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26 July 2019

Biophysics student wins poster prize in Belgium

Emilie Gachon, a PhD student in the Department of Physics, has won one of the three Nanoscale Poster Prize at the International Scanning Probe Microscopy (IPSM) Conference at UCLouvain in Belgium.

Emilie Gachon with poster
Emilie Gachon

Emilie works in the Biophysics group at King’s College London where she uses different Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques (SPM) to study the nano-mechanics and surface potential of collagen fibrils.


She was inspired to work in this area as collagen is one of the most important proteins; responsible for providing strength and maintaining integrity of the tissues and organs in the human body. Yet there is still have a lot to learn about it. Cells in the body are in direct contact with collagen and recently it’s become obvious that they do not just respond to chemical cues but also to nanoscale physical cues from their environment such as stiffness or electrostatics.


SPM techniques like Atomic Force Microscopy and Kelvin-probe Force Microscopy are the only techniques that allow the study of the mechanics of collagen and its surface potential at the nanoscale. Emilie is interested by the interconnectedness of the different fields at play in this project. Understanding the physics of collagen can help in understanding different biological processes like cell adhesion, cell migration and wound healing.

I am very pleased that I won a poster prize award at the ISPM conference. I’m glad I was able to communicate how the different SPM techniques we use in the lab are ideal to help us understand the physical properties of collagen at this scale and how this understanding could have a wide range of applications for bioengineers and in the medical field.

Emilie Gachon

Emilie and Dr Mesquida, Department of Physics are currently submitting a paper describing their results and Emilie will be presenting the results at the Microscience Microscopy Congress 2019 in Manchester in July.

In this story

Patrick Mesquida

Senior Lecturer