Sophie Allart, 2017 Innovation Prize

With her extensive microscopy expertise, Inserm Research Biochemist and Engineer Sophie Allart helped uncover the presence of the Zika virus inside sperm, and not just at the surface.

Sophie Allart © Inserm/Delapierre, Patrick
Sophie Allart © Inserm/Delapierre, Patrick

With a conventional microscope, measuring anything less than 200 nanometers is impossible. But with simulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy and Sophie Allart's work, this limit has been lowered to 23 nanometers!

In charge of the technical cell imaging platform at the Physiopathology Center of Toulouse-Purpan (CPTP), the biochemist has made a number of adjustments and adaptations to this microscope whose original resolution threshold is around 50 nm. Her efforts have now helped provide official proof of the presence of the Zika virus inside sperm itself and not only on the outside.

The engineer has done everything in her power to establish this technology in Toulouse with a financial package, procurement, implementation, adjustments, sample preparation, etc. And, most importantly, she has extended access to the whole of the scientific community in addition to the 23 CPTP research teams.


*Inserm unit 1043/CNRS/Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier