Jonathan Fouchard


I am an experimental physicist working at the interface with biology. My main interest lies in understanding how the active and dynamic mechanical properties of biological matter are used by cells and tissues in order to perform functions (for example sensing their environment or making morphogenesis). To this end, I like to build mechanical systems allowing force measurements at the cell and tissue scales coupled to dynamic imaging of biological structures.

I am currently working at identifying the physical and biological parameters controlling fracture of epithelial monolayers. During development and along adult life these tissues are subjected to a large variety of mechanical stresses. To date, much research has focused on how epithelia build and repair themselves. Yet, almost nothing is known about how they crack under mechanical tension. To tackle this question, I use suspended epithelial monolayers, a system developed in the lab, coupling mechanical testing and monitoring of fracture at the cell and tissue scale. This work is done in collaboration with Alexandre Kabla.

Recent publications :

Khalilgharibi, N., Fouchard, J., Recho, P., Charras, G., & Kabla, A. (2016). The dynamic mechanical properties of cellularised aggregates. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 42, 113-120.

Mary, H.*, Fouchard, J.*, Gay, G., Reyes, C., Gauthier, T., Gruget, C., Pécréaux, J., Tournier, S., & Gachet, Y. (2015). Fission yeast kinesin-8 controls chromosome congression independently of oscillations. J Cell Sci, 128(20), 3720-3730.

Étienne, J., Fouchard, J., Mitrossilis, D., Bufi, N., Durand-Smet, P., & Asnacios, A. (2015). Cells as liquid motors: Mechanosensitivity emerges from collective dynamics of actomyosin cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(9), 2740-2745.

Fouchard, J., Bimbard, C., Bufi, N., Durand-Smet, P., Proag, A., Richert, A., Cardoso, O., & Asnacios, A. (2014). Three-dimensional cell body shape dictates the onset of traction force generation and growth of focal adhesions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(36), 13075-13080.