Scientific Letter - August 2012

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

August 2012

Southeast France Events Picture


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


Dear friends,

This month, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) discovered a new elementary particle, the Higgs boson. This subatomic particle was the missing piece of the standard model of particle physics, used by the scientific community to describe how the matter and the universe work.

French and American scientists retraced the genetic history of American populations. Geneticists were also able to sequence the DNA of parrots and bananas.

As a lot of people are concerned by climate changes, American scientists analyzed effects of these changes on the coral reef, when French scientists focused on the Antarctic.

The International AIDS Conference also took place this month in Washington. Thousands of people (scientists, politicians, …) were there to find a way to end the pandemic.

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

- Hormone Discovered That Preserves Insulin Production and Beta Cell Function in Diabetes, Duke University (NC), 07/02/2012. GIF
Researchers have found protective, anti-diabetic functions for a hormone that, like insulin, is produced by the islet cells of the pancreas. The new hormone was found to stimulate insulin secretion from rat and human islet cells and protect islet cells in the presence of toxic, cell-killing factors used in the study.
>> Learn more

- DNA Sequenced for Parrots’ Ability to Parrot, Duke University (NC), 07/02/2012. GIF
Scientists say they have assembled more completely the string of genetic letters that could control how well parrots learn to imitate their owners and other sounds.
>> Learn more

- Study in Nature sheds new light on planet formation, University of Georgia (GA), 07/04/2012. GIF
A study published in the July 5 edition of the journal Nature is challenging scientists’ understanding of planet formation, suggesting that planets might form much faster than previously thought or, alternatively, that stars harboring planets could be far more numerous.
>> Learn more

- Climate Change Drives Coral Reefs toward Ecosystem Collapse, Florida Institute of Technology (FL), 07/05/2012. GIF
Coral reefs could be on the verge of a total ecosystem collapse lasting thousands of years, according to a paper published this week in Science. The paper shows how natural climatic shifts stalled reef growth in the eastern Pacific for 2,500 years.
>> Learn more

- New cancer drug shows promise in early testing, Vanderbilt University (TN), 07/12/2012. GIF
An experimental drug that activates T-cells and promotes an immune response to fight tumors has shown promising early results in patients with kidney cancer, melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer.
>> Learn more

- UF researchers develop “nanorobot” that can be programmed to target different diseases, University of Florida (FL), 07/16/2012. GIF
Researchers have moved a step closer to treating diseases on a cellular level by creating a tiny particle that can be programmed to shut down the genetic production line that cranks out disease-related proteins.
>> Learn more

- Insights for neuroscience drug discovery, Vanderbilt University (TN), 07/17/2012. GIF
Drugs that selectively activate the “M1” type of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor are being explored as new treatments for schizophrenia and other major brain disorders.
>> Learn more

- UA researchers find marsh healing, University of Alabama (AL), 07/19/2012. GIF
Nature is healing itself in the Gulf of Mexico. Two years after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, one marsh in the Gulf appears free of oil, apparently without any outside help.
>> Learn more

- Traveling Through the Volcanic Conduit, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA), 07/23/2012. GIF
How much ash will be injected into the atmosphere during Earth’s next volcanic eruption? Recent eruptions have demonstrated our continued vulnerability to ash dispersal, which can disrupt the aviation industry and cause billions of dollars in economic loss.
>> Learn more


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


Scientific news from France

- Snow could offset global warming in Antarctica, also available in French, CNRS, 07/01/2012. GIF GIF
Increased snowfall in Antarctica could offset the future impact of global warming on the continent, according to research carried out by a French team. The research reveals the existence of a hitherto underestimated negative feedback mechanism acting on temperatures.
>> Learn more

- Immunology : When epigenetics « stabilizes » T lymphocytes specialization (only in French), Institut Curie, Inserm, CNRS, 07/04/2012. GIF
Researchers published in Nature works showing for the first time that epigenetic mechanisms, leaning on genetic material « architecture », take part in specialization of some cells of the immune systems, the helper T cells.
>> Learn more (only in French).

