Cécile Sykes

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Cécile     Sykes
Speciality : Group Leader, Research Director 1st class
Phone : +33 (0)1 56 24 67 90
Fax : +33 (0)1 40 51 06 36
E-mail address : cecile.sykes@curie.fr


2002                   Habilitation, University of Paris XI.

1990                   Ph.D., CEN-Saclay, and University of Paris XI, 

    Title : Evidence of native vacancies in two II-VI semiconductors : CdTe et Cd0,2Hg0,8Te using positron annihilation.

1988                   Master degree in SOLID STATE PHYSICS (University of Paris XI).

1984-1987           Degree from ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE, general scientific studies.

1981-1984           Preparation course to “Grandes Ecoles”.




2013-present       Director of research, 1st class, CNRS

                           Biophysics : shape changes of liposomes on the model of a cell through the acto-myosin cytoskeleton.

2004-2012           Director of research, 2nd class, CNRS

1996-2004           Research scientist, 1st class, CNRS,

                            Biophysics : biomimicking systems of propulsion by actin polymerization.

1992-1996            Researcher, CNRS,

                            Wetting and dewetting phenomena, contact angle.

1990-1991           Post-doc, sponsored through a Rhône-Poulenc grant, University Pierre and Marie Curie, France, supervisor : F. Brochard,

                            Liquid physics: Study of wetting and dewetting phenomena.

1988-1990           Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, Saclay, France,

                            Solid state physics in semiconductor materials, positron annihilation and Hall effect experiments and modeling.

1987                    Laboratory of “Ecole des Mines”, Corbeil, France,

                             Mechanics of composite materials.





- Statistical Physics, Physics of the Cell and Cell Biology course, as an associate professor Ecole Polytechnique, since 2005

- Physics of the Cell, course, Master 2, from 2002 to 2006, 15 students.

- Physics, examiner, Ecole Polytechnique, from 2001 to 2004, 200 students.

- Statistical Thermodynamics, Tutoring at Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie de la Ville de Paris, Paris, (16 hours/year) from 1999 to 2008.

-"Physico-chemistry aspects in wetting spreading, adhesion, flotation” DESS, University of Technology,  Compiègne (30 hours/year 1994-2000).

-"Formulation"  at  ESCOM, Cergy (30 hours/year 1993-1996).

-Mathematics for metallurgy and radiobiology at INSTN (1988-1991).

-Solid State Physics, lecturer,  Master 2 (Paris XI) (1988-1991).


LANGUAGES :  French, English, German.


Music : violinist in chamber music groups.



Légion d'honneur award, 2015

Co-recipient, with Patricia Bassereau, Jean-François Joanny and Jacques Prost, of the prize Cino del Duca of the French academy of Science, in 2007.


EDITorial activities

- Member of the editorial board of New Journal of Physics, since 2010

- Member of the editorial board of Biophysical Journal, since 2011

- Reviewer : Nature, Science, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review E, Biophysical Journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Current Biology, Physical Biology…

- Reviewer of projects from NIH, HFSP, European grants, ANR, ERC…



61 V. Caorsi, J. Lemière, C. Campillo, M. Bussonnier, J. Manzi, T. Betz, J. Plastino, K. Carvalho & C. Sykes  "Cell-sized liposome doublets reveal active tension build-up driven by acto-myosin dynamics", revision submitted to eLife

60 A. Chaigne, C. Campillo, C. Sykes, M.H. Verlhac & M.E. Terret "F-actin mechanics operate the asymmetric to symmetric division switch at the oocyte to embryo transition" accepted, Nature communications 

59 K. Guevorkian, J. Manzi, F. Brochard, C. Sykes, "Mechanics of biomimetic liposomes encapsulating an actin shell", Biophysical Journal, 109: 2471-2479 (2015)

58 H. Turlier, D. A. Fedosov, T. Auth, N. S. Gov, C. Sykes, J.-F. Joanny, G. Gompper, T. Betz, "The active nature of red blood cell flickering", accepted, Nature Physics

57 U. Delabre, K. Feld, E. Crespo, G. Whyte, C. Sykes, U. Seifert and J. Guck, "Deformation of phospholipid vesicles in an optical stretcher", Soft Matter 11(30):6075-6088 (2015)

56 J. Lemière, K. Carvalho, C. Sykes, "Cell-sized liposomes that mimic cell motility and the cell cortex", Methods in Cell Biology 128, 271-285 (2015) 

55 H.-F. Renard#, M. Simunovic#, J. Lemière#, E. Boucrot, M.-D. Garcia-Castillo, S. Arumugam, V. Chambon, C. Lamaze, C. Wunder, A. K. Kenworthy, A.A. Schmidt, H.T. McMahon, C. Sykes*, P. Bassereau* & L. Johannes, "Endophilin-A2 functions in membrane scission in clathrin-independent endocytosis", Nature 517(7535):493-6 (2015)

54 A. Chaigne, C. Campillo, N.S. Gov, R. Voituriez, C. Sykes, M.-H. Verlhac, M.-E.Terret, "­Cortical tension: a gatekeeper for spindle positioning in mouse oocyte", Nature Communications, 6:6027 (2015) 

53 M. Bussonnier, K. Carvalho, J. Lemière, J.-F. Joanny, C. Sykes, T. Betz “Mechanical detection of a long range actin network emanating from a biomimetic cortex”, Biophysical Journal, Vol. 107 (4), 854–862 (2014)

52 M.P. Murrell, R. Voituriez, J.-F. Joanny, P. Nassoy, C. Sykes, M. Gardel, “Liposome Adhesion Generates Traction Stress”, Nature Physics 10, 163-169 (2014)

51 L. Blanchoin, R. Boujemaa-Paterski, C. Sykes, J. Plastino “Actin dynamics, architecture and mechanics in cell motility”, Physiological Reviews, 94: 235–263 (2014)

50 K. Carvalho, J. Lemière, F. Faqir, J. Manzi, L. Blanchoin, J. Plastino, T. Betz, C. Sykes "Actin polymerization or myosin contraction: two ways to build up cortical tension for symmetry breaking”, Philosophical Transaction Royal Society London B; 368 (1629); 20130005 (2013)

49 A. Chaigne, C. Campillo, M. Almonacid, J. Azoury, C. Umana, P. Nassoy, C. Sykes, M.-H. Verlhac and M.-E. Terret "A soft cortex is essential for asymmetric spindle positioning in mouse oocytes", Nature Cell Biology 15(8) 958-966 (2013)

48 K. Carvalho; F.-C. Tsai; G. Koenderink, C. Sykes "Cell-sized liposomes reveal how acto-myosin cortical tension drives shape change", PNAS, 110(41):16456-61. (2013) 

47 J. Lemière, K. Guevorkian, C. Campillo, C. Sykes, T. Betz, "Quantification of the a-hemolysin membrane pore density on liposome micro-reactors", Soft Matter, 9, 3181-3187 (2013)

46 C. Campillo, P. Sens, D. Koester, L.-L. Pontani, D. Lévy, P. Bassereau, P. Nassoy, C. Sykes, "Unexpected membrane dynamics unveiled by membrane nanotube extrusion", Biophysical Journal, 104, 1248-1256 (2013)

45 C. Campillo, C. Fisch, J. Jerber, B. Desforges, P. Dupuis-Williams, P. Nassoy and C. Sykes, "Mechanics of membrane-cytoskeleton attachment in Paramecium", New Journal of Physics 14, 125016 (2012).

