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Frédérique Cunin

CNRS Research Scientist


ICGM - UMR 5253

Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier
8 rue de l’Ecole Normale
34296 Montpellier Cedex 5, FRANCE
Phone : +33 (0)4 67 16 34 44
Fax : +33 (0)4 67 16 34 70
Email :

Presidente of the french society of Porous SemiConductors and Oxides (SCOPe)

Scientific production list (January 2015) :

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Professional history
Research activity
Current projects
Selected publications


  • 2000 : Ph.D in Inorganic Chemistry, University of Montpellier, France - Supervisor : Dr Jean-Louis Pascal
  • 1996 : Master in Inorganic Chemistry, University of Montpellier, France.


  • 2003-present : Permanent CNRS Research Position - ICGM - UMR 5253, Montpellier, France.
  • 2000-2003 : Postdoctoral Research Associate - Prof M. J. Sailor laboratory. University of California San Diego, USA.
  • 1999-2000 : Assistant Professor (Temporary position) - University of Montpellier, France.


Frederique Cunin is permanent research scientist of the French National Scientific Research Council (CNRS) at the Charles Gerhardt Institute for Molecular Chemistry and Material Sciences, in Montpellier, France. Her research focuses on the elaboration of biocompatible porous silicon nanostructures for application in biomedicine. This includes emerging therapies (such as targeted anti-cancer therapies, nucleic acid/gene-based therapy), and tissue engineering. Her activity particularly focuses on the material synthesis methods, the control of the morphology and texture of the material, and the development of new surface chemical treatments for further (bio)functionalization. Her research is also on the understanding and the exploitation of the electronic and optical properties (reflectivity, photoluminescence) of nanostructured silicon.
Frederique Cunin currently coordinates the French part of the joined international ANR/NSF funded SilGLETO2 research project on the chemical functionalization of porous silicon nanoparticles for photodynamic therapy (2012-2016). She also leads a french collaborative project on photoactive anti-cancer nanovectors (2012-2015), funded by the CED2 Carnot Institute and the LabeX ChemiSyst .
In 2015, she initiated the creation of the french society of Porous SemiConductors and Oxides (SCOPe), and is co-organiser of the biennial international PSST (Porous Semiconductors Science and Technology) meeting since 2014.

Key words : porous silicon, particles, nanotechnologies, nanomedecine, fluorescence imaging, two-photon, targeted therapy, cancer.

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  • Project 1 : Functionalization of porous silicon nanoparticles for photodynamic therapy

In cancer research, the development of non invasive local and focal therapies promises to reduce side effects and resistance phenomenon associated with systematic administration of chemotherapy drugs, and to preserve or limit resection of organs with small size tumors.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a clinical treatment that combines the use of a sensitizing agent and light to kill cancer cells, is particularly indicated for the selective destruction of small tumors, but photosensitizers in use today display toxic or other side effects that limit their use.
We aim to develop photoactive anti-cancer materials with improved PDT quantum yields and low toxicity, based on biodegradable luminescent silicon-based nanostructures, for the local treatment of cancer.

Fundings : (2012-15) LabeX ChemiSYST - Carnot Inst. CED2
ANR (ANR-12-NS10-0001) SilGLETO2/ NSF (DMR-1210417)

Link to project website  :

Collaborators  : J.O. Durand, N. Marcotte, M. Garcia, M. Gary-Bobo, A.Morere (Univ. Montpellier, France) ; M. Auffan (CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France) ; P. Maillard (Inst. Curie, Orsay, France), M.J. Sailor (UCSD, USA).

Publications  : Two-Photon Excitation of Porphyrin-Functionalized Porous Silicon Nanoparticles for Photodynamic Therapy Adv. Mater., 2014, 26(45), 7643–7648.
Anionic porphyrin-grafted porous silicon nanoparticles for photodynamic therapy , Chem. Commun., 2013, 49(39), 4202-4204.

  • Project 2 : Porous silicon for dental pulp stromal cell culture and tissue reconstruction

Dental pulp stromal cells are mesenchymal stem cells found within the teeth and constitute a readily available source of stem cells. These cells easily differentiate and proliferate into osteoblasts or in other cell lineages (adipocyte, neural, etc.).
We investigate the behavior of human dental pulp stromal cells on porous silicon substrates of various porosities and chemical surface treatments, in order to establish the material features for optimal adhesion, proliferation and osteodifferentiation.

Collaborators  : F. Cuisinier (Univ. Montpellier, France).

Publications  : Adhesion and proliferation of human mesenchymal stem cells from dental pulp on porous silicon scaffolds ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2014, 6 (3), 1719-1728.
Initial stem cell adhesion on porous silicon surface : molecular architecture of actin cytoskeleton and filopodial growth Nanoscale Research Letters, 2014, 9, 564.

  • Project 3 : Porous silicon nanoparticles for the targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs

The use of nanomaterials as anticancer drug nanovectors is expected to overcome some of the issues inherent to conventional chemotherapy, including the poor pharmacokinetic profiles of the anticancer drugs and their lack of tumor specificity. One promissing approach to increase the intratumoral concentration of the anticancer drug, and then to limit its toxic effects in normal tissue, is to target membrane receptors overexpressed in cancer cells.
In this project, biodegradable porous silicon nanoparticles are functionalized with cancer cell targeting antibodies by means of original bioconjugate chemistry, and loaded with hydrophobic anti-cancer drug (camptothecin).
We aim to target cells of neuroblastoma, glioblastoma and B lymphoma, which correspond to non accessible and/or non operable cancers.

