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specific medical or research purposes, such as for tissue engineering. In another project, which won the CNRS Bronze Medal,3 researchers used synthetic DNA strands to develop a molecular computation system able to simulate the complex mechanisms at play in predator-prey ecosystems, such as population oscillation. This exciting development in DNA computation could become a useful tool for molecular biologists, for example in the development of self-delivering smart drugs. The final area of focus is nanotechnology, which researchers use to enhance existing scientific systems. For instance, they equipped a transmission electron microscope with a microactuator that can move a nano-object and then observe it with atomic resolution, thus providing a better understanding of how matter behaves on the atomic scale. This in turn makes it possible to design materials that are more robust, or that can conduct heat more efficiently. Yet such nanostructures require expensive equipment to produce. Researchers have therefore developed alternative techniques using existing instruments rather than specialized devices, in an effort to create nanowires at low cost. A European future The past two decades have seen dramatic changes in the scientific landscape— and within the LIMMS. In 2011, it was selected by the European Commission as one of its six international laboratories, and renamed EUJO-LIMMS.4 French and Japanese researchers now work in a truly international setting, alongside colleagues from Switzerland, Germany, Finland, and the Netherlands. “The French-Japanese relationship goes on within this larger European context,” concludes Collard. “In 2014, the SMMIL-E5 project created a mirror site at the Centre Oscar Lambret university hospital in Lille, to apply the laboratory’s innovations in a clinical environment.” And the University of Tokyo sees the laboratory as one of its most important international initiatives. In addition to technology transfer and the creation of start-up companies, the LIMMS has obtained encouraging results, such as the development of pads that heal wounds faster, and the successful use of nanotweezers to expose DNA to irradiation for cancer treatment evaluation. “Those are only the most recent achievements in our long-standing collaboration, which we look forward to pursuing.”ii © L. JALABERT PARTNERSHIP 39 SPRING 2015 N° 37 Monitoring of a DNA bio- reaction with silicon nano- tweezers. The researchers of the LIMMS are actuating a microsystem inside a transmission electron microscope. collard@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp © LIMMS/CNRS-IIS


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