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MARTIN Nicolas

Junior Chair leader, IdEx Bordeaux
CNRS researcher
115 Avenue du Dr. Albert Schweitzer
33600 Pessac (France)
Office : B222
Tel : (+33)-55-684-3020
Mail : nicolas.martin[at]crpp.cnrs.fr
Links : ORCID, ResearchGate, GoogleScholar

Research activities

The spatiotemporal organization of matter and energy fluxes across a broad range of length- and time-scales is one of the most prominent features of life. To try and capture the physicochemical principles that rule this complex organization, we work at the interface of soft matter science, materials chemistry and synthetic biology to assemble artificial cells that reproduce keys features of living cells.

PNG - 33.7 ko

We are particularly interested in reproducing aspects of the dynamic compartmentalization found in biological systems, where compartments are capable of reversible assembly, re-configurations, fusion, division and shape-transformations in response to environmental cues. We work with membrane-less compartments (coacervates and aqueous two-phase systems) produced by all-aqueous liquid-liquid phase separation, as well as membrane-bound compartments, assembled from lipids, particles or proteins. By using rationally chosen chemical and biological building blocks, we fabricate stimuli-responsive compartments capable of triggered or programmable behaviour, environmental sensing and autonomous adaptation.

We further harness the diversity, versatility and modularity of the compartments to produce populations of artificial cells capable of collective behaviour. We focus on the development of novel multi-compartmentalization strategies with the aim of generating chemical coupling, coordination and competition between compartments.

Overall, through the bottom-up assembly of interacting populations of dynamic artificial cells, our studies aim at fabricating smart colloidal microsystems that advance our understanding of the physicochemical basis of life, and pave the way to the development of future life-inspired technologies.

Our group is part of the Structure and Dynamics of Soft Matter team within the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (CRPP). Our multidisciplinary approach involves collaborations with chemists, physicists and biologists, and we work closely with the Soft Micro Systems group of Prof. Jean-Christophe Baret on microfluidics approaches to study artificial cells.

Career and education

  • Since 2018 : CNRS researcher and Junior IdEx Chair Leader
  • 2014 - 2018 : Post-doc, Centre for Protolife Research (group of Prof. Stephen Mann), University of Bristol (UK)
  • 2011 - 2014 : PhD, supervised by Dr. Christophe Tribet (Biophysical Chemistry team), Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris (France)
  • 2010 - 2011 : MSc in polymer physical-chemistry, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris (France)
  • 2007 - 2011 : Physics and Chemistry studies, ESPCI Paris (France)


  • 13. Dynamic synthetic cells based on liquid‐liquid phase separation, N Martin*, ChemBioChem, in press (2019)
  • 12. Antagonistic chemical coupling in self-reconfigurable host–guest protocells, N Martin, JP Douliez, Y Qiao, R Booth, M Li, S Mann*, Nat. Commun., 9, 3652 (2018)
  • 11. Preparation of swellable hydrogel‐containing colloidosomes from aqueous two‐phase Pickering emulsion droplets, JP Douliez*, N Martin, T Beneyton, JC Eloi, JP Chapel, L Navailles, JC Baret, S Mann, L Béven Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 57, 7780-7784 (2018)
  • 10. Catanionic coacervate droplets as a surfactant‐based membrane‐free protocell model, JP Douliez*, N Martin, C Gaillard, T Beneyton, JC Baret, S Mann, L Beven, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 57, 13689-13693 (2017)
  • 9. Refolding of aggregation‐prone scFv antibody fragments assisted by hydrophobically modified poly(sodium acrylate) derivatives, N Martin, N Costa, F Wien, FM Winnik, C Ortega, A Herbet, D Boquet, C Tribet*, Macromol. Biosci., 17, 1600213 (2017)
  • 8. Light-induced dynamic shaping and self-division of multipodal polyelectrolyte-surfactant microarchitectures via azobenzene photomechanics, N Martin, KP Sharma, RL Harniman, RM Richardson, RJ Hutchings, D Alibhai, M Li, S Mann*, Sci. Rep., 7, 41327 (2017)
  • 7. Spontaneous assembly of chemically encoded two-dimensional coacervate droplet arrays by acoustic wave patterning, L Tian, N Martin, PG Bassindale, AJ Patil, M Li, A Barnes, BW Drinkwater*, S Mann*, Nat. Commun., 7, 13068 (2016)
  • 6. Selective uptake and refolding of globular proteins in coacervate microdroplets, N Martin, M Li, S Mann*, Langmuir, 32, 5881-5889 (2016)
  • 5. Aggregation of antibody drug conjugates at room temperature : SAXS and light scattering evidence for colloidal instability of a specific subpopulation, B Frka-Petesic, D Zanchi, N Martin, S Carayon, S Huille, C Tribet*, Langmuir, 32, 4848-4861 (2016)
  • 4. Prevention of aggregation and renaturation of carbonic anhydrase via weak association with octadecyl-or azobenzene-modified poly(acrylate) derivatives, N Martin, J Ruchmann, C Tribet*, Langmuir, 31, 338-349 (2014)
  • 3. Quantitative characterization by asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation of IgG thermal aggregation with and without polymer protective agents, D Ma, N Martin, C Tribet, FM Winnik*, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 406, 7539-7547 (2014)
  • 2. Prevention of thermally induced aggregation of IgG antibodies by noncovalent interaction with poly (acrylate) derivatives, N Martin, D Ma, A Herbet, D Boquet, FM Winnik, C Tribet*, Biomacromolecules, 15, 2952-2962 (2014)
  • 1. The thermally induced aggregation of immunoglobulin G in solution is prevented by amphipols, D Ma, N Martin, A Herbet, D Boquet, C Tribet, FM Winnik*, Chem. Lett., 41, 1380-1382 (2012)