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Organ-izing the cells

Team Leader : Vincent Studer

Vincent Studer is a CNRS research director at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience (IINS) in Bordeaux. After completing an engineering degree at the ESPCI Paristech in 2001 he carried out his Ph.D at the Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris in Material Science. His early research work on single cell microfluidics was performed both in the  laboratory for Photonics and Nanostructure (LPN-CNRS) in Marcoussis and in the lab of Steve Quake at Caltech. He joined the CNRS in 2004 as a tenured scientist, first at the ESPCI Neurobiology lab and later (2009) at the IINS in Bordeaux. He is an expert in microengineering and microscopy for biology. He has authored more than 30 articles and has filed over 10 patents. He is also a co-founder of Alvéole, a company commercializing a biomolecule printer invented in his lab. He was awarded the CNRS bronze medal in 2013 for early career achievements and the Jerphagnon prize in 2017 for his successful tech transfer to Alvéole.

General objective

3D cell culture i.e. the art of organ-izing cells by cultivating them in configurations that more closely mimic the in-vivo environment is widely considered as the main route towards more physiologically relevant in vitro models. Yet providing simple, large scale and standardized solutions remains a key challenge for the widespread adoption of such cell-based models in laboratories and later in the pharmaceutical industry. Pioneers in the field of 3D brain cultures undoubtedly demonstrated the huge potential of such models in neuroscience. They also point out that novel tools and materials are required to advance their maturation (complexity) and scalability. This field of research is growing rapidly, mainly fueled by the establishing human Induced Pluripotent Stem cell technology. By joining our means and efforts in a joint research laboratory  with the company Alvéole, we have established a tight research collaboration and an experienced innovation structure in the field of in vitro model design and experimentation. Together we aim at applying our patented hydrogel structuration and protein patterning toolbox to develop standardized in vitro models of human brain tissues. Such in vitro models, especially when their size is kept at the microscale, have the capacity to be observed and quantified by state of the art high resolution fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy. A second aim of our research is to develop specific tools and methods to enable high troughput imaging of such human microtissues. This novel and exciting avenue to dissect fundamental mechanisms of human brain physiology in vitro will first be applied to study the dynamic of synaptic circuitry in collaboration with the other teams from IINS.

Research Projects

Micropatterning made easy


A biomimetic assay to quantify the interaction kinetics of synaptic complexes


Studying Glioblastoma and neurons interaction using advanced in vitro models


Micropatterning & Electron Microscopy


3D multicolor imaging


3D living micro-tissues on micro-niches


Molecular mechanisms of synapse organization during neuronal development



  • Protein micropatterning
  • Structured Illumination Microscopy
  • 3D Cell culture
  • News

    Microfabrication - Advanced Healthcare Materials, Oct. 2020

    Physiologically relevant cell‐based models require engineered microenvironments which recapitulate the topographical, biochemical, and mechanical properties encountered in vivo. In this context, hydrogels are the materials of choice. Here a light based toolbox is able to craft such microniches out of common place materials. Extensive use of benzophenone photoinitiators and their interaction with oxygen achieves this. First, the oxygen inhibition of radicals is harnessed to photoprint hydrogel topographies. Then the chemical properties of benzophenone are exploited to crosslink and functionalize native hydrogels lacking photosensitive moieties. At last, photoscission is introduced: an oxygen driven, benzophenone‐enabled reaction that photoliquefies Matrigel and other common gels. Using these tools, soft hydrogel templates are tailored for cells to grow or self organize into standardized structures. The described workflow emerges as an effective microniche manufacturing toolset for 3D cell culture.

    Authors: Aurélien Pasturel, Pierre‐Olivier Strale, Vincent Studer

    - Advanced Healthcare Materials - First published: 02 August 2020 -
    - Contact: Vincent Studer

    + Thumbnail Leg. This spheroidally shaped cell culture of human embryonic kidney cells was templated by a photochemical technique. Vincent Studer and co-workers used photochemistry to controllably create hollow shapes within hydrogel structures. These hollows were then seeded with cells, which grew to fill the empty space. The spheroids were stained using a cell marker and the 3D imaging was accomplished with a bespoke digital micromirror-device-based confocal microscope.

    "Cell Organ-izers”, a new IINS and Alvéole LabCom

    Faced with the same challenges for their academic research work or their clients needs, the IINS group led by Vincent Studer “Organ-izing the cell” and Alvéole have decided to create a common laboratory "Cell Organ_izers". It will aim at establishing a tight research partnership, likely to have a leverage effect in terms of both scientific production and innovation. The general theme of research of the JRL will be the development of  scale up tools and methods to craft standardized human in vitro models for biology with the general goal of reconciliating the simplicity of in vitro models with complex properties encountered in vivo. We will focus our investigations on tools, methods and principles in straight line with Alveole’s product line, patent portfolio and target market. The results that we have obtained together within our previous collaboration contracts will be the starting bricks of the program.

    Contact: vincent.studer at
    + See the Bordeaux Neurocampus website here


    Selected Publications

  • Aurélien Pasturel, Pierre-Olivier Strale, Vincent Studer
  • Tailoring Common Hydrogels into 3D Cell Culture Templates Advanced Healthcare Materials (2020)

  • Pierre-Olivier Strale , Ammar Azioune , Ghislain Bugnicourt , Yohan Lecomte , Makhlad Chahid , Vincent Studer
  • Multiprotein Printing by Light-Induced Molecular Adsorption Advanced Materials (2016)


    « Researcher »

    CHAMMA Ingrid Researcher +33533514746
    PEYRET Grégoire Researcher +33533514700
    STUDER Vincent Researcher +33533514744

    « Technical Staff »

    DIAZ Candice Technical staff +33533514700
    JEANNIERE Caroline Technical staff +33533514700