Section: Overall Objectives


BIOCORE is a joint research team between Inria (Centre of Sophia-Antipolis Méditerranée), INRA (ISA - Institut Sophia Agrobiotech and LBE - Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology in Narbonne) and UPMC-CNRS (Oceanographic Laboratory of Villefranche-sur-mer - LOV, UMR 7093/ Université P.M. Curie, Villefranche sur Mer, Team: Plankton Dynamics, Physical and Chemical Processes).

Sustainable growth is one of the major challenges of our time. In order to tackle it, the development of new technologies is necessary, and many of these new technologies will need to use modeling and computer tools. BIOCORE contributes to this theme, in the general field of design and control of artificial ecosystems (or biosystems). Its general goal is to design devices, systems and processes containing living cells or individuals and performing some tasks to decrease pollution, use of chemicals, or to produce bioenergy in a sustainable way. We build biological/ecological models in close collaborations with biologists and bioprocess engineers, and validate them with experimental platforms. Our activities are structured in three levels: mathematical and computational methods, a methodological approach to biology, and applications.

Research themes:

Mathematical and computational methods:

  • Tools for modeling in biology: model design, validation, parameter identification.

  • Mathematical properties of models in biology: mathematical studies of models and of their global behavior.

  • Software sensors for biological systems: using the model and on-line measurements to estimate the variables that are not measured directly.

  • Control, regulation, and optimization for biological systems; design of laws to maintain a variable at a given level, or to optimize the productivity of the system.

A methodological approach to biology: system study at different scales

  • At the intra-individual level: theoretical and experimental study of simple metabolic-genetic networks, coarse grained models of the internal state

  • At the level of interactions between individuals in the population: individual behavior, resource allocation

  • At the scale of interaction between populations: interaction between prey and predator populations in a trophic network or competition between species in a chemostat

  • At the scale of interaction between ecosystems: coupling of two artificial ecosystems as a unique bioprocess or interactions between an artificial ecosystem and the surrounding natural ecosystem.

Fields of application:

  • Bioenergy, in particular the production of lipids (which can be used as biofuel), methane and hydrogen by microorganisms (with LOV and LBE).

  • CO2 fixation by micro-algae, with the aim of capturing industrial CO2 fluxes (with LOV). This theme can also include artificial ecosystems developed to improve the prediction of carbon fluxes between the ocean and the atmosphere.

  • Design and optimization of ecologically friendly protection methods for plants and micro-plants artificial production systems (with ISA and LOV). This theme focuses in particular on biological control programs to prevent pest invasions in crops and bioreactors.

  • Biological waste treatment with microorganisms in bioreactors to reduce pollution emissions (in collaboration with LBE).

Software for biological modeling and supervision of biological processes.

National, international and industrial relations

  • Collaboration with IFREMER (Nantes), INRA (MIA Montpellier, GMPA Grignon. IAM Nancy, Agrocampus Ouest), CIRAD Montpellier, Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, LOCEAN (Paris), GIPSA Grenoble, IBIS, BANG, ANGE and MODEMIC Inria teams.

  • Participation in the French groups CoReV (Modèles et théories pour le Contrôle de Ressources Vivantes, Models and Control of Living Resources), M3D (Mathématiques et décision pour le développement durable) and PROBBE (Processus biologiques et bioinspirés pour l'énergie).

  • Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Université de Mons (Belgium), University of Stuttgart (Germany), Rutgers University (USA), MacMaster University (Canada), University Ben Gurion (Israel), Imperial College (United-Kingdom), Massey University (New Zealand), Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria and Universidad de Chile (Chile).

  • The participants of national programmes we take part in: ANR Blanc project Gemco, ANR Bioénergie project Symbiose, ANR BioME project Facteur 4, FUI Salinalgue, Projets d'Investissement d'Avenir RESET and Green Stars.