44 A. Kawska, K. Carvalho, J. Manzi, R. Boujemaa-Paterski, L. Blanchoin, J.-L. Martiel, C. Sykes, "How actin network dynamics control the onset of actin-based motility"

PNAS;109(36):14440-5 (2012)

43 T. Betz, C. Sykes, "Time resolved membrane fluctuation spectroscopy",

Soft Matter, 8, 18, 5317-5326 (2012)

42 J. Fink, N. Carpi, T. Betz, A. Bétard, M. Chebah, A. Azioune, M. Bornens, C. Sykes, L. Fetler , D. Cuvelier, M. Piel, "External forces control mitotic spindle positioning", Nature Cell Biology, 1465-7392 (2011)

41 M. Murrell, L.-L. Pontani, K. Guevorkian, D. Cuvelier, P. Nassoy, C. Sykes "Spreading Dynamics of Biomimetic Actin Cortices"

Biophysical Journal, 100(6)1400-1409 (2011)

40 C. Sykes, J. Plastino, "Actin filaments up against a wall" (news and views)

Nature, 464, 365-366 (2010)

39 W. Römer, L.-L. Pontani, C. Rentero, L. Berland, V. Chambon, C. Lamaze, P. Bassereau, C. Sykes, K. Gaus, L. Johannes, "Actin dynamics drive membrane reorganization and scission in clathrin independent endocytosis "

Cell, 140, 540–553 (2010)

38 T. Betz, M. Lenz, J.-F. Joanny, C. Sykes, "ATP-dependent mechanics of red blood cell "

P.N.A.S., 106(36), 15312-15317 (2009)

37 L.-L. Pontani, J. van der Gucht, G. Salbreux, J. Heuvingh, J.-F. Joanny, C. Sykes, "Reconstitution of an actin cortex inside a liposome "

Biophysical Journal, 96, 192-198 (2009)

36 L. Trichet, C. Sykes, J. Plastino, "Relaxing the actin cytoskeleton for adhesion and movement with Ena/VASP "

Journal of Cell Biology, 181(1):19-25 (2008)

35 Y. Marcy, J. Prost, J.-F. Joanny, C. Sykes, "Probing friction in actin-based motility "

New Journal of Physics, 9(431), (2007)

34 J. Heuvingh, M. Franco, P. Chavrier, C. Sykes, "ARF1-mediated actin polymerization produces movement of artificial vesicles",

 P.N.A.S., 104(43), 16928-16933 (2007)

33 C. Revenu, M. Courtois, C. Sykes, D. Louvard, S. Robine, "Villin severing activity enhances actin-based motility in vivo "

Molecular Biology of the Cell, 18(3):827-38 (2007)

32 L. Trichet, O. Campas, C. Sykes, J. Plastino, "VASP governs actin dynamics by modulating filament anchoring ",

Biophysical Journal, 92(3):1081-9 (2007).

31 E. Paluch, J. van der Gucht, C. Sykes, "Cracking up : symmetry breaking in cellular systems "

Journal of Cell Biology (review), 175 (5), 687-692 (2006)

30 E. Paluch, J. Van der Gucht, J.-F. Joanny, C. Sykes, "Deformations in actin comets from rocketing beads "

 Biophysical Journal, 91: 3113-3122 (2006)

29 E. Paluch, C. Sykes, J. Prost, M. Bornens, "Cortical actomyosin as an active gel for cell deformations during locomotion and division "

Trends in Cell Biology, 16(1), 5-10 (2006)

28 J. van der Gucht, E. Paluch, J. Plastino, C. Sykes,* "Stress release drives symmetry breaking for actin-based movement "

P.N.A.S., 102(22), 7847-52 (2005)

*Paper highlighted in the Resarch Roundup in Journal of Cell Biology, 169 (6), 836 (2005)

27 A. Bernheim-Grosswasser, J. Prost, C. Sykes, "Mechanism of actin-based motility : a dynamic state diagram"

Biophysical Journal, 89, 1411-1419 (2005)

26 A. Giganti, J. Plastino, B. Janji, M. Van Troys, D. Lentz, C. Ampe, C. Sykes, E. Friederich

"The actin-filament cross-linking protein T-plastin increases Arp2/3 mediated actin-based movement force generation by the actin-bundling protein T-fimbrin "

Journal of Cell Science, 15(118),1255-65 (2005)

