Scientific Letter - April 2013

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

April 2013

Southeast France Events To Know Picture


-- width='35' height='25' />Edito


Dear friends,

this month, in France and in the US, scientists have been really interested in micro-organisms living in deep and unwelcoming ecosystems. In France, researchers have demonstrated the existence of an ecosystem made up of micro-organisms in the oceanic crust, surviving thanks to a power source derived directly from chemical reactions between rocks and seawater, while in the US, scientists have puzzled over how microbes have survived beneath the ocean floor in a desolate place with no oxygen and sunlight for millions of years.

I would also like to highlight the public lecture that the French Mathematician Cédric Villani (also available in French), Fields Medal 2010 laureate (equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics), will give at Georgia Tech on April 22.

I let you go through the newsletter to learn what else happened in science this month !

Have a good reading,

Juliane Halftermeyer, Deputy Scientific Attaché in Life Sciences


-- width='35' height='25' />Sciences in the Southeast USA


Scientific news from the Southeast USA

- Two new genes linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related disorders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (MI), 03/03/2013. GIF
A study has discovered mutations in two genes that lead to the death of nerve cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and related degenerative diseases. ,The same mutation occurred in both genes and led to the abnormal build-up of the proteins inside cells.
>> Learn more

- UGA researchers shed light on ancient origin of life, University of Georgia (GA), 03/06/2013. GIF
Researchers discovered important genetic clues about the history of microorganisms called archaea and the origins of life itself in the first ever study of its kind. Results of their study shed light on one of Earth’s oldest life forms.
>> Learn more

- Human Brain Cells Used to Make Mice Smarter, University of South Florida (FL), 03/07/2013. GIF
Implanting a type of human brain cell into newborn mice makes them "smarter" as adults, scientists have found — an achievement experts say could aid in understanding and treating human brain diseases.
>> Learn more

- Even mild traumatic brain injuries can kill brain tissue, Georgia Regents University (GA), 03/07/2013. GIF
Scientists have watched a mild traumatic brain injury play out in the living brain, prompting swelling that reduces blood flow and connections between neurons to die.
>> Learn more

- Fungus uses copper detoxification as crafty defense mechanism, Duke University (NC), 03/13/2013. GIF
A potentially lethal fungal infection appears to gain virulence by being able to anticipate and disarm a hostile immune attack in the lungs. Defense mechanisms used by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans enable it to lead to fatal meningitis, which is one of the opportunistic infections often associated with death in HIV/AIDS patients or in organ transplant recipients, diabetics and other immunosuppressed patients. In describing the complex process of how C. neoformans averts destruction in the lungs of mice, the researchers have opened new options for drug development.
>> Learn more

- "Terradynamics" Could Help Designers Predict How Legged Robots Will Move on Granular Media, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA), 03/21/2013. GIF
Using a combination of theory and experiment, researchers have developed a new approach for understanding and predicting how small legged robots – and potentially also animals – move on and interact with complex granular materials such as sand. The research could help create and advance the field of “terradynamics” – a name the researchers have given to the science of legged animals and vehicles moving on granular and other complex surfaces.
>> Learn more

- UAB researchers discover possible treatment for incurable lung disease, University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL), 03/21/2013. GIF
Researchers have unlocked another piece of the puzzle surrounding idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an often fatal lung disease with no cure and no effective treatments. The research team has discovered a new pathway that contributes to fibrosis, or scarring in the lungs. More importantly, they may have also found a potential treatment to block that pathway.
>> Learn more

- New bone survey method could aid long-term survival of Arctic caribou, University of Florida (FL), 03/27/2013. GIF
Scientists add critical new data for understanding caribou calving grounds in an area under consideration for oil exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The research may be used to create improved conservation strategies for an ecologically important area that has been under evaluation for natural resource exploration since enactment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980.
>> Learn more

- Professor Discovers How Microbes Survive at Bare Minimum, University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN), 03/27/2013. GIF
Beneath the ocean floor is a desolate place with no oxygen and sunlight. Yet microbes have thrived in this environment for millions of years. Scientists have puzzled over how these microbes survive, but today there are more answers. A study led by Karen Lloyd reveals that these microscopic life-forms called archaea slowly eat tiny bits of protein.
>> Learn more

- Five genetic variations increase risk of ovarian cancer, Duke University (NC), 03/27/2013. GIF
An international research collaboration has found five new regions of the human genome that are linked to increased risks for developing ovarian cancer. Duke Medicine researchers played a leading role analyzing genetic information from more than 40,000 women.
>> Learn more


-- width='35' height='25' />Sciences in France


Scientific news from France

- Past increases in Antarctic temperature and CO2 levels coincided, also available in French, CNRS, CEA, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Université Joseph Fourier, 02/28/2013. GIF GIF
The increase in temperature and in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the Antarctic during the last deglaciation (20,000 to 10,000 years ago) happened simultaneously. These findings contradict previous work, which showed that CO2 increases lagged behind rises in Antarctic temperature. These results therefore suggest that CO2 may be a possible cause for warming.
>> Learn more

- Seven genetic risk factors associated with AMD also available in French, Inserm, UPMC, CNRS, 03/05/2013. GIF GIF
An international group of researchers has discovered seven new regions in the human genome associated with an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the main causes of blindness.
>> Learn more

- A new piece in the puzzle of gene expression, (only in French), CNRS, Inserm, Université de Strasbourg, Institut Curie, 03/11/2013. GIF
The discovery of mechanisms underlying gene expression is fundamental to understand the mechanisms of cell division, development or cancer development. A new process that directly regulates the expression of genes has been identified.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Why red algae never colonized dry land, also available in French, CNRS, UPMC, CEA-Genoscope, Universités Lille 1, Université Rennes 1, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, 03/12/2013. GIF GIF
The first red alga genome has just been sequenced by an international team. The genome of Chondrus crispus, also known by the Breton name ’pioka’, turns out to be small and compact for a multicellular organism. It has fewer genes than several other species of unicellular algae, which raises a number of questions about the evolution of red algae. This low number of genes could explain why these organisms never colonized dry land, unlike their green counterparts—from which all terrestrial plants are descended.
>> Learn more

- A new ecosystem discovered in the volcanic rocks of the deep ocean, (only in French), Ifremer, 03/15/2013. GIF
Researchers have demonstrated the existence of an ecosystem made up of micro-organisms in the oceanic crust. Surviving thanks to a power source derived directly from chemical reactions between rocks and seawater, these microbes had never been identified before.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- The exploration of cell signaling networks better controlled, (only in French), Institut Curie, CNRS, UPMC, 03/15/2013. GIF
Researchers have developed a method for controlling biochemical signals inside cells with modified nanoparticles and magnetic forces. The team has developed an approach allowing nanoparticles to be moved by magnetic forces inside living cells. By hooking signaling proteins on their surface, it becomes possible to use these nanoparticles to study signal transduction pathways that are difficult to observe and manipulate at a subcellular scale.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Buruli Ulcer : Mechanism Behind Tissue Erosion Revealed, also available in French, Institut Pasteur, CNRS, Université de Bâle, Université de Cambridge, 03/18/2013. GIF GIF
Scientists have identified the mechanism underlying the formation of Buruli ulcers caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. Their discovery opens avenues for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for combating this disfiguring skin disease.
>> Learn more

- How evolution repaints living beings (only in French), CNRS, Université d’Aix-Marseille, 03/22/2013. GIF
From striped zebra coat to colorful wings of butterflies through the red bands of clownfish, animals are decorated with very diverse pigment patterns essential to their survival and reproduction. But how these colorful patterns appear and change during evolution ? A team of researchers has proposed a genetic model explaining the evolutionary emergence of new pigment patterns and their diversification between species.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Characterisation of the immune cells capable of controlling HIV infection, also available in French, Inserm, UPMC, AP-HP, 03/22/2013. GIF GIF
How is it that certain patients infected by HIV have immune cells that are capable of controlling the infection ? Scientists have succeeded in identifying the molecular characteristics of certain T lymphocytes that have the specific property of being able to detect and control HIV and its mutant versions.
>> Learn more

- A key to regenerate tissues (only in French), Institut Curie, CNRS, Inserm, 03/262013. GIF
Researchers have discovered how to turn an epithelium of the embryo into cells able to migrate and differentiate into many other cell types (melanocytes, neurons, cartilage), in vitro and in vivo. One step to repair damaged tissue and understand the formation of metastases.
>> Learn more (only in French)


-- width='35' height='25' />Events



Emory University (Atlanta)
- April, 15, 4:00pm
‘"Building New Materials from Synthetically Modified Biomolecules’
- April, 17, 4:00pm
‘Cognitive Neuroscience : Between Lifeworld and Laboratory’
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
- April, 19, 11:05am
‘”From Optimal Transport to Fully Nonlinear PDE to Regularity to Nonsmooth Geometry” by Cedric Villani (Mathematics Lecture)’
- April, 22, 4:00pm
‘”Riemann, Boltzmann and Kantorovich go to a party” by Cedric Villani (General Audience)’
- April, 27-28
‘Atlanta Lecture Series in Combinatorics and Graph Theory’


University of Miami (Miami)
- April, 3, 9:00am to 12:00pm
‘2013 Undergraduate Research, Creativity and Innovation Forum’
University of South Florida (Tampa)
- April, 13-14
‘24th Annual Spring Plant Festival’

North Carolina

Duke University (Duke)
- April, 9, 11:40am to 1:00pm
‘The Soft Matter Art of Cooking’
- April, 22-23
‘Insights and Solutions for Emerging Infectious Diseases’
- April, 30, 11:40am to 1:00pm
‘Synthetic Control of Silicon Nanowire Shape, Composition, and Properties for Nanophotonics & Photovoltaics’
East Carolina University (Greenville)
- April, 4, 8:40am to 2:40pm
‘2013 Business of Health Care Symposium : Focus on Health Care IT’
- April, 18, 4:00 to 6:00pm
‘Earth Day Expo’


The University of Tennessee – Health Science Center (Memphis)
- April, 5
‘The Frank M. Norfleet Forum – Pediatric Obesity’
The University of Tennessee (Knoxville)
- April, 14, 2:00 to 3:330 pm
‘50th Anniversary Lecture Series : Neanderthals and the Beginnings of People Like Us’
Vanderbilt University (Nashville)
- April, 11, 9:15am to 2:30pm
‘22nd Annual Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum : "The Neurobiology of Criminals"’
- April, 11, 4:00pm
‘"The emerging world of biomarkers" by Nobel Prize winner Lee Hartwell’
- April, 12, 12:00 to 5:00pm
‘Imaging Infectious Diseases’
- April, 25, 4:00pm
‘"Anatomy of a Membrane Sterol Sensor" by Nobel Prize winner Michael S. Brown’
Tennessee Tech University (Cookeville)
- April, 11
‘8th Annual Student Research Day’


University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
- April, 11, 6:00pm
‘14th Annual Willliam Darden Lecture featuring Dr. James McClintock’


-- width='35' height='25' />Good to Know


Call for projects 2013 : "LIFE SCIENCES : Inventing - Creating - Having fun"

The Office for Science & Technology (section of Los Angeles) of the Embassy of France in the United States of America will financially support French teams which participate in scientific competitions, contests or games organized by the United States, specializing in Life Sciences.
The Office for Science & Technology hopes this program will encourage students and researchers to participate in exchanges with the United States, as well as initiate collaborations between French and American scientists, and promote scientific research and practice.
Application deadline : April 14, 2013
>>For more information, also available in French GIF GIF

Marie-Curie Fellowships : Call for proposals opened until August 14, 2013

The 2013 call for proposals for Marie-Curie Fellowships (FP7- People) has been launched. These individual fellowships offer researchers of any nationality the opportunity to move abroad, within Europe and worldwide. Only experienced researchers (post-doc and beyond) are eligible, for periods of one or two years.
- International Outgoing Fellowships (IOF) will finance advanced training in high-level organizations located in non-European countries, thereby strengthening the international dimension of the European researcher’s career.
- International Incoming Fellowships (IIF) will finance research projects aimed at transferring knowledge to the host organization, and to establish or improve collaboration between Europe and the rest of the world.
- Intra-European Fellowships (IEF) will finance advanced training and career development, which may include the acquisition of new and/or complementary skills, as well as transnational mobility.

Applications are due before August 14, 2013 at 11:00am EST

>>For more information, and to apply, visit :, also available in French GIF GIF


-- width='35' height='25' />Picture of the Month


Earth day

It’s Earth Day on April 22 !

For more information

Edited by Juliane Halftermeyer, Deputy Scientific Attaché in Life Sciences, designed by Clémentine Bernon, Deputy Cultural Attaché
(c) Consulate General of France in Atlanta
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Dernière modification : 02/04/2013

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