By Jean-Christophe Baret.
Campus Triolet, bâtiment 36, amphi 3 – Place Eugène Bataillon, 34090 Montpellier.

Les Séminaires NUMEV sont ouverts à un large public de chercheurs et chercheuses de toutes disciplines, qui souhaitent en savoir plus sur les domaines de recherche actuels de la communauté NUMEV-MIPS (Mathématiques, Informatique, Physique et Systèmes) ou sur les possibilités de développer ses compétences et savoir-faires.

Physical Assembly of Life-Like Systems

Jean-Christophe Baret, Soft Micro Systems – CRPP, CNRS & Bordeaux University


Searching for the transition between inanimate matter and living matter, it seems reasonable to consider that soft matter and elementary self-assembled and self-organized systems played a role in the emergence of life. But as stated by Oparin, ‘Natural selection has completely wiped off the face of Earth all the intermediate forms of organization of primary colloidal systems and of the simplest living things‘.

The ambition of our research group is to construct artificial systems, integrate them and assemble them towards living systems. Our approach is based on the identification of essential features and properties of living systems and their re-engineering in minimal systems. Among the key functions of life, we focus on metabolism with a minimal approach in which we integrate functions in compartments. Those take the form of vesicles, droplets, and membraneless organelles (1-3) and function under out-of-equilibrium conditions.


  1. Out-of-equilibrium microcompartments for the bottom-up integration of metabolic functions, T. Beneyton, D. Krafft, C. Bednarz, C. Kleineberg, C. Woelfer, I. Ivanov, T. Vidakovic-Koch, K. Sundmacher and J.-C. Baret, Nature Communications, 9:2391 (2018)
  2. Sequential bottom-up assembly of mechanically stabilized synthetic cells by microfluidics, M. Weiss, J. P. Frohnmayer, L. T. Benk, B. Haller, J.-W. Janiesch, T. Heitkamp, M. Boersch, R. B. Lira, R. Dimova, R. Lipowsky, E. Bodenschatz, J.-C. Baret, T. Vidakovic-Koch, K. Sundmacher, I. Platzman & J. P. Spatz, Nature Materials, 17, 89-96 (2018)
  3. Light-powered CO2 fixation in a chloroplast mimic with natural and synthetic parts, T. E. Miller, T. Beneyton, T. Schwander, C. Diehl, M. Girault, R. McLean, T. Chotel, P. Claus, N. Socorro Cortina, J.-C. Baret, T.J. Erb, Science 368, 6491, pp. 649-654 (2020)