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Dr Fabrice Gielen



Telephone: 01392 727457

Extension: (Streatham) 7457

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Research specialisms:

  • microfluidics
  • high-throughput screening
  • bacteriophage/AMR
  • directed evolution of enzymes
  • 3D cell cultures


2008-2011 Ph.D. in Chemistry, Imperial College London, UK.
2007-2008 MRes in protein membrane chemical biology, Imperial College London, UK    
2004-2006 MEng. in Micro and Nanotechnology for Integrated Systems, Phelma, Grenoble, FR


Fabrice holds an MEng degree in micro and nanotechnology for integrated systems and an MRes degree in protein and membrane chemical biology. His PhD at Imperial College London in the laboratory of Prof. Joshua Edel focussed on the study of cellular membrane dynamics by developing microfluidic cell trapping platforms using dielectrophoresis and high-resolution fluorescence spectroscopy.

He joined Prof. Florian Hollfelder’s lab as a post-doc in 2011 with a view to applying microfluidic tools to important biological questions such as the interrogation of protein-protein interactions, the evolution and discovery of enzymes (e.g. from the metagenome), or the discovery of novel small molecule drugs.

He is co-founder of Drop-Tech Ltd, a start-up that develops and help commercialize droplet-on-demand products (e.g. the Mitos Dropix, sold by Dolomite Microfluidics).

Research interests:

The trend towards ever faster, cheaper and more efficient ways of discovering drugs or catalysts has been concomitant with miniaturization of assay volumes. One direction of research is the encapsulation of reagents with volumes down to picoliters using water-in-oil microemulsions.

My research focuses on the development of high-throughput screening platforms for molecular and cellular assays with special emphasis on drug screening and directed evolution. We use droplet microfluidics to rapidly encapsulate thousands to millions of (single) cells before rapidly identifying improved phenotypes with bespoke high-throughput optical tools.



Interdisciplinary PhD position available starting October 2024: Novel high-throughput microfluidic technologies for the screening of bacteriophages eradicating bacterial biofilms

Antimicrobial resistance has evolved into a major healthcare threat which is further exacerbated by the diminished number of antibiotics in development. Bacterial biofilms pose a particular health threat as they display high resistance to antimicrobials and cause chronic infections in humans. This PhD project aims at identifying strategies to disrupt biofilm formation by understanding relationships between bacterial genotypes, biofilm phenotypes and related antibiotic resistance.

In this project, we will combine cutting-edge high-throughput screening technologies in microfluidic droplets with bacterial mutant libraries. Each droplet, whose volume typically ranges from femto to nanoliter scale represents a single reaction in which millions of individual biofilms can be formed and processed.

The team has complementary experience on the topic: Dr. Gielen’s lab develops high-throughput microfluidic imaging and selection platforms for screening single cell libraries. Dr. Remy Chait (University of Exeter, Biosciences) is expert in bacterial signal transduction and antimicrobial resistance. Please contact us for futher details.

Further reading:

1 Tiwari, A., Nikolic, N., Anagnostidis, V. & Gielen, F. Label-free analysis of bacterial growth and lysis at the single-cell level using droplet microfluidics and object detection-oriented deep learning. bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2023.06.27.546533 (2023).

2 Nikolic, N., Anagnostidis, V., Tiwari, A., Chait, R. & Gielen, F. Investigating bacteria-phage interaction dynamics using droplet-based technology. BioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2023.07.14.549014 (2023).