- the "appetite suppressant" effect of proteins clarified (only in French), Inserm, CNRS, 07/05/2012. GIF
Frequently recommended in slimming diet, food proteins showed their efficiency due to their « appetite suppressant » effect. Gilles Mithieux’s team explained biological mechanisms underlying this property.
>> Learn more (only in French).

- Biphotonic microscopy is going to color (only in French), CNRS, Inserm, 07/09/2012. GIF
Work published in Nature Methods demonstrate a new strategy of multicolor biphotonic microscopy adapted to deep observation of intact biological tissues marked with distinct chromophores.
>> Learn more (only in French).

- At the heart of the infinitely small, Inserm , 07/11/2012. GIF
Inserm researchers have succeeded in filming moving biological molecules barely 5 nanometres in size, something that was unimaginable a few years ago. This outstanding technical feat, performed by the research team headed by Simon Scheuring makes use of a quite unprecedented method based on atomic force microscopy.
>> Learn more

- The genetic history of American populations, also available in French, CNRS, 07/11/2012. GIF GIF
The most complete study retracing the history of the Amerindian populations’ gene pool has been completed on the basis of the genetic data of 500 individuals from 52 Native American and 17 Siberian populations. The analysis, covering 364,470 genetic markers, made it possible to take into account for the first time the mixing of European and African genes within each individual.
>> Learn more

- Banana genome sequencing completed, also available in French, CIRAD, CEA-Genoscope, 07/12/2012. GIF GIF
A team of genetics researchers has successfully deciphered the 520 million base pairs of the banana genome. After two years of work researchers have completed the sequencing of the Musa acuminata genome, which is found in all edible banana varieties (dessert bananas and plantains).
>> Learn more

- X-rays illuminate the origin of volcanic hotspots, also available in French, CNRS, 07/19/2012. GIF GIF
Scientists have recreated the extreme conditions at the boundary between Earth’s core and its mantle, 2,900 km beneath the surface.
>> Learn more

- Atomic nucleus: fissile liquid or vital molecule? (only in French), CEA, CNRS, 07/19/2012. GIF
A new view unifying both liquid-nucleus and molecule-nucleus has been revealed. Researchers showed, for the first time, one of the necessary conditions for the formation, in atomic nucleus, of molecular behaviors.
>> Learn more (only in French).


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



Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
- August, 10th, 11:00am to 3:00pm
‘Learning by Innovative Neuro Collaborations Symposium – LINCR’
- August, 27th, 3:00 to 4:00pm
‘Colloquium - Richard D. Hazeltine’
University of Georgia (Athens)
- August, 18th, 11:00am
‘Microbial Regulation of Oceanic Carbon Cycling’
- August, 22th, 4:00pm
‘Systems Biology of the Clock’
- August, 29th, 4:00pm
Kirsten Bomblies


University of Miami (Miami)
- August, 9th, 5:00 to 6:00pm
‘The Intermediate Filament-Based Hsp70 Rescue of Atypical PKC is Strongly Inhibited by Pro-Inflammatory Signaling’

North Carolina

North Carolina State University (Raleigh)
- August, 20th, 1:30pm
Dr. Jill Bettinger
- August, 27th, 1:30pm
Dr. David Mittelman


Vanderbilt University (Nashville)
- August, 18th
Vanessa J Austin Book Signing
- August, 20th , 6:30 to 9:00pm
‘Fragile X Symposium: Transitions and Adulthood’


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



CDC/ Alyne Harrison, Erskine Palmer, Paul Feorino
This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts HIV-1 budding and free virions.

From 22nd to 27th of July, the XIX International AIDS Conference took place in Washington, DC, USA. 33.4 million of persons are living with HIV/AIDS around the world (1.2 million in the US). During this conference, people working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers and persons living with HIV committed to ending the pandemic.
For more information : AIDS in the United States (only in French).

Edited by Juliane Halftermeyer, Deputy Scientific Attaché in Life Sciences, designed by Clémentine Bernon, Deputy Cultural Attaché
(c) Consulate General of France in Atlanta
Please send us your feedback, comments or suggestions by sending an email to
To subscribe, follow this link. To unsubscribe, send an email to

Last modified on 27/07/2012

top of the page