©Cyril FRESILLON / Sys2Diag / CNRS Photothèque

Franck MolinaWorking hand in hand with industry for high-quality basic research

CNRS medal of innovation

A pioneer in systems biology and synthetic biology, Franck Molina1 , a CNRS research professor and director of the Sys2Diag (Modélisation et ingénierie des systèmes complexes biologiques pour le diagnostic) laboratory (CNRS/ALCEN), has moved from the modelling of biological systems, such as cells, to their production. He has successfully used synthetic biology to design and program artificial cells such as biomachines to carry out non-natural tasks. These cells are used in particular to conduct ultrafast and low-cost diagnoses that do not require the presence of medical professionals. For now these diagnoses relate to diabetes and the detection of pesticides. "The alliance with industry forms a virtuous circle," the scientist points out. "Contrary to preconceptions, it does not at all prevent the pursuit of quality basic research, quite the contrary." The researcher’s work, which involves solutions for liquid biopsies, certain psychiatric illnesses, and an almost instantaneous sexing of chicken eggs in poultry farming, have been the subject of industrial transfers to companies such as Skillcell, BioRad, Alcediag, Tronico, and DiaDx.

  • 1On 26 March 2020 Franck Molina was appointed to the Care Committee, which advised the French government during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, for his expertise in diagnostic tests.