Scientific Letter - November 2012

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

Scientific letter - Bonjour Southeast

November 2012

Southeast France Events To Know Picture


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


Dear friends,

I would like to begin this November Scientific Newsletter by congratulating Serge Haroche, French physicist, who obtained the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics in association with the American physicist, David J. Wineland and Robert J. Lefkowitz, professor at Duke University who has been award by the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Brian K. Kobilka of Stanford University, who was a post-doctoral fellow in Lefkowitz’s lab in the 1980s.

October has also been the Month for 3rd edition of France-Atlanta. Luc Sensebé, Pierre Dufresne and Christophe Cazaux, three French scientists from Toulouse, met researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University. It has also been the place for a symposium on ‘International Network for Automotive Application’ celebrating Franco-American cooperation between Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL).

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

- Weather-Making High-Pressure Systems Predicted to Intensify, Duke University (NC), 10/04/2012. GIF
High-pressure systems over oceans, which largely determine the tracks of tropical cyclones and hydrological extremes in much of the northern hemisphere, are likely to intensify this century.
>> Learn more

- Breakthrough Discovery in Fight against AIDS, University of Miami (FL), 10/08/2012. GIF
A Miller School of Medicine researcher and his team have discovered how a rare, few people infected with HIV fight off AIDS without taking antiretroviral drugs, a finding that may bring scientists a step closer to developing a vaccine for the disease.
>> Learn more

- New studies reveal connections between animals’ microbial communities and behavior, University of Georgia (GA), 10/11/2012. GIF
New research is revealing surprising connections between animal microbiomes—the communities of microbes that live inside animals’ bodies—and animal behavior. The article reviews recent developments in this emerging research area and offers questions for future investigation.
>> Learn more

- Rare cells regulate immune responses; may offer novel treatment for autoimmune diseases, Duke University (NC), 10/14/2012. GIF
Reproducing a rare type of B cell in the laboratory and infusing it back into the body may provide an effective treatment for severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
>> Learn more

- The Tropics and Global Climate Change, University of South Florida (FL), 10/18/2012. GIF
Reports of declining ice coverage and drowning polar bears in the Arctic illustrate dramatic ecosystem responses to global climate change in Earth’s polar regions. But in a first-ever account of a long-term project in the southern Caribbean, a professor at the University of South Florida working with an international team of researchers has now found that tropical ecosystems are also affected by global climatic trends and accompanying economic impacts.
>> Learn more

- Gene regulation found to play role in pulmonary hypertension, Vanderbilt University (TN), 10/18/2012. GIF
Most families with inherited pulmonary arterial hypertension — high pressure in the blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs — have mutations in the gene BMPR2. But having a BMPR2 mutation doesn’t guarantee that an individual will suffer from pulmonary hypertension; only about 20 percent of mutation carriers develop the fatal disease.
>> Learn more

- University of Florida chemists pioneer new technique for nanostructure assembly, University of Florida (FL), 10/18/2012. GIF
Materials with enhanced properties engineered from nanostructures have the potential to revolutionize the marketplace in everything from data processing to human medicine. However, attempts to assemble nanoscale objects into sophisticated structures have been largely unsuccessful. The UF study represents a major breakthrough in the field, showing how thermodynamic forces can be used to manipulate growth of nanoparticles into superparticles with unprecedented precision.
>> Learn more

- Setting traps to probe gene function, Vanderbilt University (TN), 10/18/2012. GIF
Traditional methods for studying gene function in an organism, such as disabling genes by random mutagenesis, often reveal the earliest functions of a gene and mask later functions. Assessing later gene functions, for example in metabolism, aging or behavior, requires “conditional” mutations – mutations that can be activated at certain times or in specific tissues.
>> Learn more

- Could aspirin become a targeted therapy for colon cancer?, University of Alabama (AL), 10/24/2012. GIF
Aspirin has the potential to block tumor growth in certain patients with colorectal cancer, according to an editorial in the Oct. 25, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by a University of Alabama at Birmingham oncologist. In a study that appears in the same issue, researchers examined the use of aspirin in the treatment outcomes of patients with colorectal cancer.
>> Learn more

- Primates’ brains make visual maps using triangular grids, Emory University (GA), 10/30/2012. GIF
Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have identified grid cells, neurons that fire in repeating triangular patterns as the eyes explore visual scenes, in the brains of rhesus monkeys.
>> Learn more


