Dr Fabrice Gielen

Dr Fabrice Gielen

Research Fellow (CEMPS), Living Systems Institute

‘Joining it in the early stages of its creation will allow me to initiate long-term collaborations which will hopefully lead to many discoveries.’


Undertaking my PhD at Imperial College London, I worked in the development of microfluidic tools for single cell trapping and integration with high-resolution fluorescence imaging. The goal was to study the dynamics of phospholipid diffusion across the cellular membrane. I then moved to the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge to take up the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate.

Highlights of my career to date:

I have contributed to the building of ultra-high-throughput microdroplet screening tools for the directed evolution of enzymes and the discovery of novel catalysts from the metagenome. I have also worked on the automation of biochemical screens at the nanoliter scale using droplet-on-demand techniques. These will ultimately replace liquid handling tools – such as pipettes - as we know them.

What excites me most about joining the LSI? 

I think the LSI represents the right way to address modern scientific challenges: bridging gaps between disciplines and come up with innovative strategies and tools to tackle complicated biological questions.

The research work I will be doing in the LSI:

I will develop novel approaches centred around ultra-high throughput single cell functional assays in microdroplets – for example screening virulence factors emerging from rare cells - with a view to selecting phenotypically superior mutants within a population and draw structure-activity relationships. These relationships will ultimately be used to inform possible ways to tackle a number of diseases.  

Something about me that you can’t google! 

Away from the lab, I enjoy the multilingual family life, as well as running and table tennis.