News & Events - MAGNEURON

Maxime Dahan, Director of the Curie Physical Chemistry Unit and Magneuron Coordinator, dies at the age of 46



It is with great sadness that Institut Curie, CNRS (French National Scientific Research Center), Sorbonne University and Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL Research University) announce the passing of Maxime Dahan, CNRS Research Director and Director of the Institut Curie/CNRS/Sorbonne University Physical Chemistry Unit (UMR 168). Maxime passed away suddenly on Sunday, July 29th, at the age of 46.

Since 2013, Maxime had headed the Curie Physical Chemistry Unit, which was located in the historic Institut Curie building where Marie Curie worked. The goal of the unit is to uncover the role of physical-chemical laws governing the functioning of living organisms. At the interface of physics, chemistry and biology, the Physical Chemistry Unit is, in many respects, emblematic of the Curie spirit and cross-disciplinary approach – a legacy of its founder.

“Maxime himself symbolized the institute, which was founded by a two-time Nobel laureate in physics and chemistry,” says Thierry Philip, Chairman of Institut Curie’s Management Board. “Ever since he joined the institute in 2013, Maxime significantly contributed to its scientific clout. He was a great leader and above all, a very fine person.”

After a brilliant academic career at L’Ecole Polytechnique and L’Ecole normale supérieure (ENS) [elite professional schools], Maxime spent 12 years at the ENS Kastler Brossel laboratory. CNRS awarded him a bronze medal in 2006. He then continued his research at the Janelia Farm Research Center outside Washington D.C. for two years before joining Institut Curie in January 2013.

Since joining the institute, Maxime brought a whole new perspective to the cross-disciplinary approach that was already deeply rooted in the unit by reaching out to the medical field. Working with one of his unit’s teams, he used virtual reality tools to explore cells and tissues in 3D. He also attracted young, highly talented researchers to the unit, including Leila Perié, whose research combines immunology, physics and mathematics, and Antoine Coulon, who focuses on spatio-temporal fluctuations in gene expression. Maxime was always open to innovation in all areas, which included bringing Antoine on-board to create the first joint team between two Research Center units. Just as Institut Curie had been the pioneer in combining physics and biology, Maxime aimed to lay the groundwork for an interaction between physics and clinical practice that would provide a new perspective on cancer as well as innovative treatments.

“Maxime Dahan was a prominent researcher in his field,” says Geneviève Amouzni, Director of The Research Center. “He was a recognized expert in new approaches to imaging and made significant contributions to its development, including a major impact on super-resolution imaging. It’s a great loss for humanity and science.”

Since 2016, Maxime served as coordinator of the European Magneuron project, which involves activating nanoparticles with magnetic fields, an area he excelled in; the goal was to prevent the nerve cell breakdown seen in such diseases as Parkinson’s. His innovative and promising idea was to take skin cell scrapings from patients, transform them into neurons and add magnetic nanoparticles before reinjecting them into patients’ brains. The neurons are then accurately and magnetically drawn to the afflicted areas.

Maxime’s colleagues will do everything possible to continue his work with the help of Axel Buguin, Assistant Unit Director.



Fourth meeting of the Magneuron project

20180126 184712Following the first workshop of the Magneuron project, on 28-29 January 2018, Magneuron hosted its fourth meeting in Aussois (France). In addition of the usuals attending partners, some of the external speakers were invited to stay during those two days to learn more in detail about Magneuron progresses. During those two days of work, the partners have discussed results and progresses achieved within the projects (the preparation and synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles, the biofunctionalization of those particles, progresses on the tools to manipulate such particles, magnetic control of those particles).



International conference ‘Molecular Basis of Life’


From Sunday, September 24th to Wednesday, September 27th, 2017, the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) hosted in the University of Bochum an international conference on the subject of ‘Molecular Basis of Life’. The congress has cover the entire spectrum of molecular biosciences with symposia on Chromatin and Gene Expression, Cell Signalling and Membrane Trafficking, Subcellular Organization, Molecular Machines, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease and Therapies and Emerging Methods - subjects that are studied in the Magneuron project. Among the many highlights presented, I like to mention that Gero Miesenböck/Oxford spoke on optogenetic in the brain in his Opening Lecture. On Monday 25th there was a special lunch session devoted to the topic entitled “Perspectives towards the control of the nervous system”.


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Magneuron first Workshop

On 26-28 January 2018, the Magneuron project hosted its first workshop in Aussois (France).

During two days, internal and external speakers presented their works related to neurobiology and breakthrough sciences related to Magneuron subject.

The attending speakers were the following:

-Dr Arnd Pralle from Buffalo University: Approaches and materials for remote magnetothermal deep brain neuromodulation

-Dr Jian Zhong from Burke Medical Research Institute: Fostering axon growth after CNS injury

-Dr David Henry Herce from Harvard University: The art of delivery: Design and delivery of molecule using cell penetrating peptides

-Dr Florence Gazeau from Paris-Diderot University: Nanotechnology for cell therapy

-Dr Alberto Martinez Serrano from Madrid University: PD stem cells transplantation

-Dr Julian George from Oxford University: Culture of neurons in granular hydrogel scaffolds

-Dr Maxime Dahan from Institut Curie : Magnetic control of intracellular signalling

-Dr Christine Ménager from CNRS: Magnetic Hybrid Systems for Nano-medecine

-Dr Alicia El Haj from Keele University: Engineering human cells and tissues to the clinic

-Dr Monte Gates from Keele University: So you wat to do a brain transplant

-Dr Jacob Piehler from Osnabrück University: Signalling complexes at the plasma membrane from observation toward manipulation

-Dr Rolf Heumann from Bochum University:   Role of RAS signalling for neuronal degeneration and regeneration?

Magnetic Hybrid Systems for Nano-medicine

Third meeting of the Magneuron project

Third meeting MagneuronProjectOn 22-24 June 2017, the Osnabrück University have hosted the third meeting of the Magneuron project. During two days, the partners have discussed the first results and the progresses achieved within the projects on the following subjects: the preparation and synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles, the biofunctionalization of those particles, but also the progresses on the tools to manipulate such particles, and the magnetic control of those particles.



Efficient Innovation
Institut Curie
Keele University
Universitat Osnabruck
Ruhr Universitat Bochum
University of Birmingham