Olivier Thouvenin

PhD Student “Frontieres du Vivant”

Team Waves Physics for Medecine And Biology>Optical Imaging

Graduated from ENS Lyon

Master 2 Biological Systems and Physics concepts, Paris 11 Orsay

Phone Number : (+33)1 80 96 33 42

Adress : Institut Langevin Ondes et Images, ESPCI, 1 rue Langevin,
75005 Paris, France.

Email Adress : olivier.thouvenin (arobase) espci.fr

Office : R31

PhD Project

Title :
Detection and control of a fast electromechanical coupling in different neural systems.

Advisor :
Mathias FINK

Coadvisor :

Description :
My PhD project aims at exploring the relationship that might exist between the mechanical behavior of different neural systems and their electrical activity. Indeed, a few previous studies have already demonstrated that membrane potential changes could modify the mechanical behavior (through volume, shape, organization changes) of neurons, and subsequently of their surrounding neural tissue. A few others made us think that a mechanical deformation applied around one neuron could electrically activate it.

To characterize these two aspects of neuronal behavior, we will use two original setup of Ultrafast Full-field Optical Coherence Tomography (FF-OCT), unprecedented in terms of both spatial and temporal resolution that I have previously developed. This technology provides a subnanometric axial sensibility on a large field of view, at several hundreds of frames per second. One of our setup can also perform Structured Illumination Microscopy, which will enable us to perform calcium Imaging. So will we be able to measure synchronously action potentials non-invasively. Perfusion systems from Elveflow enable us to work with active living cultures and tissues.

During my thesis, I will try to detect similar electromechanical effects in single mammalian neurons for the first time, but also in tissues and In Vivo, thanks to FF-OCT abilities. Finally, we also plan to investigate how neurons can be mechanically stimulate.

Scientific Interests

- Optical Imaging/Microscopy

- Neurosciences

- Biophysics

- Bioinspired materials


  • NF Reuel, A Dupont, O Thouvenin, DC Lamb, MS Strano Three-Dimensional Tracking of Carbon Nanotubes within Living Cells, ACS nano, 2012, vol. 6, no 6, p. 5420-5428.


  • O. Thouvenin, C.Boccara, M.Fink Non invasive label-free detection of action potentials, SPIE Photonics West 2014
  • O. Thouvenin, M.Fink, C.Boccara Non invasive detection of action potentials from intrinsic electromechanical coupling in neurons, NEurosciences Workshop Saclay 2014

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