand the role of biophysical and topological properties of tissue microenvironments, such as stem cell niches, in modulating cell fate. Thus, the ability to precisely tune and control extracellular cell/organelle shape and geometry in 2D and 3D, is of critical importance. PRIMO has been incredibly useful in this regard!”

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“The main interest of the Tardieux’s laboratory and my PhD project is to decipher how forces drive the unique motile and invasive capacities of the single-celled eukaryotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii. I was able to uncover that the parasite glides by coupling polar adhesions and de-adhesion with traction and dragging forces. The PRIMO technique was needed to create composite patterns with a non-adhesive area next to an adhesive one with the crucial request of a sharp demarcation.”

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“We are working on the generation of 3D cellular microenvironments to reproduce Hematopoietic Niches. PRIMO will be used to generate 3D photo-polymerized microenvironments and to pattern them to localize different cell populations involved in the hematopoiesis.”

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“Our aim is to develop in vitro experimentation to decipher guiding mechanisms involved in vivo. PRIMO technology is particularly adapted to design in vitro microdevices patterned with controlled patches of the signaling proteins relevant for white blood cell migration.”

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“We are interested in imaging subcellular localization of certain cell-surface receptors and check whether they colocalize with focal-adhesion complexes. For this purpose, we are interested in making different types of patterns of Fibronectin with subcellular dimensions.”

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“My research project aims at unravelling how a T cell switches from a fast migratory state to a stationary state upon activation. To do so, I perform live cell imaging of T cells migrating inside micro-fabricated channels coated with activating molecules. However, with this approach, I do not control when and where a T cell encounters the activating molecules.”

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“Our research is at the frontier of soft matter physics and process engineering. More precisely, we develop microfluidic tools to study industrial processes (mixing, flow, drying, filtration, etc.) involving soft matter systems such as polymers or colloids. We use PRIMO to integrate hydrogel membranes in microfluidic devices to mimic ultrafiltration and dialysis processes on the scale of a few nanoliters.”

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Our users describe their research projects and explain why they chose to use PRIMO!

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