Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #35 - February 2013

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A major goal of the Office of Science and Technology is to facilitate partnerships between France and the United States. This past week Tim Deming (UCLA) and Sébastien Lecommandoux (Université de Bordeaux) hosted a workshop between the University of California Los Angeles and Université de Bordeaux in collaboration with the Office of Science and Technology. The workshop was held over the course of two days, during which the French and American scientists had the opportunity to discuss and share ideas on subjects such as polymer synthesis, organic electronics, complex fluids and drug delivery. The cities of Bordeaux and Los Angeles share a strong relationship as sister cities, and this workshop is just one of the many ways in which this kinship is promoted. Next year, 2014, will be the 50th anniversary of this partnership started in 1964 by the former mayors of Bordeaux and Los Angeles, Jacques Chaban Delmas and Sam Yorty, respectively. Please see our activities page for further information on collaborations between France and the United States.

Christine Stafford, Science and Technology Intern
Aurelie Perthuison, Deputy Attaché for Science and Technology
Fabien Agenes, Attaché for Science and Technology

To read the full version of the February 2013 newsletter, please scroll down or click here. You can also register here to receive emails about events organized by the OST LA.

French and Americain scientists at the Getty Villa on Thursday, January 31st 2013 for a workshop between the University of California Los Angeles and Université de Bordeaux 1 on polymers. (© Fabien Agenès / Consulate General of France in Los Angeles)




January 3, 2013: Pesticides and Parkinson’s: UCLA researchers uncover further proof of a link

For several years, neurologists at UCLA have been building a case that a link exists between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease. To date, paraquat, maneb and ziram — common chemicals sprayed in California’s Central Valley and elsewhere — have been tied to increases in the disease, not only among farmworkers but in individuals who simply lived or worked near fields and likely inhaled drifting particles.

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January 3, 2013: Dopamine-receptor gene variant linked to human longevity

A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life, UC Irvine and other researchers have found.

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January 8, 2013: The days of wine and pulses

USC engineers have been at the forefront of a technology known as pulsed power for decades. Notably, Professor Martin Gundersen of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering has been developing devices that produce ultrashort, very intense electric pulses for use in fields ranging from engine research to cancer therapy.

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January 8, 2013: Genes and obesity: Fast food isn’t only culprit in expanding waistlines –DNA is also to blame

Researchers at UCLA say it’s not just what you eat that makes those pants tighter — it’s also genetics. In a new study, scientists discovered that body-fat responses to a typical fast-food diet are determined in large part by genetic factors, and they have identified several genes they say may control those responses.

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January 10, 2013: Surgical Technique Spots Cancer Invasion with Fluorescence

A team of surgeons and scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have developed a new technique that will allow surgeons to identify during surgery which lymph nodes are cancerous so that healthy tissue can be saved. The findings will be published in the January 15 print edition of Cancer Research.

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January 10, 2013: Saliva Gland Test for Parkinson’s Shows Promise, Study Finds

PHOENIX — Described as a "big step forward" for research and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, new research from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that testing a portion of a person’s saliva gland may be a way to diagnose the disease. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in San Diego in March.

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January 14, 2013: Smoking intensity predicts seriousness of bladder cancer

Smoking not only causes bladder cancer — it also affects its course, in that people who smoke more have greater likelihood of developing more aggressive and deadly disease. That is one of the conclusions of a new study published online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

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January 15, 2013: Infect to Protect

The idea sounds a bit haphazard, and coming from a man with flowing grey hair and beard you wonder why it also sounds so enticing. Roy Curtiss wants to vaccinate children and animals alike in the far regions of the world, those who have not benefitted from traditional vaccinations, from the most basic scourges of the Earth—typhoid fever, pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis.

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January 15, 2013: May Clinic/ASU Launch Obesity Solutions Initiative

Scottsdale, Ariz. — James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic and a world-renowned leader in obesity research and child advocacy, has been named co-director of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University (ASU) Obesity Solutions Initiative. Dr. Levine has been appointed a professor in ASU’s School of the Science of Health Care Delivery in the College of Health Solutions, and will continue as a professor at Mayo Clinic.

