Two of the most important genetic diseases of red blood cells (RBCs), namely sickle cell anemia – a very handicapping and the most prevalent generic disease in the world- and hereditary spherocytosis are both characterized by an increase in the cell rigidity The resulting lack of deformability occurs either because of the formation of rigid fibers of haemoglobin S in the cytoplasm or via changes in membrane proteins which in turn alter the cytoskeleton resulting in a spherical cell shape. These changes result in problems of circulation of RBCs in narrow capillaries and through the thin slits of splenic sinusoids- situations where the RBCs may be subject to very strong deformations. In spite of a lot of work on blood flow, the role of the deformation parameters, that is to say, the mechanical properties of RBCs that govern their behavior in micro-flow, is poorly understood.

In this project, we tackle the challenge of understanding the dynamics of RBCs in the microcirculation in the context of sickle cell anemia and hereditary spherocytosis. We shall develop a combination of micro and nano techniques and in vitro approaches to study the mechanical properties of the pathological RBCs, as well as their individual and collective dynamics in biomimetic microflows.

The postdoc will work on the development of complex Micro/Nano PDMS fluidic channels which will have specific topography and/or chemistry and will be involved in cell behavior measurements.

Hosting lab: Centre Interdisciplinaire de nanoscience de Marseille, CINaM,

Postdoc duration : 2 years
Starting time : As soon as possible

Project leader: Annie Viallat
Supervisor: Anne Charrier

For further questions and application, please contact Anne Charrier at