Compartmentalization is a key concept in many technological systems and is a prerequisite for the emergence of life as we know it. A living cell is the result of millions of years of evolutionary processes. The path followed to evolve is driven by series of selection pressures leading to a wide range of functions that have emerged in single self-organized microcompartments. Focusing on one single function, it is likely not fully optimised as the natural selection pressure can be both ill-defined and fluctuating in time : the cell is finally optimised as an intrinsincally complex system and individual functions can therefore be further optimised.

Using microfluidic systems, we manipulate and analyse emulsions as elementary dispersed compartments for the analysis of single cells focussing on specific enzymatic activities. The ultra-high throughput of microfluidic systems provides the basis to analyse large libraries of cells to select the most efficient ones based on a well defined selection pressure. Specific improved variants are then obtained. We use this microfluidic technology for a wide range of biological analysis at the single cell level for screening application.

The microcompartmentalization technology can be extended to fully in vitro approaches for the assay of genes and enzymes (ie circumventing the complexity of cells and focusing on one single function). This reductionist approach points towards minimal cells, a question bridging prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life to modern questions in Synthetic Biology. We aim at addressing (parts of) these questions through active soft matter and biomimetic systems based on functional microcompartments. The key concept is the use of processes out of equilibrium involving interfaces, for example chemical modifications of surfactant, enzymatic catalysis and the control of transport between the inside and outside of the compartment.

Keywords :Microfluidics, Active Soft Interfaces, Biotechnology, High-throughput Screening, Single cells, Synthetic Biology.

Research Projects


Jan 2018 - Proof Of Concept

Interested in fluorosurfactants ? Visit the webpage of FluoSurf:


Our ERC Proof of Concept Project is starting !
Contact us if you are interested in surfactant batches for droplet-based microfluidics

IUF 2016

JCB is appointed as a Junior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France

Lab Chip

JCB is joining the Advisory Board of Lab chip

Protocells 2016

We organize the Protocells Workshop in Bordeaux !
Registration and Information available at:


BioSynSys2016 will take place in Bordeaux !
Registration and Information available at:

March 2016

New International Master Program
Physical Chemistry & Chemical Physics
Opening September 2016
More information at:

January 2016

Open Droplets:
Our paper on exchange and transport in emulsions is published in Nature Communications !

Best wishes for 2016 !

December 2015

Birte has successfuly defended her PhD ! Congratulations !

September 2015

Our paper 'The microfluidics puzzle: chip oriented rapid prototyping' Lab Chip 2014, 14, 1669-1672 enters the special issue Lab on a chip 2014 Most accessed articles !

This work is supported by he European Research Council (ERC)
under the European Unions Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC 306385 SofI.

Congrats to Jiseok, Florine and our long-term collaborator Valérie Taly !

June 2015

Exchange program with Yeungnam University (South Korea). Two students from visited our lab to know more about microfluidics.

Yeungnam Student visiting SMS

June 2015

JCB joins the Editorial Board of 'Scientific Reports' in the Fluid and Plasma Physics Category.

Scientific Reports is an online, open access journal from the publishers of Nature.
More informations are available at:

February 2015

JCB is appointed as Editor for
Microfluidics and Nanofluidics (Springer)

Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

Microfluidics and Nanofluidics is an international peer reviewed journal exploring all aspects of microfluidics, nanofluidics, and lab-on-a-chip science and technology. The journal seeks to improve the fundamental understanding of microfluidic and nanofluidic processes, examining the current state of research and development and the latest applications. This journal broadly interprets microfluidics and nanofluidics as the study of mass (including molecular and colloidal) and momentum transfer, heat transfer, and reactive processes, coupled with transport in microscale and nanoscale systems.

February 2015

Jiseok Lim is appointed as Assistant Professor at Yeung-nam University in Korea.
He will work in the Mechanical Engineering Department starting March 1st.
Congratulations !

Jiseok Style

February 2015

Dossier Spécial de Sciences et Vie No 1169 (in french) sur la microfluidique et les gouttes.
On y parle de nos activités !

January 2015

Quentin's and Jeremy's paper is in the 20 most accessed papers in Soft Matter in 2014 !
The open-access paper can be found here.

January 2015

Say Hwa Tan is interviewed on the National Singapore TV Channel 8. Have a look ! (In Chineese)

January 2015

Thomas Beneyton joins the lab at the Mercato ! Welcome to Bordeaux !

January 2015

Wishes 2015

January 2015

Wishes 2015

December 2014

There is an article about Laura's paper in Le Monde!

Laura Cell Fiber

Great !!!

October 2014

Our lab contributed to the 'Fete de la Science'.


October 2014

Nobel Price

October 2014

Congratulations to Philipp !
Philipp has defended his phd thesis on October 6 (2014) and was awarded a Summa Cum Laude ! Congratulations for this achievement !

Philipp's Hat

September 2014

Congratulations to Patrick !
Patrick has defended his phd thesis on September 19 (2014) and was awarded a Magna Cum Laude ! Congratulations for this achievement !

Patrick's Hat

June/July 2014

It's baby time in the lab !
Welcome to the newly born daughters of Florine, Jeremy and Jiseok !
And congratulations to the tired-but-happy parents !

baby Cigognes

July 2014

Ingmar Polenz has received the Best Presentation Award at the Dyna Caps 2014 Conference for his talk on the Dynamics of interfacial polymerisation in Microfluidics! Congratulations !

Ingmar DynaCap

May 2014

Say Hwa Tan has been awarded the merit award of the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventor's competition in Singapore for his work on electric control of droplet production and its subsequent application as the microfluidic jukebox !
The work awarded is presented in two articles (Tan et al. Lab Chip 2014 and Tan, Maes et al. Scientific Reports 2014) with additional contributions from Benoit Semin, Florine Maes and Jeremy Vrignon from the DMI group !
Congratulations for this achievement and for representing the group in Singapore !

Quentin PhD Hqt

May 2014

Droplets, Membranes and Interfaces is moving to Bordeaux.
JCBLab becomes Soft Micro Systems
at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal
(CNRS, Univ. Bordeaux, CRPP, UPR 8641, 33600 Pessac, France).

April 2014

Congratulations to Quentin !
Quentin has defended his phd thesis on April 14 (2014) and was awarded a Magna Cum Laude !
Congratulations for this achievement !

Quentin PhD Hqt

March 03, 2014

The Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal is in the French News
(TF1 - 20h) !
See our colleagues from Pessac in a report on biomimetism
(in french) !


March 01, 2014

Our paper :

Microfluidic flow focusing in ac electric field
by S.H. Tan, B. Semin and JC Baret
Lab Chip, 2014, 14, 1099-1106

is featured at the back cover of Lab Chip.


January 13, 2014

Our paper 'Enhanced Chemical Synthesis at Soft Interfaces: A universal Reaction-Adsorption mechanism in microcompartment' (PRL, 112, 028301; 2014) is featured as a Viewpoint in Physics.

See the viewpoint by Olga Kuksenok at:

See also News Highlight in Chemistry World:
Life may have begun in a tiny water droplet

See also the Highlight in Nature:

This work was supported by the ERC grant Soft Interfaces.

January 2014

Jean-Christophe Baret is since January 1st 2014 Full Professor at the University of Bordeaux (France), affiliated to the CRPP-CNRS. Information can be found at:

June 2013

Birte Riechers is elected as IMPRS - PBCS Student Representative for the next year. Congratulations !

October 2012

Cover Page of the Soft Matter themed issue - Soft Matter Principles of Microfluidics

September 2012

Highlight der Physik 2012 : The Nanoliter laboratory

The Nanoliter laboratory

ERC Starting grant
ERC Starting grant for our project 'Soft Interfaces'. In the next 5 years we will develop new tools based on the control of interfaces in droplet based microfluidics for soft matter studies and biotechnology applications.

Logo ECR

July 2012

Say Hwa Tan has received the prestigious Tan Kah Kee award for his scientific achievements and work in the social community. He received the award from the hands of the President of Singapore. Congratulations !

Tan Kah Kee award

May 2012

Birte Riechers has been awarded a stipend of the Max Planck Society within the IMPRS for Physics of Biological and Complex Systems

February 2012

Inside Cover Page of Lab on a Chip - 12

January 2012

November 2011

Day of the open-doors on campus
See us in the Goettinger Tageblat !

July 2011

Start of project in the SFB 755

July 2011

Inside Cover Page of Lab on a Chip - 11 - 13

May 2011

See our work on the french TV LCI

May 2011

Droplets for cancer diagnostics:
See the press release from CNRS [French]
See the press release from MPI-ds [German]
See the project summary [English]

MPIDS-News No 01/10;"Neue Max-Planck-Forschergruppe: Winzige Welten aus Wasser und Oel [In German]

Latest Group Publications

PhD Thesis in the Group

Molecular Transport in Emulsions: From Permeation to Controlled Delivery using Microfluidics
P. Gruner
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2014
The financial support of the SFB755 Nanoscale photonic is warmly acknowledged
Electrical Control of Droplet formation in Microfluidic Devices
S. H. Tan
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2014
Dynamics of soft interfaces in droplet-based microfluidics
Q. Brosseau
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2014
The financial support of the ERC (FP7/2007-2013 /ERC Grant agreement 306385--SofI) is warmly acknowledged

Members Side Publications

Droplet-based microfluidic high-throughput screening of heterologous enzymes secreted by the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica
T. Beneyton, S. Thomas, A. D. Griffiths, J.-M. Nicaud, A. Drevelle and T. Rossignol
Microbial Cell Factories, 16:18
High-throughput screening of filamentous fungi using nanoliter-range droplet-based microfluidics
T. Beneyton, I. Putu Mahendra Wijaya, P. Postros, M. Najah, P. Leblond, A. Couvent, E. Mayot, A. D. Griffiths & A. Drevelle
Scientific Reports, 6, 27223
Particle recognition in microfluidic applications using a template matching algorithm
M. Girault, M. Odaka, H. Kim, K. Matsuura, H. Terazono, K.Yasuda
JPN. J. Appl. Phys., 55
Open Access
Fluorosurfactants for applications in catalysis
Q. Jochyms, E. Mignard, J.-M. Vincent
J. Fluor. Chem., 177, 11-18.
Page /research.php generated in 0.009s
Armelle Ecrivain Public