“This prize rewards my thesis work on the biogenesis of lipid droplets within biological membranes, which I carried out in Abdou Rachid THIAM’s team. These oil droplets are crucial for our survival because they constitute the main energy reservoir of our cells in our body. Through my research, I have identified some of the key biophysical parameters regulating the phenomenon of lipid droplets nucleation in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. The identification of these parameters was achieved by our choice to adopt a multidisciplinary approach at the interface between physics and biology. This approach also led me to invent a promising method for the analysis of many cellular mechanisms like the biogenesis of lipid droplets.This method is based on the micromanipulation of innovative biological objects: the “Giant Organelles”. “
Left: Confocal microscopy snap of a COS-7 cell overexpressing an endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein (magenta). This cell was fed with fatty acids during few hours. The lipid droplets (green) result from the transformation of fatty acids into hydrophobic oil molecules to store the excess of energy generated by feeding. Right: Confocal microscopy snap of a Giant Endoplasmic Reticulum Vesicle (GERV) originating from a cell fed with fatty acids. This GERV was recovered with our unique extraction protocol. It was in contact with a lipid droplet (green) and held with a micropipette. Micropipette were used both to control membrane stress and to measure its mechanical properties.