Home  >  News  >  Habilitation defense of André Estevez-Torres
Habilitation defense of André Estevez-Torres
SEP 2018

André Estevez-Torres has the pleasure to invite you to the defense of his Habilitation for research supervision entitled

Self-organization and self-assembly in chemical systems made of nucleic acids

and to the 'pot' that will follow. All the details below.

Date: Tuesday, september 4th at 14:00
Location: Salle de réunion de l'INSP, tower 23, 3rd floor, corridor 23-22, room 317. Campus Jussieu, Sorbonne Université.


The question that motivates my research is to what extent molecular systems can create spatial order at the macroscopic scale. In this context, two types of mechanisms should be considered: self-organization, that dissipates energy, and self-assembly, that does not. Self-assembly is mainly controlled by thermodynamics while self-organization is ruled by kinetics. Because both the thermodynamics and the kinetics of chemical reactions are difficult to predict, I have naturally investigated these processes using a unique class of molecules for which both can be predicted from the structure: nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).

Concerning self-organization, our efforts have focused on the experimental design of reaction-diffusion patterns. To do so we have used a set of highly reconfigurable synthetic chemical reaction networks based on DNA that can be kept out of equilibrium for days. I will first describe the advantages of this set of reactions to synthesize different spatio-temporal patterns, such as travelling waves and stationary fronts. I will then show how these patterns can be exploited for devising synthetic materials inspired from embryonic development. I will end this part by suggesting open questions in physics and chemistry that could be addressed in a near future using this programmable biochemical system.

In addition, we have developed methods to characterize important self-assembly processes. On the one hand, we used AFM to investigate the folding pathway of DNA origami. On the other hand, we employed cell-free transcription-translation systems to characterize the thermodynamics of synthetic riboregulators.

-Prof. Roy BAR-ZIV, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rapporteur
-Dr. Nadine PEYRIERAS, CNRS, Rapporteure
-Dr. Benoît LIMOGES, CNRS and Université Paris Diderot, Rapporteur
-Dr. Cecile SYKES, Institut Curie, CNRS and Sorbonne Université, Examinatrice
-Prof. Thomas SURREY, The Francis Crick Institute, Examinateur
-Prof. Anne DE WIT, Université libre de Bruxelles, Examinatrice