We are delighted to invite you to the first "Café des Sciences" in Denver, CO , co-organized with the French Cultural and Language Center , " The Alliance Française de Denver" on March 8th at 6pm. Dr. Benoît Cerutti will give a talk entitled "Latest news from the high-energy Universe". The presentation will be held in French.
YEi (“Young Entrepreneurs Initiative”) is a non-profit program that aims to encourage American innovative entrepreneurs to start or expand their ventures to France. It was launched in 2005 by the Embassy of France in the United States (Boston Office for Science and Technology). In 2010, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs selected Retis, the French federation of incubators, as the new parent for the “Young Entrepreneurs Initiative” (Yei).
The Retis team invites you to join them on March 20th in Los Angeles (morning) and Pasadena (afternooon) to informational sessions discussing what Yei can do for you. The meetings initially scheduled on March 7th and announced as such in our previous newsletter had to be postponed. For more information about the YEi sessions, please contact Audrey Guazzone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and bonne lecture!
Fabien Agenes, Scientific Attaché
Manon Lecomte, Deputy Scientific Attaché
Colleen O’Brien, Science and Technology Intern
February 1, 2012: Caltech Study Supports Model for Locating Genetic Damage Through DNA Charge Transport
Caltech chemist Jacqueline Barton has been researching a model that describes how repair proteins work to locate and fix damaged DNA within our bodies. The model suggests that two DNA-bound proteins use DNA to transport electrons between themselves. If a defect in the DNA, known as a lesion, exists then the electron cannot be transported and the proteins attempt to locate the lesion. For this reason, only proteins that are able to send or receive electrons can detect lesions. In their study, Barton and her team researched a protein involved in both DNA repair and replication known as XPD. They found that XPD and another repair protein EndoIII are able to signal each other in order to locate a lesion on a mismatched strand of DNA. The key to this coordination is the comparable electric potentials between the two types of proteins. "If the two proteins are not at similar potentials, you’re not going to get accurate cooperation,” says Pam Sontz, lead author of the study and graduate student at Caltech. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: Researchers Study Kaposi’s Sarcoma Virus
Scientists at USC and the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio have discovered a way to infect a healthy cell with the virus which causes Kaposi’s sarcoma. Kaposi’s sarcoma is the number one cancer in many areas in Africa, it is particularly known to afflict AIDS patients. Researchers do not yet fully understand transmission of the virus since it appears that healthy individuals can be infected and never exhibit any symptoms. The virus, however, becomes much more of a concern for those with compromised immune systems. By being able to infect and sustain human, mouse and rat cells scientists hope that they will be able to study the virus further and for longer spans of time, allowing them develop a better understanding of this type of cancer. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: Obese Women on Depo-Provera May Increase Diabetes Risk, Study Shows
According to a study by researchers at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, Obese women may increase their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by using the birth control shot, Depo-Provera. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is a progestin-only contraceptive that is administered by injection every three months. Most oral contraceptives increase the risks of blood clots which is why DMPA and other progestin-only methods are the only hormonal contraceptives recommended for obese women over the age of 35. In this study, researches compared the insulin sensitivity, body mass index; blood sugar and cholesterol levels of five women at a normal weight and five overweight women before the injection and 18 weeks after. They found that both normal weight and overweight women became more insulin resistant after the injection, however normal weight women were able to compensate for this by producing more insulin. The study suggests that other forms of long-term birth control, such as intrauterine contraception may be a more effective choice for overweight women. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: UCLA researchers identify peptide that inhibits replication of hepatitis C virus
Dr. Samuel French, a UCLA assistant professor of pathology, and his research team have identified a cell-permeable peptide that inhibits a hepatitis C virus protein and blocks the viral replication that can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Approximately 160 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C and many of the current treatments have severe side effects. French says this new discovery is a “potentially highly efficacious way” to stop the spread of the hepatitis C virus throughout the body and prevent further complications the virus could cause. The peptide easily gains entrance into the cell and prevents the progression of cellular events which allow the virus to replicate from occurring. French and his team hope to develop an improved model of the current peptide which is smaller in size to improve cell penetration and liver targeting. The new peptide will be tested in animal models. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: UCI biologists turn up the heat on bacteria, discover mutation pattern
A team of UCI biologists investigating populations of E. coli have discovered that under high temperatures bacteria genetically adapt in two very distinct ways. Researchers placed the organisms in an environment at a temperature of 108° F or 42°C. In the populations which survived, the team was able to identify 1,331 mutations affecting more then 600 sites in the bacterial DNA. They found that the E. coli populations adapted by mutating one of two pathways. The team hopes that their findings could aid in the development of better ethanol and biofuels and microorganisms designed to clean up various environments. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: Heat and Cold Damage Corals in Their Own Ways, Scripps Study Shows
Coral reefs around the world are being threatened by climate change and shifts in sea temperatures. Most scientists have been focused on the harm caused by ocean warming but extreme cold-water events, which have become much more frequent, can cause large-scale coral bleaching events as well. A new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego compares the damage to coral reefs exposed to both warmer and colder waters. The study shows that corals subjected to colder temperatures initially suffered greater damage but were eventually able to adjust and stabilize their health and continue to grow, unlike corals subjected to heat which suffered severe bleaching and growth stoppage leading to the deaths of most of these organisms. As climate change continues, many coral reefs are annually forced with colder winters and warmer summers, this type of stress could cause irreversible to damage to these natural phenomena. To access the full article: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressreleases/heat_and_cold_damage_corals_in_their_own_ways_scripps_study_shows/
February 3, 2012: What’s Best for Your Aging Brain?
