Yves Dufrêne


Postal Address :
Croix du Sud, 4-5
Bte L7.07.07
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve

E-mail : Yves Dufrêne

Tel. +32 10 47 36 00
Secretariat +32 10 47 35 88

Location :
Carnoy Bldg (SC12)
Floor 04, room C455
Campus Louvain-la-Neuve



For students and newcomers see this brochure in EN or FR


Microbiology at the nanoscale

Our goal is to push the limits of force nanoscopy beyond state-of-the-art to establish this nanotechnology as an innovative platform in biofilm research. By developing new tools, we wish to understand how pathogens use their surface molecules to guide cell adhesion and trigger infections, and to develop anti-adhesion strategies for treating biofilm-infections.

"Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― A. Einstein


September 23, 2021

New methods review: AFM force spectroscopy of single cells

Physical forces and mechanical properties have critical roles in cellular function, physiology and disease. Over the past decade, atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques have enabled substantial advances in our understanding of the tight relationship between force, mechanics and function in living cells and contributed to the growth of mechanobiology. In the new journal Nat Rev Methods, the nBio group publishes together with two other teams a comprehensive overview of the use of AFM-based force spectroscopy (AFM-FS) to study the strength and dynamics of cell adhesion from the cellular to the single-molecule level, spatially map cell surface receptors and quantify how cells dynamically regulate their mechanical and adhesive properties. We first introduce the importance of force and mechanics in cell biology and the general principles of AFM-FS methods. We describe procedures for sample and AFM probe preparations, the various AFM-FS modalities currently available and their respective advantages and limitations. We also provide details and recommendations for best usage practices, and discuss data analysis, statistics and reproducibility. We then exemplify the potential of AFM-FS in cellular and molecular biology with a series of recent successful applications focusing on viruses, bacteria, yeasts and mammalian cells. Finally, we speculate on the grand challenges in the area for the next decade.