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  • Bio-Mechanics and Bio-Engineering (BMBI) – UMR CNRS 7338

    Stu­dies car­ried out by the UTC-BMBI labo­ra­to­ry (bio-mecha­nics and bioen­gi­nee­ring) address ques­tions of living mat­ter mecha­nics and health engi­nee­ring. They aim a gai­ning a bet­ter unders­tan­ding of how these mecha­nisms ope­rate in living sys­tems at sys­te­mic, orga­nic and tis­sue scales, for the final pur­pose of impro­ving human qua­li­ty of life. With its unique plu­ri­dis­ci­pli­na­ry approach in France, this research team allows for a sys­te­mic ana­ly­sis to its inves­ti­ga­tions with the leit­mo­tiv “unders­tand first, so as to be able to do later”.


    To gain a bet­ter unders­tan­ding of the ope­ra­tio­nal modes and mecha­nisms of living sys­tems at various scales :

    • sys­tem level (car­dio­vas­cu­lar, ske­le­ton, muscular)
    • organ level (heart, ves­sels, bones, muscles, …)
    • tis­sues, cells and mole­cules asso­cia­ted to these organs and sys­tems of interest.

    These know­ledge pro­vides a bet­ter unders­tan­ding of patho­lo­gies and deve­lop­ment of bio-arti­fi­cial organs, bio­ma­te­rials, diag­no­sis and eva­lua­tion tools for the­ra­peu­ti­cor func­tio­nal treat­ments of pathologies.

    These goals are com­bi­ned in order to improve human life qua­li­ty from birth to senescence.

    Research teams and themes

    The research acti­vi­ties are grou­ped around 3 the­ma­tic teams, inves­ti­ga­ting at various sys­tem scales, nano, micro and macro :

    • Biomaterials/Bioreactor Cells (C2B)
    • Bio­lo­gi­cal Fluid-Struc­ture Inter­ac­tions (IFSB)
    • Cha­rac­te­ri­za­tion and patient-spe­ci­fic Model­ling of the MUs­cu­los­ke­le­tal and oSTeoar­ti­cu­lar sys­tems (C2MUST).


    Academic partnerships

    Com­mis­sa­riat à l'énergie ato­mique et aux éner­gies alter­na­tives (CEA), Centre natio­nal d'études spa­tiales (CNES), Ins­ti­tut natio­nal de l'environnement indus­triel et des risques (INERIS), Ins­ti­tut natio­nal de la recherche agro­no­mique (INRA), Ins­ti­tut natio­nal de la san­té et de la recherche médi­cale (INSERM), Ins­ti­tut poly­tech­nique Uni­La­Salle Beau­vais, uni­ver­si­té de Picar­die Jules Verne, uni­ver­si­té Lille 1 (USTL), Sor­bonne Uni­ver­si­té, uni­ver­si­té Paris 13

    The university institute for health sector sengineering (IUIS)

    IUIS aims at encou­ra­ging and faci­li­ta­ting inter­dis­ci­pli­na­ry approaches (the engi­nee­ring medi­cine inter­face) thanks to a fede­ra­tive team struc­ture loca­ted in the hos­pi­tal ser­vices and UTC and UPMC (Uni­ver­si­ty Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris 6) research labo­ra­to­ries (Medi­cal school and the Engi­nee­ring Facul­ty). The the­ma­tic chair e‑BioMed (deve­lop­ment of connec­ted bio­me­di­cal tools for tele-medi­cine) in the fra­me­work of the IUIS of the Sor­bonne Uni­ver­si­ties Clus­ter, COMUE.