USC Davis School of Gerontology professor, Elizabeth M. Zelinski recently published an article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on her findings from a study on the best way to keep your mind sharp as you age. Results showed that both cognitive and aerobic exercise have similar effects in improving your performance on tasks in which they had not been trained. “There are different routes to the same outcome,” says Zelinksi, “but it doesn’t mean one route is better than another.” Zelinksi admits that the team has a long way to go in understanding what the specific sources of different cognitive effects are, but researchers hope that this new data can shed light onto different ways to prevent or delay the onset of dementia. To access the full article:
February 3, 2012: UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Offers New Hope for Deadly Brain Tumor
The most common and most aggressive type of brain tumor in the United States, affecting approximately 10,000 patients per year, is recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). On average, patients with recurrent GBM survive less than 15 months with optimal treatment. A new clinical trial called Tumor Treating Fields (TTF) is offering new hope to these patients. TTF is a non-invasive procedure which uses alternating electrical fields to disrupt the rapid cell division of the cancer cells. TTF provides physicians with an alternative treatment option to surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The FDA approved device is currently intended to be used only as an option when all other surgical and radiation options have been exhausted.To access the full article:
February 6, 2012: Cell Aging Process may be Understood by Studying Extremely Long-Lived Proteins
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered that certain proteins, known as extremely long-lived proteins (ELLPs), found on the surface of neurons, have a remarkably long lifespan. The lifespan of most proteins is only a day or two but ELLPs found in the rat brain were as old as the organisms themselves. This discovery suggests that these proteins last for the organism’s entire lifetime without ever being replaced. The wear-and-tear that these proteins undergo over a lifetime could weaken their ability to perform their main function: forming transport channels on the surface of the nucleus that control which materials enter and exit. If these channels did not function properly the cell’s nucleus could be exposed to harmful toxins. Researchers believe that these toxins could be the cause of cell aging and declining neuron function. To access the full article:
February 7, 2012: Study Produces New Findings on Autism and GI Dysfunction
Pat Levitt, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC recently published a study on the importance of screening autistic children for gastrointestinal dysfunction (GID). The study showed that children with major language problems have a higher likelihood of undiagnosed GI problems because they are less able to express their physical symptoms. Physicians must listen carefully to parents who report that their children, particularly those with autism, are suffering from gastrointestinal problems. Researchers hope that their study will make physicians aware of this problem and listen more closely to parents’ reports and concerns. To access the full article:
February 8, 2012: Fasting Weakens Cancer in Mice
In a recent study by Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, researchers found that chemotherapy drugs work better when combined with cycles of short, severe fasting. In mice with a highly aggressive type of children’s neuroendocrine cancer, twenty percent were cured when treated with chemotherapy combined with multiple cycles of fasting. Professor Longo has stressed that this type of treatment may not be safe for all patients, like those who have already lost more than ten percent of their normal body weight. But for those patients whose bodies are still strong enough to withstand these fasting cycles this alternative treatment has given them new hope for the future. To access the full article:
February 8, 2012: Caltech Researchers Develop Gene Therapy to Boost Brain Repair for Demyelinating Diseases
Myelin is a material which forms insulation structures around the axons of nerve cells so that they can send signals quickly and efficiently. They are vital in ensuring that systems run smoothly throughout the body, but these structures are often damaged by demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). This damage inhibits communication between neurons. Researchers at California Institute of Technology have been searching for a way to help the brain repair the damaged myelin structures. Lead author, Benjamin Deverman, a lead author of the paper, says the new therapy use a naturally occurring protein to promote the renewal of neural stem cells and reduce attacks to myelin. Researchers hope that a clinical trial for this new therapy will occur somewhere in the near future. To access the full article:
February 8, 2012: UCLA scientists boost memory by stimulating key site in brain
Neuroscientists at UCLA have demonstrated that patient memory can be strengthened by stimulating a site in the brain called the entorhinal cortex which plays a vital role in transforming daily experiences into long term memories. Researchers used electrodes implanted in the brains of epilepsy patients to record neuron activity as memories were being formed. They found that deep-brain stimulation of the entorhinal cortex improved memory in these patients. Further research will determine whether this treatment could be used to improve recall of verbal and autobiographical memories as well. Researchers hope that this therapy could someday be used to treat Amzheimer’s patients. To access the full article:
February 9, 2012: New method Makes Culture of Complex Tissue Possible in any Lab
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new method for culturing tissue in three-dimensional arrangements that mimic those in the body. This new advance would allow the production of tissue culture scaffolds containing multiple distinct layers. This process is also more affordable then previous methods. Lead author, Jerome Karpiack, a graduate student in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Program says this new technology offers “spatial control over structure and composition of stratified tissue scaffolds”. Because manipulations of structures in molecules will become much easier using this technique, researchers hope to use it to advance the study of development and disease, in particular the study of how surrounding molecules affect the growth of axons in neurodevelopment disorders.
To access the full article:
February 10, 2012: Complex wiring of the nervous system may rely on just a handful of genes and proteins
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered that only a few proteins on the edge of a motor neuron’s axon guide the nerve as it emerges from the spinal cord. These molecules can attract or repel an axon to guide it to the muscle it wishes to connect with. Sam Pfaff, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory compares the process a neuron uses to find its way to a GPS signal directing a car. The study focused on motor neurons but the same type of process is occurring through the entire nervous system. This research may help doctors and scientists to better understand diseases related to nerve cell functioning, such as ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The study may also offer insight into cancer development since this same signaling system is also linked to a number of different kinds of tumors.
To access the full article:
February 13, 2012: UCLA engineers create tandem polymer solar cells that set record for energy-conversion
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and UCLA’s California Nanosystems Institute have significantly enhanced the performance of polymer solar cells, cells used for light absorption and conversion into electricity. They have improved them by creating a new device which combines multiple cells with different absorption bands. The device’s power conversion efficiency rose to a record-breaking 10.6%. By using different absorption bands the cells are able to harvest a broader spectrum of solar radiation. The challenge with these tandem solar cells is finding two materials which are compatible with each other. Researchers used a new infrared absorbing polymer material which further enhanced the device’s efficiency. Yang Yang, a professor of materials science and engineering says his team hopes to reach 15% efficiency in the next few years. To access the full article:
February 14, 2012: USC Team Tracks Down Cause of Birth Defect
A USC research team has pinpointed the source of the genetic disorder known as Loeys-Dietz syndrome or Marfan syndrome type II which causes life-threatening birth defects such as cleft palates and fatal heart defects. This new discovery may allow doctors to more quickly diagnose and better treat the disease. Researchers found that patients had an abnormally high amount of the protein, Transforming Growth Factor Beta which controls many functions within cells and is heavily involved in palate formation. Elevated levels of this protein could serve as an indicator for the disease and allow doctors to begin treating the genetic disorder much earlier on.
To access the full article:
February 15, 2012: UCLA scientists report link between traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder
UCLA life scientists recently published a study which suggests that people who suffer a mild traumatic brain injury are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder for at least some period of time. The study observed a correlation of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for reasons which are unknown. Researchers had hypothesized that because events that cause brain injury are often also very frightening and the link between the two could be merely incidental. Scientists conducted the study by incurring separate physical and emotional traumas on rats. The study showed that those rats who had experienced TBI acquired more fear than those who had not. The amygdala, the brain’s center for fear learning, was left in a more excitable state after brain injury, which causes those who have experienced TBI to be more susceptible to potent fear and anxiety. To access the full article:
February 17, 2012: UCLA discovery that migrating cells ’turn right’ has implications for engineering tissues, organs
A UCLA research tea, discovered that migrating cells prefer to turn right when encountering changes in their environment and that this creates a left-right asymmetry on a tissue level. “Tissues and organs are not simply a collection of cells but require careful architecture and design to function normally,” says senior author Dr. Linda L. Demer of the Geffen School of Medicine. The team hopes to harness this phenomenon by using changes in the environment to influence the direction of cell migration and produce desired structures for tissue replacement. He next stage of research will be to control and guide cells to self-organize into two-dimensional and even three-dimensional patterns chosen by the researchers. To access the full article:
February 21, 2012: Combined use of recommended heart failure therapies significantly boost survival odds
A UCLA study has found that a combination of several therapies for heart failure treatment resulted in an improvement of up to 90% in the odds of survival over two years. Researchers used the following therapies in their study: beta blockers, aldosterone antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers; cardiac resynchronization therapy; anti-coagulant therapy for atrial fibrillation; implantable cardioverter-defribrillator devices; and heart-failure patient education. As each therapy was added the overall survival rate increased incrementally, however the survival benefit appeared to plateau once a patient received four to five therapies. Beta Blockers and cardiac resynchronization provided the greatest individual benefits by lowering the odds of mortality 42% and 44% respectively while only aldosterone antagonists provided no improved mortality benefit at all. This new discovery could lead to new treatments and combination therapies for heart failure.
To access the full article:
February 22, 2012: USC Scientists Reveal Clues About Structure of Proteins
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC School of Pharmacy were able to explain the overall rope-like structure of the fibrils formed by proteins in type 2 diabetes. The fibrils are contained in proteins that change shape, clump together and deposit in affected areas of the body in patients suffering from diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Researchers hope that by gaining a better understanding of what makes these proteins go bad they can work to develop new therapies to treat these diseases. To access the full article:
February 24, 2012: Research Aims to Improve Therapy of Head and Neck Cancer
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and The State University of New York at Buffalo have developed a method that increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer treatment in mouse models by more than 50 percent. The method is designed to defeat a built-in defense mechanism that most head and neck tumors have which helps them to fight off radiation therapy. This mechanism forces oncologists to deliver large doses of radiation to patients causing tissue damage and other significant side effects. This new method uses a nanoparticle formulation to sensitize the tumor making radiation a more effective treatment. The nanoparticle is delivered by a direct injection pump developed by USC Viterbi School of Engineering associate professor Ellis Meng. Animals treated with the nanoparticle formulation showed no ill effects from the drug. The next step is clinical trials to test the efficacy of injection and the pump in humans.
To access the full article:
February 27, 2012: Hyperactivity in brain may explain multiple symptoms of depression
Depression researchers have always sought to identify what areas of the brain are responsible for causing symptoms of depression like anxiety, sleep disturbances and poor attention and concentration. But the combination of so many symptoms suggested to UCLA researchers that the multiple symptoms of depression lay be linked to a malfunction involving connection that link different brain regions. Now, for the first time, UCLA researchers have shown that people with depression have increased connections among most brain areas. A depressed brain maintains the ability to form functional connections but loses the ability to turn these connections off when necessary. “The area of the brain that showed the greatest degree of abnormal connections was the prefrontal cortex, which is heavily involved in regulating mood and solving problems,” says Dr; Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. The next step in their research will be to see how anti-depressants work to ’repair’ the brains electrical connections and normalize brain connectivity. To access the full article:
February 29, 2012: Understanding Bacterial Sensors
Nearly all motile bacteria can sense and respond to their surroundings—finding food, avoiding poisons, and targeting cells to infect, for example—through a process called chemotaxis. Because chemotaxis plays a critical role in the first steps of bacterial infection, a better understanding of the process could pave the way for the development of new, more effective antibiotics. In an effort to better understand chemotaxis, Grant Jensen, a professor of biology at Caltech, has been working with research specialist Ariane Briegel to determine the exact arrangement of chemoreceptors – proteins that extend, like antennae and are used as the primary tool of chemotaxis. Jensen and Briegel have uncovered new data about the structure and shape of these chemoreceptors. Their next step is to determine which structural changes take place when an attractant binds to a chemoreceptor to send a signal to the rest of the cell to begin moving in that direction. To access the full article:
February 2, 2012: Gene regulator in brain’s executive hub tracked across lifespan-NIH study
Scientists have, for the first time, been able to track the activity of a responsive regulatory mechanism, called DNA methylation, which turns genes on and off in the brain’s executive hub. Lead author, Barbara Lipska, Ph.D, a scientist in the NIH’s Hational Institute of Mental Health, says that “developmental brain disorders may be traceable to altered methylation of genes in early life. For example, genes that code for enzymes that carry out methylation have been implicated in schizophrenia.” In a companion studied published in October of 2011, researchers traced expression of gene products in the prefrontal cortex. Both studies found that the more methylation which occurs; the less gene expression. Researchers hope to be able to use their findings to better understand the onset and appropriate treatments for mental illnesses. To access the full article:
February 6, 2012: Fending Off Cardiovascular Disease
The Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project, led by Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, confirmed that traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking, significantly raise the chance of major CVD events over the course of a lifetime. The study found that differences in risk factors translated into marked differences in the lifetime risk of CVD. For example, 55-year-old men with at least 2 major risk factors were 3 times more likely to die from CVD by age 80 as those with only one risk factor. “These data have important implications for prevention. We need to get more serious about promoting healthy lifestyles in children and young adults; since even mild elevations in risk factors by middle age seem to have profound effects on the remaining lifetime risks for CVD,” says Lloyd-Jones. To access the full article:
February 8, 2012: NIH study links high levels of cadmium, lead in blood to pregnancy delay
According to a study by researchers at NIH, higher blood levels of cadmium in females and lead in males can cause delayed pregnancy in couples trying to become pregnant. Cigarette smoke is the most common source of cadmium exposure. Smokers are estimated to have at least twice the levels of cadmium as non-smokers. Common sources of lead exposure in the U.S. include lead-based paint in older homes, lead glazed pottery, contaminated soil and contaminated drinking water. The study found that the probability of pregnancy was reduced by 22 percent with each increase in the level of cadmium and about 15 percent with each increase in the level of blood lead concentrations. Our results indicate that men and women planning to have children should minimize their exposure to lead and cadmium,” says Dr. Buck Louis. “They can reduce cadmium exposure by avoiding cigarettes or by quitting if they are current smokers, especially if they intend to become pregnant in the future. Similarly, they can take steps to reduce their exposure to lead based paints.”To access the full article:
February 10, 2012: Drug halts organ damage in inflammatory genetic disorder
A new study shows that Kineret, a medication approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is effective in stopping the progression of organ damage in people with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), a rare and debilitating genetic disorder which causes persistent inflammation and ongoing tissue damage. Kineret blocks the production of q protein which is overproduced in NOMID and a number of other diseases and leads to damaging inflammation. Researchers found that Kineret was successful in preventing organ inflammation and allowed doctors to preserve organ function in most patients. Researchers also found ways to predict which NOMID patients are at higher risks for hearing or vision loss. Early diagnosis is critical to stopping organ damage from developing. Kineret is not a cure for NOMID, its effects only last as long as the drug is taken, but researchers hope that this new treatment can offer a better life to those suffering from the disease. To access the full article:
February 13, 2012: Genes Affect Sex Differences in Behavior
A team of scientists led by Dr. Nirao Shah at the University of California, Can Francisco suspected that sex hormones influence gene expression in the brain. They found that 16 genes found in two sections of the brain, the hypothalamus and the amygdala, a region implicated in processing emotions, were expressed differently between the brains of male and female mice. These genes each controlled differences in sex-specific behaviors. This research shows that genes may play an important role in complex human behavior and these findings could lead to insights into mental illness and neurological conditions that differ between the sexes. To access the full article:
February 15, 2012: Autoinjectors offer way to treat prolonged seizures
Drug delivery into muscle using an autoinjector, akin to the EpiPen used to treat serious allergic reactions, is faster and may be a more effective way to stop status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure lasting longer than five minutes, according to a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. “Patients with status epilepticus can suffer severe consequences if seizures are not stopped quickly. This study establishes that rapid intramuscular injection of an anticonvulsant drug is safe and effective,” said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The investigators said that while autoinjectors might someday be available for use by epilepsy patients and their family members, more research is required. Because of the strong sedative effect of midazolam, on-site medical supervision is now required for the safety of the patient. To access the full article:
February 21, 2012: Variation in brain development seen in infants with autism
Patterns of brain development in the first two years of life are distinct in children who are later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to researchers in a network funded by the National Institutes of Health. ASDs involve communication and social difficulties as well as repetitive behavior and restricted interests. Many early behavioral signs of ASDs are not apparent until the first year of age. Typically, ASDs are diagnosed at age 3 or older.During this study, researchers recorded brain images of 92 infants, all of whom had an older brother or sister with ASDs. Children who have an older sibling with ASDs have an increased risk of developing ASDs. The researchers used a technique known as diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging to track the children’s brain development at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. Their findings suggest that the period fro, 6 to 24 months when behavioral studies suggest the symptoms of austism are first appearing is a period of dramatic brain changes in ASDs. To access the full article:
February 27, 2012: Drug Improves Alzheimer’s-like Condition in Mice
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Those affected eventually lose the ability to recognize their loved ones or perform normal daily tasks of living. These symptoms are caused by abnormally high levels of a sticky protein fragment called beta-amyloid which causes fragments to clump together and create amyloid deposits which prevent the brain from functioning normally. Dr. Gary Landreth of Case Western Reserve University and his colleagues searched for a drug that might correct the beta-amyloid overload and reestablish normal brain function. They identified a medication called bexarotene, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating skin cancer. The scientists gave bexarotene to transgenic mice that develop amyloid plaques early in life and show Alzheimer’s-like brain abnormalities and behaviors. The researchers found that bexarotene rapidly reduced beta-amyloid levels in the brains of mice of all ages and shrank plaques in most age groups. In the youngest mice, beta-amyloid levels fell sharply just 6 hours after treatment. The drug also seemed to reverse abnormal behaviors. It rapidly restored cognition and memory in mice, as measured by a test of learned fears. More research is needed before this drug can be used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s but these results suggest that it could be an effective approach for preventing the progression of the disease. To access the full article:
February 29, 2012: Blockade of Learning and Memory Genes lay Occur Early in Alzheimer’s Disease
A repression of gene activity in the brain appears to be an early event affecting people with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found. In mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, this epigenetic blockade and its effects on memory were treatable. Dr. Tsai and her team found that a protein called histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) accumulates in the brain early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models and in people with the disease. HDAC2 is known to tighten up spools of DNA, effectively locking down the genes within and reducing their activity, or expression. In the mice, the increase in HDAC2 appears to produce a blockade of genes involved in learning and memory. Preventing the build-up of HDAC2 protected the mice from memory loss. Use of a gene therapy approach to reduce the levels of HDAC2 prevented the blockade of gene expression. The treatment also prevented learning and memory impairments in the mice. It did not prevent neuronal death, but it did enhance neuroplasticity — the ability of neurons to form new connections. Dr. Tsai theorizes that HDAC2 is brought into play by beta-amyloid. She and her team found that exposing mouse neurons to beta-amyloid caused them to produce more HDAC2. Efforts to reduce HDAC2 may provide a complementary approach to treating Alzheimer’s, Dr. Tsai said. To access the full article:
February 9, 2012: The turbulent birth of super star cluster in galaxy mergers
A team of French astronomers at the Institut d’astrophysique spatial and the Laboratoire d’étude du rayonnement et de la matière en astrophysique traced the first steps in formation of the young super-star clusters in a nearby galaxy merger, the “Antennae”, for the first time. Astronomers discovered the first super star clusters in the Antennae galaxy merger in images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope nearly twenty years ago. But until now, the physical processes which led to their formation were largely unknown. Scientists are now able to trace directly how the galaxy merger triggers the formation of super star clusters. Researchers used a new approach and quantified the energy lost by the gas in the star-forming clouds of the Antennae. To form new stars, gas must lose energy so that it can cool, condense and eventually collapse into a new star cluster. Researchers can use this new approach not only to understand how old super-star clusters formed but to predict where new ones will form as well.
To access the full article:
February 9, 2012: A novel, reliable and rapid method for detecting living bacteria
A team from the the Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne of the Institut de Microbiologie de la Méditerranéé and the Laboratoire de Glycochimie Moléculaire et Macromoléculaire of the Institut de Chimie Moléculaire et des Matériaux d’Orsay have developed a new technique making it possible to detect living Gram-negative type bacteria, include pathogens like Escherichia coli. The bacteria are placed in contact with KDO, a sugar used to synthesize a specific polysaccharide of their cell membrane. However this sugar is modified beforehand through the introduction of an azide function Deceived, the bacteria incorporate the artificial sugar in their membrane. Then, thanks to a fluorescent molecule that attaches exclusively to the azide group, it is possible to identify and count living Gram-negative bacteria, the only ones to have assimilated the modified KDO. Current methods used to count living bacteria are not entirely satisfactory: those requiring to put bacteria in a culture medium are slow (up to several weeks), whereas rapid methods can give false negatives or positives. This new technique combines reliability with rapidity in the detection of living bacteria in the future. The use of a specific sugar of each bacterium of interest could allow the detection of a very wide range of living pathogenic bacteria.
To access the full article:
February 16, 2012: When your left hand mimics what your right hand does: it’s in the genes
Congenital mirror movement is a rare disease transmitted from one generation to another by dominant inheritance. The affected persons lose the ability to carry out different movements with separate hands: when one hand moves in a certain way, the other hand is “forced” to copy the same movement, even if the person does not wish to do so. In 2010, research scientists from Quebec analyzed the genome from the members of a large Canadian family and discovered a gene responsible for the disease. Mutations had been detected in the DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma) gene. The team of researchers and doctors coordinated began to search for mutations in this gene in several members of a French family who were also suffering from congenital mirror movements disease, but without success They instead found that the RAD51 gene was responsible for congenital mirror movement disease in this French family and a German family as well. In humans, the motor system is a cross-control system, which means that the left side of the brain controls the motor functions of the right side of the body and vice versa, with the cross-over taking place at the brainstem. While studying the expression of the RAD51 protein during development of the motor system in mice, the research scientists discovered that this gene could be implanted into the cross-over of the motor network that links the brain to the spinal fluid at the brainstem.
To access the full article:
February 21, 2012: Is there a general motivation centre in the depths of the brain?
Mathias Pessiglione and his team from Inserm unit 975 "Centre de recherche en neurosciences de la Pitié-Salpêtrière" examined whether mental and physical efforts are driven by a motivation ‘centre’ or whether they are conducted by different parts of the brain. The researchers studied the neural mechanisms resulting from activities that combine both action and cognition. Mathias Pessiglione and his team identified a general motivational system in the depths of the brain, i.e. a structure capable of activating any effort type, both mental (concentrating on the task in hand) or physical (lifting a load). The researchers observed that the ventral striatum was activated in proportion to the the degree of motivation. Furthermore, the ventral striatum is connected to the median part of the striatum (the caudate nucleus) when the task to be performed is cognitively difficult (when the physical size and the numerical value of the numbers did not correspond). This ventral region solicits the lateral part of the striatum (the putamen) when the difficulty is motor-related (when the handle had to be squeezed very tightly). To access the full article:
Young Entrpreneurs Initiative (Yei): In 2011, the French American Start-up Accelerator, Young Entrepreneurs Initiative (Yei) provided its laureates with a free personalized business trip to learn about potential opportunities in France. This year, Yei is further expanding its services to North American-based innovative entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding their ventures to France. Official information will be available on March 1st at www.yeifrance.com. The Yei team invites you to join them in Los Angeles on march 20 for an informational session. For more information please contact Audrey Guazzone at email@example.com
The Toulouse Space Show: The Toulose Space Show will take place in Toulouse, France from June 25-June 28, 2012. Experts from all over the world will gather for conferences on space applications, space and law, knowledge management for space missions, and antenna technology and applied electromagnetics. There will also be associated events, like workshops about development of students’ nanosatellites. It shall be an opportunity for students from all over the world to present pedagogical projects developed at their universities.Papers are invited for presentation at the conferences; the closing date for submission of abstracts is 15 February.
La Fondation d’entreprise Nestlé France: La Fondation d’entreprise Nestlé France offers fellowships and research grants for studies on the human diet in the fields of the biological, social and human sciences. Candidates must be conducting research at a French laboratory, be at most 35 years of age and have already completed their PhD or been enrolled in a doctoral program for at least 2 years. The selected projects may continue in France or abroad. Three grants of 20,000 euros each will be awarded for the year of 2012-2013. Applications are due by April 15, 2012. Candidates will be notified by May 14, 2012. For further information: http://fondation.nestle.fr/comprendre-les-comportements-alimentaires/bourses-de-recherche-lappel-2012-est-lance/?id_cat=2
JPL, The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2012
Thursday, March 15 & Friday, March 16, 7-8 PM at the von Kármán Auditorium at JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA and Friday, March 16th at the Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College, 1570 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA.
Featured Speaker: Tina Ray, astronomer and cochair of Titan Orbiter Science Team
For further information: contact JPL phone (818)-354-0112
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Seminar
Friday, March 2, 2012, 12:00-1:00 PM located at the University of California, Irvine in Natural Sciences II Room 4201
Featured Speaker: Associate Professor William Sullivan from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Indiana University on the subject of “An integrated stress response meditates microbial latency in parasitic protozoa
For further information please contact Bessy Varela at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth System Science at UC Irvine
Monday, March 5, 2012, 2:00-3:00 PM located at UC Irvine in Croul Hall, Room 3101
Featured Speaker: Steven J. Davis, Senior Research Associate in the Department of Global Ecology at Carneie Institution on “Human Drivers of Climate Change: Energy, Economic Growth, and Trade
Physical Sciences Breakfast Lecture Series: Biography of the Milky Way
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:30-9:00 AM located at the UCI Student Center
Featured Speaker: James S. Bullock, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine
Continental breakfast will be available from 7:30-8:00 AM and the lecture will take place from 8:00-9:00 AM. For further information: http://www.physsci.uci.edu/events/7162
Friday, March 2, 201é, 3:00-4:00 PM located at 101 Guggenheim Lab, Lees-Kubota Lecture Hall
Featured Speaker: Yuri Bazilevs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego on “3D Fluid-Structure Interaction Modeling of Wind Turbines at Full Scale”
For further information: http://today.caltech.edu/calendar/item.tcl?calendar_id=138170
Young Professionals in Energy
Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 6:00-9:00 pm, located at UCLA in the Public Affairs Building, Room 2343/2355
For further information please contact email@example.com
Second Annual Interpersonal Neurobiology Conference