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


Scientific news from France

- Microfluidic analysis: faster and cheaper reliable diagnoses (only in French), Institut Curie, 10/01/2012. GIF
A new generation of analysis devices, called « microfluidics », developed by a team from the Curie Institute, could accelerate biomedical research and diagnosis of many diseases.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- A white mouse…, also available in French, Inserm, CNRS, Institut Curie, Université Paris Sud, 10/01/2012. GIF GIF
Mice with black fur that turns white? Specialist cancer researchers have taken steps to better understand the development of skin cells responsible for pigmentation (known as melanocytes).
>> Learn more

- An automated test to evaluate the effectiveness of anticancer molecules (only in French), CNRS, UMPC, Inserm, Institut Curie, 10/16/2012. GIF
French physicists and biologists have just set up a new methodology to automate the analyse of cellular migration.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- A new future for an ancient cultivation : barley enters the genomic era (only in French), International Barley Sequencing Consortium - IBSC/Inra, 10/17/2012. GIF
Better yield, higher resistance to parasites and diseases, better nutritional values, … those are the perspectives from resultats obtained by an international group of scientists that allowed establishment of a physical, genetic and functionnal map of barley’s genome.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- An exoplanet with a mass similar to Earth, the closest to our solar system ever detected (only in French), UPMC, CNRS, 10/17/2012. GIF
European astronomers, including François Bouchy, from the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, have discovered a planet with a mass slightly higher than Earth, orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B. This is the closest exoplanet to our solar system found so far.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- TIM and TAM: 2 paths used by the Dengue virus to penetrate cells, also available in French, Inserm/CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, 10/19/2012. GIF GIF
A study has identified two families of receptors that play an important part in the penetration of the Dengue virus into cells. By demonstrating that it is possible to inhibit the viral infection in vitro by blocking the bonding between the virus and these receptors, the researchers have opened the way to a new antiviral strategy.
>> Learn more

- A protein to boost immunity against cancer (only in French), Inserm, 10/19/2012. GIF
By studying the gradual change of tumoral cells which possess an anormal quantity of genetic material, researchers identified a protein which favor the elimination of those cells by the immune system. This protein could permit to reinforce antitumoral immunity in cancerous patients.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Major genes are at the origin of diversity in plants operation (only in French), Inra, CNRS, Université d’Arizona, 10/22/2012. GIF
In order to decipher the origin of diversity in plants functioning, French researchers studied genetic bases of main biological functions such as photosynthesis and growth in the model plant, Arabidopsis Thaliana. Results show that only a few genes with major effects could be at the origin of this diversity.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Understanding the genetic architecture of characteristic of agronomic interest : improvement of the methodology to study association between genotype and phenotype. (only in French), Inra, 10/22/2012. GIF
Thanks to recent technologies, we are able to identify genomic regions involved in the expression of a character, through studies associating genetic polymorphism and phenotypic variability. This methodology has been used for many years to characterize the genetic factors involved in complex diseases in humans (such as Crohn’s disease or diabetes), but also more recently in plants to study characteristics of agronomic and environmental interest.
>> Learn more (only in French)

- Hydrogen production : if cobalt could replace platinum… (only in French), CEA, CNRS, Université Jean Fourier, 10/28/2012. GIF
French researchers have set up two new materials able to replace platinum, an expensive and rare metal, in the hydrogen production from water (electrolysis).
>> Learn more (only in French)


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



Emory University (Atlanta)
- November, 8th, 12:15 to 1:15pm
‘Control of cholesterol homeostasis through ER-associated degradation’
- November, 15th, 11:30am to 12:30pm
‘Computational Design of Protein Interfaces and Switches’
Georgia State University (Atlanta)
- November, 6th, 1:30 to 2:30pm
‘The Construction of Mathematical Models for the Transmission of Disease in a Population’
- November, 14th to 17th
‘SERMACS - The Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society’
- November, 15th, 10:00am
‘Molecular Basis of Disease: Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series’
Georgie Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
- November, 2nd
‘Colloquium on History and Contributions of Nuclear Engineering at Georgia Tech’
- November, 5th, 3:00 to 4:00pm
‘Topological Excitations in Liquids and Glasses’
- November, 20th, 6:00 to 7:00pm
‘A Conversation with Bill Gates’


Florida International University (Miami)
- November, 6th, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
‘Environmental Film Series: Coastal Carnivores’
- November, 20th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
‘Global Climate Change and Tropical Forests: Adapt, Migrate or Die’
University of Central Florida (Orlando)
- November, 7th, 5:30 to 6:30pm
‘Planets, Exoplanets, Everywhere’
University of Miami (Miami)
- November, 5th, 3:30 to 4:30pm
‘CoE Distinguished Speaker Series’

North Carolina

Duke University (Duke)
- November, 5th, 12:00 to 1:00pm
‘Metabolism and cancer: Why should we care?’
- November, 29th, 11:40am to 1:00pm
‘Polymerizing Goblins and Brimstone for Energy Applications’
East Carolina University (Greenville)
- November, 6th, 9:00am to 6:00pm
‘2012 Neuroscience Symposium: Catalyst for Collaboration’
North Carolina A&T (Greensboro)
- November, 15th
‘Green and Sustainable Technology’


Tennessee State University (Nashville)
- November, 9th, 9:00am to 4:00pm
‘2nd Annual Nashville CHEW Conference’
University of Tennessee (Knoxville)
- November, 9th, 12:00 to 1:00pm
‘Trouble in Paradise: Extinction and Conservation of Tropical Island Birds’
- November, 10th
‘Protecting Our Water Resources: A Microbiologist’s Perspective’
Vanderbilt University (Nashville)
- November, 2nd, 9:30am to 4:45pm
‘15th Annual HIV Symposium— Balance of Care: From Stigma to Toxicity’
- November, 7th , 12:00 to 1:00pm
‘Molecular Physiogy & Biophysics Guest Lecture Series presents Steve Farber’
- November, 13th, 12:00 to 1:00pm
‘Medical Education Grand Rounds: reativity, Change, Innovation and Transformation in the Continuum of Medical Education: A Report from the AAMC Annual Meeting


University of Mississippi (Oxford)
- November, 5th, 1:00 to 3:00pm
‘Starting a Business - First Steps’


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


Chateaubriand Fellowships: Call for 2013-2014

The Chateaubriand Fellowship program is designed for doctoral students enrolled in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory for a 4 to 9 month period.
All STEM and Health disciplines are eligible.
The deadline for applications is February 1, 2013, for a stay which can begin from September 1, 2013 to April 1, 2014.
>>More information and registration GIF

Call for Partner University Fund (PUF) Grants: 2013-2014

The Embassy of France to the United States and the FACE Foundation are accepting application proposals for the Partner University Fund (PUF). PUF promotes innovative collaborations in research and education between French and American institutions of higher education.
PUF supports emerging transatlantic partnerships with the potential to continue beyond the initial 3 year grant. Partnerships may combine elements such as:
- Joint initiatives in research and publications
- Faculty and postdoctoral mobility
- Collaboration in teaching
- Shared programs
- Joint and dual degrees at the master’s and PhD levels.

Projects must be jointly submitted by at least one American and one French university.

Project proposals must be submitted by January 7, 2013.
>>Learn more, also available in French GIF GIF
>>For more information and application instructions, or contact /+1 212 439 1463.


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


Mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent

Shinya Yamanaka, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University
iPS cells derived from adult human dermal fibroblasts

The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.

John B. Gurdon discovered in 1962 that the specialisation of cells is reversible. In a classic experiment, he replaced the immature cell nucleus in an egg cell of a frog with the nucleus from a mature intestinal cell. This modified egg cell developed into a normal tadpole. The DNA of the mature cell still had all the information needed to develop all cells in the frog.

Shinya Yamanaka discovered more than 40 years later, in 2006, how intact mature cells in mice could be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells. Surprisingly, by introducing only a few genes, he could reprogram mature cells to become pluripotent stem cells, i.e. immature cells that are able to develop into all types of cells in the body.

These groundbreaking discoveries have completely changed our view of the development and cellular specialisation. We now understand that the mature cell does not have to be confined forever to its specialised state. Textbooks have been rewritten and new research fields have been established. By reprogramming human cells, scientists have created new opportunities to study diseases and develop methods for diagnosis and therapy.
For more information : The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012

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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Last modified on 06/11/2012

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