sWIMMINg. Water In Motion along Lipid Membranes: a molecular-scale study with nonlinear optical spectroscopies of the effects of the shear stress on bio-INteractions

Project: Research

Project Details


The challenge of this project is to study a lipid membrane model upon a
liquid flow, reproducing a shear stress to which real cell membranes
undergo in their physiological environment. Specifically, it wants to
understand the effects of water flow on the membrane structure and on its
bio-interactions. To achieve this scope, lipids bilayers at the solid/liquid
interface will be studied in dynamic conditions using second order nonlinear
optical (NLO) spectroscopies. They are indeed able to probe interfacial
regions, like nano-sized lipid bilayers buried between two macroscopic bulk
environments, with a unique molecular sensitivity and avoiding bulk
contributions. Today, they have become unavoidable to investigate liquid
interfaces, thanks to their outstanding sensitivity to interfacial regions.
This project aims at:
• Developing a new experimental approach based on second order NLO
spectroscopies to unravel new fundamental understanding of membrane
processes upon flow;
• Probing the structure of membrane models and their surrounding hydration
layer, when water flows along the membrane surface;
• Unraveling the effects of shear stress on specific bio-interactions.
These objectives will be achieved combining vibrational and electronic
second order NLO spectroscopies that provide high complementary
• Sum Frequency Generation (SFG) will enable to investigate the structure
of the membrane models and of their hydration layer, in dynamic conditions,
through the direct vibrational fingerprint of interfacial molecules;
• Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) will allow a real-time probe of the
lipid membrane models and of their bio-interactions upon the water flowing,
through the electronic counterparts of interfacial responses.
As a proof of concept of the action of the liquid flow in triggering biointeractions,
this project will focus on the interface composed by a
membrane model in contact with nanoparticles.
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/18

Attachment to an Research Institute in UNAMUR

  • NISM

Research Output

  • Interfacial charges drive the organization of supported lipid membranes and their interaction with nanoparticles

    Toledo-Fuentes, X., Molinaro, C. & Cecchet, F., 1 Dec 2018, In : Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 172, p. 254-261 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    • 1 Oral presentation

    Shedding light on nanoparticles/cell membranes interactions with nonlinear optical spectroscopy

    Francesca Cecchet (Speaker)

    22 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation