Soft matter structuration: key role of adhesive interactions between food bacteria and vector components


A new field of research is proposed here to favor emerging solution for better biodisponibility and nutritional value of sustainable resources, with the necessity to bring multidisciplinary competences together, such as biophysics, microbiology, and food engineering. Food innovation is strongly linked to the control of soft matter structuration but the biotic component in the development of food systems is often totally occulted. Up to now, molecular microbiology and food engineering approaches were independently studied. Recent advances at the LIBio demonstrated the key role of adhesive interactions between food matrix and bacteria. These original results have to be pushed forward to develop new ways of active food development.

The objective of the thesis is to assess the extent of adhesive interactions between bacteria and milk matrices and their consequences on soft matter structuration. Groundbreaking approaches will be implemented: high-throughput microbiological screening, bacterial genomics, biophysical approaches, dynamic characterization of matter structuration. Reverse engineering methodology based on mathematical modeling will be performed to model and to predict the matter structuration depending on interactions between food bacteria and milk components.


Research Laboratory

The main objectives of LIBio researchers are to understand and control the structuring mechanisms of soft matter, to master mass transfer phenomena and stability of complex systems by considering biotic and abiotic interactions. LIBio combines biochemistry, physical chemistry and microbiology competences in order to design vectors and matrices with targeted functions. These works aim to the enhancement of agro resources for food and non-food purposes. The project developed at the LIBio focuses on 3 scientific inquiries:

  • QS1 / What are the relationships between nature, structure, and functionalization of soft matter and properties of developed vectors and matrices?
  • QS2 / What are the effects of biotic and abiotic parameters on stability and reactivity of biomaterials and active compounds?
  • QS3 / What are the release and transport mechanisms of active compounds at different scales?


Candidate requirements

  • Scientific background: master 2 or engineer diploma in microbiology, physico-chemistry and/or biophysics
  • Food engineering or related field (pharmacy, cosmetics…)
  • Very good English knowledge (written and spoken), English native speaker welcome
  • Strong appetite for research
  • Appeal for interdisciplinary researches (microbiology, physico-chemistry…)
  • Sociable person
  • Agree to move oversea for experiments (short periods)



Director: Claire Gaiani –
Co-director: Frédéric Borges –
Université de Lorraine – LIBio – Laboratoire d’Ingénierie des Biomolécules
2 avenue de la Forêt de Haye – TSA 40602
F-54518 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy – FRANCE
Tél. : +33(0)3 83 59 60 73

Please send by email to each director CV and motivation letter before the end of June 2016.
Auditions will take place the first week of July.


How to apply

In order to prepare a PhD thesis within the Lorraine Université d’Excellence Program, the interested candidate should consult the PhD topics offered in each social and economic challenges.
These PhD thesis topics are proposed by faculty members or researchers accredited to supervise research.

Candidate application period: according to graduate school schedule (visit each topic)
Each candidate may submit an application on up to three separate research topics.

Application analysis period by each graduate school
The graduate school reviews the applicants for a doctoral contract in the relevant disciplines. They check the level of supervision for each supervisor and the situation of trained doctors. Each candidate will meet the laboratory director, supervisor and a representative from the graduate school. This interview is to identify the candidate’s motivations and suitability as a candidate for the PhD project proposed by the supervisor. A recommendation will be made to the graduate school. This will summarize the strengths and/or weaknesses of the application.

PhD grants will include monthly income for the PhD student (roughly 1700 € for research only, complement can be provided for teaching missions) and environment for research in the research unit.

Please be aware that in order to offer a variety of subjects, more positions are posted here than available funding. The LUE executive committee will make the final choice on the granted funding (up to 12 positions), based on the recommendations by the doctoral schools.