Scientific Letter - June 2012

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

June 2012

Southeast France Events To Know Picture


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


Dear Friends,

The June’s Scientific Letter is my first newsletter here at the Consulate General of France in Atlanta. I will be happy to keep you informed of every scientific news from here in the Southeast, as well as from the U.S. and France.

This month, scientists from Duke University (NC) discovered a gene involved in autism, schizophrenia and obesity thanks to the zebrafish.
At the same time in France, researchers from the Institut Pasteur/CNRS developed a new optical approach to visualize molecules in living cells at a resolution 10 times better than that of classical microscopes.

In May, a new cancer genomic center in Emory University (Atlanta, GA), the Emory Molecular Interaction Center for Functional Genomics (MicFG) received a five-year, $4.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to focus on protein-protein interactions in order to make significant contributions to drug discovery for the treatment of cancer.

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

- Zebrafish study isolates gene related to autism, schizophrenia and obesity, Duke University Health System (NC), 05/16/2012. GIF
What can a fish tell us about human brain development? Researchers at Duke University Medical Center transplanted a set of human genes into a zebrafish and then used it to identify genes responsible for head size at birth.
>> Learn more

- Just a Few Cell Clones Can Make Heart Muscle, Duke University Health System (NC), 04/25/2012. GIF
Just a handful of cells in the embryo are all that’s needed to form the outer layer of pumping heart muscle in an adult zebrafish.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center used zebrafish embryos and careful employment of a new technique that allows for up to 90 color labels on different cells to track individual cells and cell lines as the heart formed.
>> Learn more

- VU research team’s vision study yields eye-opening results, Vanderbilt University (TN), 05/10/2012. GIF
The pulvinar, a mysterious structure buried in the center of our brains, determines how we see the world — and whether we see at all.
That’s the dogma-shattering conclusion reached by Vanderbilt University neuroscientists in a report published online this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
>> Learn more

- UAB study finds sigmoidoscopy reduces colorectal cancer rate, University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL), 05/21/2012. GIF
Research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as part of a national study reveals that flexible sigmoidoscopy — a screening test for colorectal cancer that is less invasive and has fewer side-effects than colonoscopy — reduces deaths due to colorectal cancer.
>> Learn more

- Discovery Suggests New Combination Therapy Strategy for Basal-Like Breast Cancers, University of North Caroline Lineberger (NC), 05/21/2012. GIF
Multiple research projects – including a 2006 study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – have used DNA microarray analysis to identify several breast cancer subtypes, including luminal A, luminal B, basal-like and HER2-enriched. Simple tests are being developed to help doctors identify these subtypes and to treat their patients in a more biologically-based way. In turn, these tests have made several studies possible that indicate that basal-like, or triple negative breast cancer, is more prevalent in African Americans than their Caucasian counterparts.
>> Learn more

- Gene therapy for hearing loss: potential and limitations, Emory University (GA), 04/09/2012. GIF
Regenerating sensory hair cells, which produce electrical signals in response to vibrations within the inner ear, could form the basis for treating age- or trauma-related hearing loss. One way to do this could be with gene therapy that drives new sensory hair cells to grow.
>> Learn more


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


Scientific news from France

- New ultra-thin electronic films have greater capacity also available in French, CNRS, 05/09/2012. GIF GIF
The development of a new combination of polymers associating sugars with oil-based macromolecules makes it possible to design ultra-thin films capable of self-organization with a 5-nanometer resolution. This opens up new horizons for increasing the capacity of hard discs and the speed of microprocessors.
>> Learn more

- A new optical microscopy approach opens the door to better observations in molecular biology also available in French, CNRS, Institut Pasteur, 05/16/2012. GIF GIF
Researchers from the Institut Pasteur and CNRS have set up a new optical microscopy approach that combines two recent imaging techniques in order to visualize molecular assemblies without affecting their biological functions, at a resolution 10 times better than that of traditional microscopes. Using this approach, they were able to observe the AIDS virus and its capsids (containing the HIV genome) within cells at a scale of 30 nanometres, for the first time with light.
>> Learn more

- Learning and memory: the role of neo-neurons revealed also available in French, CNRS, Institut Pasteur, 05/14/2012. GIF GIF
Researchers at the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS have recently identified in mice the role played by neo-neurons formed in the adult brain. By using selective stimulation the researchers were able to show that these neo-neurons increase the ability to learn and memorize difficult cognitive tasks. This newly discovered characteristic of neo-neurons to assimilate complex information could open up new avenues in the treatment of some neurodegenerative diseases.
>> Learn more

- Speed-dating in organic chemistry also available in French, CEA, 05/16/2012. GIF GIF
Researchers at the CEA have recently developed a new approach for discovering chemical reactions never observed before. Based on the miniaturization of experiments and on the use of a new high-throughput screening technique , this approach now makes it possible for researchers to carry out up to a thousand experiments a day, compared with just one before now.
>> Learn more

- Aging of the brain: genetic modifications now identified also available in French, Inserm, 04/16/2012. GIF GIF
The hippocampus is a part of the brain that shrinks as we age, causing memory disorders. An acceleration of this phenomenon is one of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Joint international work involving French (1) research teams has shown that genetic mutations are linked to the reduction of the hippocampal volume.
>> Learn more


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



University of Florida Health Science Center
- June, 4th-8th
’UF Metabolomics Workshop’
- June, 14th, 4-6pm
’Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for the Primary Prevention of HIV: A Key to an HIV-Free Generation’
University of Miami Health System
- June, 4th, 9.30am
’Project SHARE Seminar: "Evaluating Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Using Community Viral Load and Other Surveillance Indicators"’
- June, 5th, noon
’Cell Biology Research Forum: "Bacterial Signaling at Intestinal Mucosal Interface—Protection, Inflammation, Repair, and Beyond"’

North Carolina

Duke University (Durham)
- June, 6th, 12-1pm
’Neural state dynamics: Optical & Molecular approaches’
- June, 27th, 4-5pm
’Complete sequencing and human disease: A genetic approach to genomics’
University of North Carolina (Chapel hill)
- June, 7th, 3pm
’The Genetic Architecture of Quantitative Traits:
Lessons From Drosophila’


Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
- June, 13th, 7-8pm
’Hydrogen Cars, Ethanol, Wind Farms and other Silly Ideas’
Georgia State University (Atlanta)
- June, 14th-15th
’14th annual Summer Institute in Communication Disorders’


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


National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), June 27, is an annual observance to promote HIV testing. The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) founded the day in 1995 and continues to be the lead for this observance.
>>Learn more GIF

7 south-east American and 2 French scientists have been elected as member of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Seven of them are scientists from the Southeast : Pr. Bartels, Larry M. (Vanderbilt University, TN), Pr. Blake, Randolph (Vanderbilt University, TN), Pr. DeSimone, Joseph M. (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC), Pr. Dong, Xinnian (Duke University, NC), Pr. Klee, Harry J.(University of Florida, Gainesville, FL), Pr. Levin, Bruce R. (Emory University, GA) and Pr. Simberloff, Daniel (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN). Two French scientists have also been elected in the NAS as foreign associates: Pr. Duboule, Denis (University of Geneva, Suisse) and Pr. Sansonetti, Philippe (Institut Pasteur, France).
>>Learn more GIF


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


Observation of the solar eclipse

Credits: ESA/ROB
ESA’s space weather microsatellite Proba-2 observed the solar eclipse on the evening of 20 May 2012. The event was used to assess the intensity of stormy ’active regions’ across the Sun’s face and to check the performance of Proba-2’s SWAP imager.

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 01/06/2012

top of the page