Friday, March 9, 2012-Sunday, March 11, 2012, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM located in Ackerman Union, Second Flour Lounge 2414
Ticket prices and registration information available at https://www.uclaextension.edu/attachment/r/enroll.aspx
For further information: https://www.uclaextension.edu/attachment/r/Default.aspx
Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology
Environmental Exposures and Cancer
Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 7:00-9:00 PM located at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Auditorium, Level B, Room B130
Featured Speaker: Gina M. Solomon, M.D, MPH
For further information:
USC Global Health Lecture Series
Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 12:00-1:00 PM located at the Health Sciences Campus, Soto Street Building, Room 105
Featured Speaker: Peter Hotez, Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 11:10AM-12:00 PM located in Chunge Hall 205/206
Featured Speaker: Leonard Mueller, Associate Professor of Chemistry at UC Riverside
For further information please contact Dimitrios Morikis at email@example.com
Center for Disease Vector Research Seminar
Friday, March 2, 2012; 12:00-1:00 PM located in the Genomics Building Room 1102A
Featured Speaker: Bruce Hay from California Institute of Technology
For further information please contact Guille Vallejo at firstname.lastname@example.org
UC San Diego
San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering
Friday, March 17-Friday, March 24, 2012, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM located throughout San Diego County
For further information please contact Mary Jo Ball at email@example.com or visit the event website http://www.sdsciencefestival.com/
March of Dimes lecture
Friday, March 23, 2012, 1:00 PM located in the Frederic de Hoffman Auditorium
Featured Speaker: Tom Jessel, Columbia University on Motor Circuits and the Sense of Place
For further information please contact Inder Verma at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 29, 2012, 4:00 PM located in the Frederic de Hoffman Auditorium
Featured Speaker: Norman Pace, University of Colorado, Boulder
For further information please contact Inder Verma at email@example.com
Le Fil de Marianne
Le Fil de Marianne est une publication hebdomadaire des bureaux de l’INSERM et du CNRS aux Etats-Unis. Il offre une information détaillée sur les évolutions de la politique de recherche française, les appels d’offres et les manifestations scientifiques en France. L’abonnement est gratuit.
Les bulletins électroniques
Les articles et les rapports produits par les activités de veille scientifique menées par les Missions Scientifiques et Technologiques dans 40 zones géographiques sont accessibles gratuitement via les Bulletins Electroniques. Ils sont édités par l’Agence pour la Diffusion de l’Information Technologique (ADIT), sur une base mensuelle ou hebdomadaire.
Le service scientifique du Consulat Général de France à Los Angeles
Des informations sur le rôle de notre service au sein de la Mission pour la Science et la technologie (MS&T) peuvent être trouvées sur le site du Consulat Général de France à Los Angeles. Le planning des événements à venir ainsi que nos coordonnées, sont également disponibles en ligne.
Ce site offre des informations en Français sur l’actualité médicale et de la santé en France. Il propose une revue de presse quotidienne, consultable en ligne ou par newsletter, des articles et des comptes rendus de congrès médicaux. L’inscription (gratuite) est nécessaire pour accéder au contenu.
Newsletter du Genopole
Genopole est un pôle de compétitivité français spécialisé dans les biotechnologies et les biothérapies. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
Alsace BioValley est un pôle de compétitivité français spécialisé dans les sciences de la vie et santé. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
LyonBioPole est un pôle de compétitivité français spécialisé dans les vaccins et le diagnostic. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
Medicen est un pôle de compétitivité français situé en région parisienne, spécialisé dans la médecine translationnelle, les outils biologiques et la bio-numérique. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
EuroBiomed est un pôle de compétitivité français spécialisé dans le domaine de la santé et des sciences de la vie et couvrant les régions PACA et Languedoc-Roussillon. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
Cancer-Bio-Santé est un pôle de compétitivité français spécialisé dans le domaine de la nutrition et de l’innovation pharmaceutique et du suivi des patients. La newsletter comprend des informations sur les appels à projets, les actions et les services offerts par le pôle.
Scitizen.com offers free access to more than 1200 articles in English, written by scientists for the general public, in various scientific fields.
Biosmartbrief is a newsletter service, offering information in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceutical sciences and business. Register for free to receive a daily news update.
Bilat-USA and Link-2-US
These two programs have been created to offer an easy access to information regarding collaboration between the US and Europe. Online articles and a newsletter service are available
We value your feedback. Please send us your comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
FRENCH CULTURAL SERVICES
Subscribe to the monthly French arts and culture newsletter to receive information about shows, exhibitions and much more, by sending an email to: email@example.com
Subscribe to the monthly French Film and TV newsletter to receive information about projections and events, by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulate General of France in Los Angeles