My name is Hervé Elettro and I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie scientific collaborator in the field of bio-inspired Mechanics and Physics at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) with Professor François Gallaire until 31st of july 2020.
I study fluid interfaces in all shapes and scales, experimentally, theoretically and numerically. May they be interacting with slender structures, confined or evaporating, fluid interfaces hold fascinating potential for innovation in numerous industries including pharmaceutics, nanotechnologies and geophysical processes.
I have considerable experience in scientific grant writing, technical expertise and multi-project management, teaching and outreach activities.
Feel free to scroll through my various past and future projects !

Short Biography

Research experience

  • Jan. 2018 – July 2020: Scientist, Marie Curie Fellow. Project: Hydro-elasto-capillary interactions for deployable structures in microcanals: towards a microfluidic transistor. Collaboration with Professor François Gallaire at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Keywords: Microfluidics, contactless micromechanical testing, encapsulation.
  • Jan. 2018 – Mar. 2019: Scientific expert, in collaboration with Anecova SA. Projet: Optimisation of a new in-vitro fertilization method.
    Keywords: Human fertility, numerical optimization, non newtonian rheology of biopolymer solutions.
  • Nov. 2015 – Dec. 2017: Post-doctoral Associate, Fondecyt Fellow. Project: Influence of fluid adsorption on the mechanical properties of single layer Graphene. Collaboration with Professor Francisco Melo at  SMAT-C, Santiago de Chile.
    Keywords: 2D materials, nanomechanics, mechano-chemical coupling.
  • Sep. 2012 – Sep. 2015: PhD obtained summa cum laude with Professors S. Neukirch and A. Antkowiak at Institut D’Alembert, Sorbonne Université (Paris, France) and Professor F. Vollrath at Oxford Silk group (UK). We showed that spiders produce liquid-solid mechanical hybrids.
    Keywords: Spider silk, ultrastretchable liquid-solid hybrid, bio-inspired mechanics.
  • Oct. 2011 – Jul. 2012: Visiting student at NTU (Singapore) with Professor C-D. Ohl, studying the impact of a bubble oscillating under an acoustic field.
    Keywords: Microbubble dynamics, acoustic driving, thin film mechanics.
  • Feb. – Jul. 2010: Visiting student at Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials in UCSB (Santa Barbara, California, USA) with Professor Kramer, studying the relationship between microstructure and mechanical properties of semicrystalline polymers.
    Keywords: Skin-like materials, processing-structure-properties relationships, polymer mechanics.

Higher Education

  • Sep. 2012 – Sep. 2015: Ph.D. in Applied Physics and Mechanics, Sorbonne Université, Paris (France).
  • 2010 – 2011: M.Sc. Physique des liquides, Sorbonne Université, Paris (France).
  • 2008 – 2010: B.Sc. in Physics, Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris (France). Admitted in 17th position nationwide.

Originally from the northern French alps, I moved to Paris to enter the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, a world-renowned elite research school, after I qualified in 17th position nationwide. Among eminent researchers, I further realized just what research could bring to me as a human being and as a scientist. I am driven by curiosity and highly motivated when presented with new challenges. I love pushing the boundaries of Science, and find Nature and everyday experience a great source of inspiration to build exciting projects that combine multiple disciplines.

During my PhD, I have been given the chance to be the connecting bridge between several communities (biology, fluid mechanics and solid mechanics). This led me to develop a great sense of initiative and creativity, as well as dedication and versatility.

My previous research led to the publication of several papers as first author in excellent international leading journals. Throughout my early career, I built a strong international network outside and inside Europe through research projects with both the academic and private sector (Mitsubishi in California, NTU in Singapore, OIST in Japan, SMAT-C in Chile, Oxford Silk group in UK). I also presented my PhD work in many international conferences, such as the American Physical Society meeting in Texas and the European Solid Mechanics Conference in Madrid. Moreover, my PhD work attracted media coverage and received several awards, including the prestigious french funding program Agence Nationale de la Recherche (2014-2018, 450,000€).

I have a passion for dissemination of popular science. I use social networks to disseminate accessible research articles and my expertise has been valuable to several science documentaries (see URL links in awards section). Additionally, I love science photography, as it is a striking tool to grasp the imagination and attention of the crowd, whatever their scientific background. It is a simple yet powerful way to impact and reach out to the community. I make extensive use of sketches during my talks and classes, and accentuate my speeches with daily life experiences as much as possible. It is my belief that science and research should be shown to the general public as attractive and accessible. I also believe that the same communication techniques can be used to impact the scientific community. For instance, I usually bring a simple handy experiment during my talks, to be passed among the audience for everybody to acquire their own experience of the concept at stake.

I am also fond of sports, mountaineering and travel, and like to organize social actions. I organized 4-days intra-lab convivial sport competitions in 2013 and 2014, and a PhD student meeting for intra-lab (120 persons) conference. I am involved in the well-being of the community and helped to build a common room in my PhD laboratory. I also lead lab tours as I receive worldwide visitors.