    International partnerships

    Europe (Ger­ma­ny, Aus­tria, Bel­gium, Spain, Hun­ga­ry, Ice­land, Ita­ly, Nether­lands, Uni­ted King­dom), Leba­non, Uni­ted States (Tufts, MIT, Nor­thEas­tern, Bos­ton), Bra­zil, Chi­li, Cana­da (Water­loo), Japan (IIS Tokyo)… 

    Hospital partnerships

    CH Com­piègne, Poly­cli­nique Saint Côme, CHU Amiens, Groupe hos­pi­ta­lier Pitié-Sal­pê­trière-Charles Foix, Centre hépa­to-biliaire (Vil­le­juif), Hen­ri Mon­dor, Mayo Cli­nic (États-Unis)…

    Industrial partnerships

    Echo­sens, Thor Per­so­nal Care, Kines­te­sia, Guer­bet, ANSYS, SEGULA Tech­no­lo­gies, Legrand…

    Private partnerships

    AFM, Ligue contre le can­cer, SATT Lutech… 

    Poles of excellence

    Cap Digi­tal, UP-TEX, Medicen

    Research projects

    European project

    ERC, FP7, PEOPLE ITN ( Ini­tial Trai­ning Net­works), ERA-NET ERA­Sys­bio, Euro­Na­no­Med III, EUROSTARS, EIT Health. 

    With the subsidies awarded via the Investments for the Future incentive, the labis also developing:

    • func­tio­nal re-edu­ca­tion, bio-mimic sys­tems, micro and nano-tech­no­lo­gies, bio-arti­fi­cial organs, for the needs of the Labex MS2T pro­gramme objectives,
    • bio-mecha­ni­cal models with the aim to assist for­ward sur­gi­cal plan­ning and func­tio­nal re-edu­ca­tion, sur­gi­cal implants, tis­sue engi­nee­ring for facial and bone recons­truc­tion for the Equi­pex Figures,
    • lipid assem­blies : for­mu­la­tion and nano-struc­tures in the pre-com­pe­ti­tive Euro­pean pro­gramme GENESYS, the assi­gned objec­tive being to esta­blish the base concepts and requi­sites for a future oil bea­ring plant bio-refi­ne­ry in the fra­me­work of the ITE PIVERT.

    ANR projects

    Inno­va­tion bio­mé­di­cale, Tec­San (Tech­no­lo­gies pour la san­té), DGA, JCJC. 

    Zoom on 2 projects

    A total­ly trans­pa­rent human being… this is what scien­tists and doc­tors have gra­dual­ly suc­cee­ded in doing. Star­ting with X‑ray ima­ging, the tech­nique for non-inva­sive explo­ra­tion of the human body has been exten­ded through echo­gra­phies, scan­ners, MRI (magne­tic reso­nance ima­ging). Sabine Ben­sa­moun, a phy­si­cist at the Bio-Mecha­ni­cal and Bio-Engi­nee­ring Labo­ra­to­ry (BMBI) at UTC, has always nou­ri­she­da pas­sion for the bio-mecha­nics of bone and muscle tissues.

    "I'm cur­rent­ly wor­king on data obtai­ned by cou­pling acous­tic vibra­tors to a MRI machine", she explains. " MR images pro­vide an ana­to­mic vision inside the organs. So-cal­led Magne­tic Reso­nance Elas­to­gra­phy (MRE) also pro­vides indi­ca­tions as to the organ's mechanicalproperties."

    "When we pro­ceed with an MRE, the MRI machi­ne­re­cords the speed at which vibra­tions tra­vel through the tis­sue. The fas­ter the pro­pa­ga­tion, the har­der the tis­sue. MRE the­re­fore can be used to iden­ti­fy mecha­ni­cal pro­per­ties of organs in a non-inva­sive way." Sabine Ben­sa­moun wor­ked for 2 years in the famous Mayo Cli­nic where she was attrac­ted to this tech­nique that avoids exci­sing biop­sies, nota­bly in the case of sus­pec­ted liver cancers.

    When she retur­ned to France, she star­ted her inves­ti­ga­tions at the Com­piègne Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal, with alco­hol-dependent patients. If you can learn the degree of fibro­sis that affects the liver, this helps the doc­tor incharge to adjust the treat­ments accor­din­gly. "In fact, we were one of the first teams ever to publish on MRE and kid­neys".