Fundings : 2011 PHC-Egide/FAST program

Collaborators  : N. H. Voelcker (UniSA, Adelaide, Australia).

Publications  : Antibody-functionalized porous silicon nanoparticles for vectorization of hydrophobic drugs, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2013, 2(5), 718-727.

  • Project 4 : Porous silicon for Li ion batteries

Silicon-based anodes are an appealing alternative for lithium-ion batteries because they display high theoretical capacity compared to currently used graphite anodes. Nevertheless their poor cycling stability due to important volume expansion (300 %) and slow kinetics limit their widespread use in commercial batteries. We aim to exploit the particular architecture of porous silicon structures to facilitate the rapid transportation of the lithium ions with optimized intercalation kinetics, and to minimize volume changes and thus improve the electrode cyclability.

Fundings  : (2012-15) LabeX ChemiSYST - Carnot Inst. CED2

Collaborators  : L. Monconduit, ICGM-Univ. of Montpellier, France.

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  1. Secret E., Maynadier M., Gallud A., Chaix A., Bouffard E., Gary-Bobo M., Marcotte M., Mongin O., El Cheikh K., Hugues V., Auffan M., Frochot C., Morère A., Maillard P., Blanchard-Desce M., Sailor M. J., Garcia M., Durand J.-O. and Cunin F. Two-Photon Excitation of Porphyrin-Functionalized Porous Silicon Nanoparticles for Photodynamic Therapy Adv. Mater., 2014, 26(45), 7643–7648.
  2. Rusu B. G., Cunin F., Barboiu M., Real-Time Optical Detection of Stabilized Artificial G-Quadruplexes Under Confined Conditions Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52(48), 12597-12601. Press release :…,…
  3. Secret E., Maynadier M., Gallud A., M. Gary-Bobo, Chaix A., Belamie E., Maillard P., Sailor M. J., Garcia M., Durand J.-O., Cunin F., Anionic porphyrin-grafted porous silicon nanoparticles for photodynamic therapy , Chem. Commun., 2013, 49(39), 4202-4204. Emerging Investigators Issue.
  4. Secret E., Smith K., Dubljevic V., Moore E., Macardle P., Delalat B., Rogers M.-L., Johns T.G., Durand J.-O., Cunin F., Voelcker N.H., Antibody-functionalized porous silicon nanoparticles for vectorization of hydrophobic drugs, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2013, 2(5), 718-727.
  5. Guinan T., Geodfrey C., Lautrédou N., Pace S., Millhiet P.E., Voelcker N.H. and Cunin F., Interaction of antibiotics with vesicles on thin film porous silicon using reflectance interferometric fourier transform spectroscopy (RIFTS), Langmuir, 2013, 29, 10279-10286.
  6. Li Y.Y., Cunin F., Link J.R., Gao T., Betts R.E., Reiver S.H., Chin V., Bhatia S.N., and Michael J. Sailor, Polymer Replicas of Photonic Porous Silicon for Sensing and Drug Delivery Applications, Science, 2003, 299, 2045.
  7. Cunin F., Schmedake T.A., Link J.R. , Li Y.Y., Sailor M.J., Koh J., Bhatia S., Biomolecular screening with encoded porous silicon photonic crystals, Nature Materials, 2002, 1, 39.

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  • University of California San Diego, USA : M. J. Sailor.
  • Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier UMR 5253, Montpellier, France. : J.O. Durand, N. Marcotte, L. Monconduit, F. Favier, A. Galarneau.
  • Institut des Biomolecules Max Mousseron UMR 5247, Montpellier, France : M. Garcia, M. Gary-Bobo, A. Morere.
  • Mawson Institute, University of South Australia : N. H. Voelcker.
  • Faculty of Odontology EA 4203, Montpellier, France : F. Cuisinier.
  • Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire UPR 4301, Orleans, France : C. Pichon, P. Midoux.
  • Massachuset Institut of Technology, CNRS/MIT laboratory, USA : Benoit Coasne.
  • Institut Européen des Membranes UMR 5635, Montpellier, France : M. Barboiu.
  • Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain : L. Marsal.
  • Centre de Biochimie Structurale UMR 5048, Montpellier, France : P. E. Milhiet.
  • Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy : F. Geobaldo.
  • Laboratoire Charles Coulomb Montpellier UMR 5221, France : Csilla Gergelly.

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Année 2016
Année 2015
Année 2014
Année 2013
Année 2012
Année 2011
Année 2010
Année 2009
Année 2008
Année 2007
Année 2005
  • Michael P. Schwartz, Frédérique Cunin, Ronnie Cheung and Michael Sailor
    Chemical modification of silicon surfaces for biological applications,
    physica status Solidi A, 202(8) , 2005, 1380-1384
  • C. Pacholski, M. Sartor, M J. Sailor, F. Cunin and G M. Miskelly
    Biosensing using porous silicon double-layer interferometers, Reflective interferometric Fourier transform spectroscopy,
    Journal of the American Chemical Society, 127(33) , 2005, 11636-11645

For publications prior to 2005, please refer to the attached doc.

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