25 E. Paluch, M. Piel, J. Prost, M. Bornens, C. Sykes, "Cortical actomyosin breakage triggers shape oscillations in cells and cell fragments"

Biophysical Journal, 89, 724-733 (2005)

24 J. Plastino, C. Sykes, "The actin slingshot "(invited review)

Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 17, 62-66 (2005)

23 N. Jarroux, P. Keller, A.-F. Mingotaud, C. Mingotaud, C. Sykes, "Shape-tunable polymer nodules grown from liposomes via Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization"

Journal of the American Chemical Society, 126(49), 15958-15959 (2004)

22 J. Plastino, S. Olivier, C. Sykes,* "Actin filaments align into hollow comets for rapid VASP-mediated propulsion"

Current Biology, 14, 1766-1771 (2004)

*Paper highlighted in the Resarch Roundup in Journal of Cell Biology, 167(2), 191 (2004)


21 H. Boukellal, O. Campas, J.-F. Joanny, J. Prost, C. Sykes, "Soft Listeria : actin based propulsion of liquid drops"

Physical Review E, 69, 06196-1 à 4 (2004)

20 Y. Marcy, J. Prost, M.-F. Carlier, C. Sykes, "Forces generated during actin-based propulsion : a direct measurement by micromanipulation"

P.N.A.S., 101 (16), 5992-97 (2004)

19 J. Plastino, I. Lelidis, J. Prost, C. Sykes, "The effect of diffusion, depolymerization and nucleation promoting factors on actin gel growth "

European Biophysics Journal, 33(4):310-20 (2004)

18 A.-F. Mingotaud, S. Reculusa, C. Mingotaud, P. Keller, C. Sykes, E. Duguet, S. Ravaine,

"Ring-opening metathesis polymerization on well defined silica nanoparticles leading to hybrid core-shell particles",

J. Mater. Chem., 13, (2003)

17 H. Boukellal, J. Plastino, V. Noireaux, C. Sykes, "Propelling soft objects ",

Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences, Paris,  4, 275-280 (2003)

16 A. Bernheim-Groswasser, S. Wiesner, R. Golsteyn, M.-F. Carlier, C. Sykes,

"The dynamics of actin-based motility depends on surface parameters",

Nature, 417, 308-311 (2002)

15 J. Fradelizi, V. Noireaux, J. Plastino, B. Menichi, D. Louvard, C. Sykes, R.M. Golsteyn, E. Friederich, "ActA and human Zyxin harbour Arp2/3 complex independent actin polymerisation activity",

Nature Cell Biology, 3, 699-707 (2001).

14 J. Plastino, V. Noireaux, D. Louvard, C. Antony, C. Sykes, R. M. Golsteyn, "Dynamic Cellular Actin Polymerization In vitro ", review,

Recent research developments in biophysical chemistry, 1, 15-25 (2000).

13 V. Noireaux, R.M. Golsteyn, E. Friederich, J. Prost, C. Antony, D. Louvard, C. Sykes,

"Growing an actin gel on spherical surfaces ",

Biophysical Journal, 78, 1643-1654 (2000).

12 F. Gerbal, V. Noireaux, C. Sykes, F. Jülicher, P. Chaikin, A. Ott, J. Prost, R.M. Golsteyn, E. Friederich, D. Louvard, V. Laurent, M.F. Carlier, "On the Listeria propulsion mechanism ",

PRAMANA-journal of physics, 53, 1, 155-170 (1999).

11 C. Andrieu, C. Sykes, F. Brochard, "Dynamics of fast dewetting on model solid substrates",

Journal of Adhesion, 58, 15 (1996).

10 C. Andrieu, D. Chatenay, C. Sykes, "Mesure des angles de contact dynamiques ",

Comptes Rendus de l’Académie de Sciences, Paris, 320, Série II b, 351 (1995).

9 C. Andrieu, C. Sykes, F. Brochard, "Average spreading parameter on heterogeneous surfaces ",

Langmuir, 10 No. 7, 2077 (1994).

8 C. Sykes, V. Détappe, C. Andrieu, S. Deniau, "Critical radius of holes in liquid coating ",

Journal de Physique III France, 4, 775 (1994).

7 C. Corbel, L. Baroux, F.M. Kiessling, C. Gély-Sykes, R. Triboulet, "Positron trapping at native vacancies in CdTe crystals : In doping effect"

Material Science and Engineering, B16, 134 (1993).

6 F. Brochard-Wyart, C. Redon, C. Sykes, "Démouillage de films liquides ultraminces ",

Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences Paris, 313 Série II, 19 (1992).

5 C. Sykes, "Transition d'immersion de défauts non-mouillants ",

Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, 313 Série II, 607 (1991).

4 C. Gély-Sykes, C. Corbel, R. Triboulet, F. Soisson, L. Baroux,

"Positron lifetime and hole concentration in p-type Hg0.78Cd0.22Te crystals ",

Annales de Chimie France, 16, 541 (1991).

3 C. Gély-Sykes, C. Corbel, R. Triboulet, "Positron trapping in vacancies in indium doped CdTe crystals ",

Solid State Communications, 80 n°1, 79 (1991).

2 C. Gély, C.Corbel, R. Triboulet, "A study of vacancy-type defects by positron-lifetime measurements in a II-VI semiconductor: Cd0.2Hg0.8Te ",

Journal of Physics : Condensed Matter, 2, 4763 (1990).

1 C. Gély, C. Corbel, R. Triboulet, "Mesure de temps de vie du positon dans un composé II-VI : CdTe dopé indium ",

Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences Paris 301 Série II, 179 (1989).


Other publications

- C. Sykes, J. Prost; J.-F. Joanny

"Force Production by Actin Assembly: Simplified Experimental Systems for a Thorough Modeling"

Book Name :  Actin-based Motility

Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

- J. van der Gucht, C. Sykes

"Symmetry breaking in cellular systems"

Séminaires Poincaré 2009

- J. van der Gucht, C. Sykes

"Physical model of cellular symmetry breaking"

Symmetry breaking in Biology, Rong Li and Bruce A. Bowerman, Cold Spring Harbour perspectives in Biology, volume 1 issue 1, a001909, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


- J. Prost, J.-F. Joanny, P. Lenz, C. Sykes,

"The Physics Of Listeria Propulsion "

Book chapter in 'Cell Motility' in the 'Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering Series', ISSN 1618-7210, DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-73050-9, ISBN 978-0-387-73049-3 (Print) 978-0-387-73050-9 (Online), Springer New York (2007, Copyright 2008).

- Bertrand Duplantier, Arnaud Echard, Cécile Sykes,

"Physique des polymères et membranes biologiques"

Cours Ecole Polytechnique, Année 2009.

- Arnaud Echard, Cécile Sykes,

"Physique des polymères et membranes biologiques"

Cours Ecole Polytechnique, Année 2010.

- René-Marc Mège, Cécile Sykes

"Biologie Cellulaire"

Cours, Ecole Polytechnique, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010

- J. Plastino, H. Boukellal, A. Bernheim, C. Sykes, "Biomimétisme de la cellule ",

Bulletin de la Société Française de physique, 133, 12-15 (2002).



1 International patent n° PCT/FR00/03569 "Subdomains of the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein and their uses" E. Friederich, R.M. Golsteyn, D. Louvard, V. Noireaux, J. Prost, C. Sykes (equal partners) and Institut Curie/CNRS  deposited as french patent at INPI on the 16th December 1999 (n°99/15 900), and extended to international on the 15th December 2000.

2 International patent n° PCT/FR01/00843 French patent n°00/03637 "Peptide sequences composed of one or more motifs for binding to the family of Ena/VASP and their uses " J. Fradelizi, E. Friederich, R.M. Golsteyn, D. Louvard, V. Noireaux, C. Sykes (equal partners) and Institut Curie/CNRS deposited as french patent at INPI on the 22 March 2000, and extended to international on the 21st March 2001.