    The UTC BMBI team are also inter­es­ted in muscle."If you can deter­mine the hard­ness of a muscle when it contracts, then you can see if the muscle is func­tio­ning cor­rect­ly or not". This work star­ted with the help of the French Asso­cia­tion Figh­ting Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy (where the mus­cle­wastes away). "We are buil­ding up a data base rela­ting to mus­cu­lar beha­viour of heal­thy chil­dren com­pa­red with ill chil­dren who have the disor­der. When we reach the point in time when a treat­ment will be pos­sible, this data base will enable us to cha­rac­te­rise the degree of ill­ness for each patient and adapt the the­ra­peu­tic pro­to­col accor­din­gly. We shall also be stu­dying CMI (Cere­bral Motor Infir­mi­ty) where the patients also have the symp­tom of mus­cu­lar retrac­tion".

    Beyond the case of ill chil­dren, the stu­dy will natu­ral­ly be exten­ded to adults, then to senior citi­zens and to then the very elder­ly and in each cate­go­ry, the aim will be to build a cor­res­pon­ding data base; In the long term, this will become a stan­dard method to see if ageing per­sons risk fal­ling because of aweak mus­cu­lar disor­der not detec­ted in the clas­sic cli­ni­cal examination.

    There is not a week goes back without someone somew­here wor­rying about the pos­sible toxi­ci­ty of a given mole­cule. The Euro­pean Union in 2006 appro­ved and enfor­ced a direc­tive cal­led REACH, the pur­pose of which is to control the arri­val on the mar­ket place of any new (che­mi­cal) sub­stance by asses­sing the risks of the che­mi­cals pro­du­ced or impor­ted by the che­mi­cal sec­tor and to reas­sure the popu­la­tions at the same time. The REACH direc­tive cor­res­ponds well to the notion of pre­dic­tive toxicology.

    So, how do we go about asses­sing the sub­stances ? "We can test them on ani­mals; but this is cost­ly and raises ethi­cal ques­tions", explains Eric Leclerc who is a research scien­tist with the Bio­me­cha­ni­cal and Bio Engi­nee­ring Labo­ra­to­ry (BMBI). We can also use Petri disk tests in vitro or use mathe­ma­ti­cal models to pre­dict the arri­val or the eli­mi­na­tion of the mole­cule under test in a body, the pre­dic­tion being based on a mathe­ma­ti­cal model.

    To go beyond the limits inherent to the methods out­li­ned above, Eric's team had the idea of using bio­reac­tors in the shape of small prin­ted cir­cuits embed­ded in a poly­mer block. Various cells (liver, kidney,etc. are pla­ced at the heart of the cir­cuits. "The objec­tive is to repro­duce the phy­sio­lo­gy of tis­sues and their inter­ac­tions." The cir­cuit desi­gn will change as a func­tion of the links we wish to inves­ti­gate. When the bio­reac­tor is rea­dy, the mole­cule under stu­dy is per­fu­sed and its trans­for­ma­tion is stu­died after pas­sing through micro-organs such as a micro-liver, a micro-kidney.

    Such bio­reac­tors that also are known by the expres­sion "labs on chips" have the advan­tage of being close to rea­li­ty. "Contra­ry to what hap­pens in Petri disks, the cells pla­ced in the bio­reac­tors are under constraint : they 'grow' in all direc­tions", under­lines Eric LECLERC. "In the pro­cess, we can create mul­ti-organ inter­ac­tions".

    The bio­reac­tors allow you to 'feed' advan­ced mathe­ma­ti­cal models that limit the tests on ani­mals, none­the­less "neces­sa­ry for final vali­da­tion". "We can alsoact on the age of the cells pla­ced in the bio­reac­tor; for example, we can pla­ce­foe­tal cells, or those of young­sters, adults or elder­ly per­sons. We work with INERIS (acro­nym in French for the Natio­nal Ins­ti­tute for ana­ly­sis of the indus­trial Envi­ron­ment and asso­ciate risks) to esta­blish mathe­ma­ti­cal models to stu­dy pes­ti­cides or endo­cri­nal agents, or indus­trial pol­lu­tants contai­ned in smoke orin sol­vents".

    Contact et documentation

    Contacts de la recherche à l'UTC

    Direc­trice du labo­ra­toire BMBI
    Cécile Legal­lais
     +33 (0)3 44 23 46 70
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