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January 16, 2013: UA Surgeon, Optical Scientist Collaborate on Surgery Camera

Dr. Mike Nguyen, a UA associate professor of surgery, and Hong Hua, a UA professor of optical sciences, are working to develop a camera that will allow surgeons to simultaneously view wide angle and high-resolution, close-up images during minimally invasive surgery.

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January 25, 2013: Darwin’s extra sense: How mathematics is revolutionizing biology

“Darwin’s Extra Sense,” a new video produced by SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore and collaborators, explores the ways applied mathematics is opening doors to astonishing insights in the life sciences – from evolutionary biology to protein folding and brain science.

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January 14, 2013: Implanted Defibrillators Boost “Real World” Survival

A new study linked implanted cardiac devices to improved survival rates, whether or not patients were participating in a carefully controlled clinical trial.

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January 15, 2013: Study documents that some children lose autism diagnosis

Some children who are accurately diagnosed in early childhood with autism lose the symptoms and the diagnosis as they grow older, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health has confirmed. The research team made the finding by carefully documenting a prior diagnosis of autism in a small group of school-age children and young adults with no current symptoms of the disorder.

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January 15, 2013: FDA permits marketing of first test that can simultaneously identify 11 causes of infectious gastroenteritis

On Jan. 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed marketing for the first test that can simultaneously detect 11 common viral, bacterial, and parasitic causes of infectious gastroenteritis from a single patient sample.

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January 16, 2013: FDA approves new seasonal influenza vaccine made using novel technology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has approved Flublok, the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology. Flublok is approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in people 18 through 49 years of age.

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January 23, 2013: FDA approves Exjade to remove excess iron in patients zith genetic blood disorder

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Exjade (deferasirox) to treat patients ages 10 years and older who have chronic iron overload resulting from a genetic blood disorder called non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT).

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January 23, 2013: NIH clinical trial begins for treatment of rare, fatal neurological disorder

A clinical trial to evaluate a drug candidate called cyclodextrin as a possible treatment for Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC), a rare and fatal genetic disease, will start today, researchers announced. Scientists from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) will conduct the clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center. Reaching this trial stage required collaboration among government, industry, patient advocacy groups and academic researchers.

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January 24, 2013: Prenatal inflammation linked to autism risk

Maternal inflammation during early pregnancy may be related to an increased risk of autism in children, according to new findings supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers found this in children of mothers with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), a well-established marker of systemic inflammation.

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January 8, 2013: Microphyt and the CEA join forces to exploit the potential of photosynthetic microalgae

Microphyt outsources part of its R&D activities to the CEA as part of a four-year collaboration agreement to pursue the BOLERO program. This program involves the mass production and development of molecules that have the potential to be synthesized by green microalgae, including the genus Chlamydomonas.

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January 18, 2013: Repeated aggressions trigger social aversion in mice

One of the mechanisms involved in the onset of stress-induced depression has been highlighted in mice by researchers from CNRS, Inserm and UPMC1. They have determined the role of the corticosterone (stress hormone) receptor, in the long-term behavioral change triggered by chronic stress. In mice subject to repeated aggressions, this receptor participates in the development of social aversion by controlling the release of dopamine2, a key chemical messenger. If this receptor is blocked, the animals become “resilient”: although anxious, they overcome the trauma and no longer avoid contact with their fellow creatures. This work is published in Science on 18 January 2013.

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January 21, 2013: Lupus: peptide P140/LupuzorTM effectiveness confirmed

A clinical trial with 149 patients suffering from the very disabling autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus, has shown the effectiveness of a synthetic peptide developed by a team of researchers led by CNRS biologist Slyviane Muller at the Institut de Biologie Moleculaire (IBMC) in Strasbourg, France. The peptide, known as P140/LupuzorTM, is well tolerated by patients and leads to regression of the disease. Under the CNRS patent, ImmuPharma-France, which funded the trial, has an exclusive license to use the peptide. Now the final phase of clinical tests should soon confirm these results and contribute to the development of a drug without the side effects of existing treatments, which use cortico-steroids and immunosuppressants. These results are published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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January 30, 2013: Androgenic hormones could help treat multiple sclerosis

Testosterone and its derivatives could constitute an efficient treatment against myelin diseases such as multiple sclerosis, reveals a study by researchers from the Laboratoire d’Imagerie et de Neurosciences Cognitives (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg), in collaboration in particular with the “Neuroprotection et Neurorégénération: Molécules Neuroactives de Petite Taille” unit (Inserm/Université Paris-Sud). Myelin composes the sheaths that protect the nerve fibers and allow the speed of nerve impulses to be increased. A deficit in the production of myelin or its destruction cause serious illnesses for which there is no curative treatment. The researchers have shown that in mice brains whose nerve fibers have been demyelinated, testosterone and a synthetic analog induce the regeneration of oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for myelination, and that they stimulate remyelination. This work is published on January in the journal Brain.

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General Biology Seminar
Regeneration in the animalia: from analysis to synthesis
February 19, 2013, 4:00 pm
119 Kerckhoff
Featured speakers: Yuval Rinkevish (Stanford University)
For further information, please contact Melissa Ray melray@caltech.edu

Center for the Chemistry of Cellular Signaling Seminar Series
Targeting Prostate Cancer with DNA-Binding Polyamides through the AR-ERG
Signaling Axis
February 21, 2013, 12:00 pm
151 Crellin
Featured Speaker: Amanda Hargrove (California Institute of Technology)
For further information, please contact Anna Arnold anordstr@caltech.edu at x3202


The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2013
Geoengineering and Climate Intervention: What We Need to Know
February 14, 7:00 pm
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
February 15, 7:00 pm
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
Featured Speaker: Riley Duren (Earth Science & Technology Directorate Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


SALK Cancer Day Symposium
Epigenetics and Cancer
February 21, 2013, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Frederic de Hoffmann Auditorium, Salk Institute
Featured Speakers: Stephen Baylin (Johns Hopkins University), Howard Chang (Stanford University), James E. Bradner (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), C. David Allis (the Rockefeller University)
For further information, please contact events@salk.edu
Registration required at http://www.salk.edu/salkcancerday


Regulating Mitochondrial Movement and Why it Matters to a Neuron
February 8, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
DNC Auditorium
Featured Speaker: Dr. Thomas Schwarz
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu

Human B cell Responses to Influenza: Insights for Vaccine Development
February 21, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Featured Speaker: Patrick Wilson (University of Chicago)
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu


Stem Cell Research Center Lecture Series
Animal models of traumatic brain injury and stem cell therapy
February 15, 2013, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Sue and Bill Gross Hall, 4th floor
Featured Speaker: Vassilis Koliatsos, M.D.
For further information, please contact stemcell@research.uci.edu


Photothermal Nanoblade and RNA Import into Mitochondria
JCCC Special Seminar
February 14, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Health Sciences Ctr. – Room 73-105
Featured speaker: Michael Teitell, M.D.
For further information, please contact ajun@mednet.ucla.edu

Gene Targeting into the 21st Century: Mouse Models of Human Disease
IMED Seminar
February 20, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Neuroscience Research Bldg. – Auditorium – Room 132
Featured speaker: Mario Capecchi (University of Utah)
For further information, please contact mweiner@mednet.ucla.edu


The Stein Institute Presents: Living for Longevity – The Nutrition Connection
February 20, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Basic Science Bldg. Liebow Auditorium
Medical Education and Telemedicine Building conf. room 141
Featured Speaker: Vicky Newman (UCSD)
For further information, please contact Gawroska Maja at maja@ucsd.edu


Brain and Spine: Update in Treatments and Technology
February 21, 4:30pm to 7:00pm
Indian Wells Country Club Wellness Center
Featured speakers: Patrick Hseih, M.D. and Nerses Sanossian, M.D.
RSVP required
For further information, please contact erinwill@usc.edu


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