General framework:

A general paradigm of biology is that the function and the structure are intimately linked.
A particular protein has a given function because of its 3D shape. The possibility to predict the 3D shape of a particular amino acid sequence would allow building proteins with specific functions thus enabling the possibility to design very efficient drugs. Because of the intrinsic complexity of the amino acid interactions it has not yet been possible to predict or create proteins with predictable shapes and functions. Using DNA this is now possible such as illustrated in.
To design complex structures, potentially with biological and computing functions we need to characterize how the folding of these objects takes place. We propose to investigate the thermodynamic properties of these systems by developing an on-chip-nanocalorimeter that can be imbedded into innovative microfluidic devices.

[1] P. W. K. Rothemund, Nature, vol. 440, no. 7082, pp. 297–302, Mar. 2006.
[2] M. Langecker, V. Arnaut, et al. Science, vol. 338, no. 6109, pp. 932–936, 2012.


Exact topic:

Our approach is experimental and the candidate will develop a chip calorimeter based on ultrasensitive thermometry and innovative microfluidics based on parylene thin film. The thermal fluid management need to be developed in order to achieve the best resolution possible. This will reduce the cost of material synthesis and the experimental time. We target to achieve the detection of power of the order of the nW in volume of few microliters. Model systems like the complex CBS-CAII, DNA duplexes or enzymes and their substrates will be used to evaluate and compare the performances of the instrument with existing systems. The candidate will gain state of the art knowledge in microfabrication technologies, microfluidics, instrumentations, thermodynamics of small systems and DNA nanotech.

Interactions and collaborations:
This project is based on well recognized know how in ultimate calorimetry in the team. It is also based
on collaborations with collegues specialized in DNA nanotechnologies, in SCIB-INAC CEA Grenoble
with Dr. D. Gasparutto, LIMMS Tokyo (Japan) with Dr. Y. Rondelez, and LAAS Toulouse (France)
with Dr. A. Genot.
Formation / proficiencies:
We seek a candidate with a background in physics willing to realize innovative instrumental
developments. Knowledges in low noise electronics, microfluidics, microtechnologies, DNA nanotech
are a plus but are not required.
Start of the PhD: Fall 2014
Contact : Guillou Hervé and Olivier Bourgeois

Institut Néel – CNRS : 04 76 88 12 10 ;
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