Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #37 - April 2013

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Last month, Jean-Lou Chameau, the California Institute of Technology’s president, announced his resignation from the position. Chameau has served as the university’s 8th president since September of 2006 and intends to leave in June of this year. During his presidency, Chameau has worked to strengthen Franco-American relations by establishing multiple partnerships between Caltech and various French institutions. In 2007, Caltech and l’Ecole Polytechnique created a joint masters program specializing in fluid mechanics and aeronautics. The benefits of this joint masters prompted Chameau and Yves Demay, the president of Polytechnique, to expand the program in March of 2013, naming it Aeronautics/Space Engineering and Mechanics. Also in 2007, le CEA-LETI and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute of Caltech formed a partnership, which resulted in the creation of l’Alliance NanoVLSI (Nano Very Large Scale Integration), where researchers collaborate on the creation of complex and functioning nanosystems. In addition, Chameau, along with Charles Elachi, director of JPL, reinforced the ties between Caltech and CNES in the domain of planetary exploration and spatial oceanography. After leaving Caltech, Chameau will become president of the recently created King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

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 April 2013 newsletter, please scroll down or click here. You can also register here to receive emails about events organized by the OST LA.

On March 12 for la Semaine de la Francophonie, the Office for Science and Technology held this year’s first Café des Sciences at the University of Southern California in collaboration with the French Consulate’s Cultural Services, the Francophone Research and Resource Center at USC and the Quebec Government Office in Los Angeles.
For more information on the day’s events, please see the article about la Journée de la Francophonie: http://www.consulfrance-losangeles.org/spip.php?article2051




March 1, 2013: Mayo Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

The discovery and UA analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

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March 4, 2013: International Consortium Builds ‘Google Map’ of Human Metabolism

Building on earlier pioneering work by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, an international consortium of university researchers has produced the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date. Scientists could use the model, known as Recon 2, to identify causes of and new treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

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March 5, 2013: ASU researcher finds exercise may be intervention for Down syndrome

Marcus Santellan’s aunt says he’s more talkative at home, using longer sentences, now that he’s in an exercise program at Arizona State University. The young man with Down syndrome (DS) is helping ASU researchers find out whether intense, assisted exercise can improve cognitive, motor and emotional functioning in adolescents with DS.

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March 7, 2013: UC San Diego Biologists Produce Rainbow-Colored Algae

What can green algae do for science if they weren’t, well, green?
That’s the question biologists at UC San Diego sought to answer when they engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells.

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March 14, 2013: Outside the box: UCLA uses brain aneurysm treatment to stop irregular heart rhythms

For the first time, a UCLA team has used a technique normally employed in treating brain aneurysms to treat severe, life-threatening irregular heart rhythms in two patients.

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March 18, 2013: Ocean plankton sponge up nearly twice the carbon currently assumed

Models of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans need to be revised, according to new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated. Carbon dioxide is the leading driver of disruptive climate change.

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March 19, 2013: UCLA researchers create tomatoes that mimic actions of good cholesterol

UCLA researchers have genetically engineered tomatoes to produce a peptide that mimics the actions of good cholesterol when consumed.

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March 21, 2013: Farsighted engineer invents bionic eye to help the blind

For UCLA bioengineering professor Wentai Liu, more than two decades of visionary research burst into the headlines last month when the FDA approved what it called “the first bionic eye for the blind.”

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March 21, 2013: Farsighted engineer invents bionic eye to help the blind

For UCLA bioengineering professor Wentai Liu, more than two decades of visionary research burst into the headlines last month when the FDA approved what it called “the first bionic eye for the blind.”

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March 25, 2013: Lung cancer study takes page from Google’s playbook

The same sort of mathematical model used to predict which websites people are most apt to visit is now showing promise in helping to map how lung cancer spreads in the human body, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Research.

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March 25, 2013: Developing Our Sense of Smell

When our noses pick up a scent, whether the aroma of a sweet rose or the sweat of a stranger at the gym, two types of sensory neurons are at work in sensing that odor or pheromone. These sensory neurons are particularly interesting because they are the only neurons in our bodies that regenerate throughout adult life—as some of our olfactory neurons die, they are soon replaced by newborns. Just where those neurons come from in the first place has long perplexed developmental biologists.

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March 26, 2013: Foreign-born scientists play key role in US cancer research

More than 40 percent of researchers at America’s top cancer institutes are immigrants, including some at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, according to a study released last month.

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March 8, 2013: NIH study sheds light on role of climate in influenza transmission

Two types of environmental conditions — cold-dry and humid-rainy — are associated with seasonal influenza epidemics, according to an epidemiological study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center. The paper, published in PLoS Pathogens, presents a simple climate-based model that maps influenza activity globally and accounts for the diverse range of seasonal patterns observed across temperate, subtropical and tropical regions.

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March 18, 2013: Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders

Major mental disorders traditionally thought to be distinct share certain genetic glitches, according to a new study. The finding may point to better ways to diagnose and treat these conditions.

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March 18, 2013: Shaking Out Clues to Autoimmune Disease

Researchers gained new insight into how an immune cell involved in several autoimmune disorders is regulated. Among their findings was a potential link with salt consumption.

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March 22, 2013: FDA issues proposal to improve the quality of automated external defibrillators

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a proposed order aimed at helping manufacturers improve the quality and reliability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The proposed order, if finalized, will require manufacturers of these life-saving devices to submit pre-market approval (PMA) applications.

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March 25, 2013: NIH names Dr. Jon Lorsch director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced today the selection of Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., as Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Dr. Lorsch is expected to join the NIH this summer.

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March 26, 2013: EDTA chelation therapy modestly reduces cardiovascular events

Chelation therapy, an unproven alternative medicine in the treatment for heart disease, modestly reduced cardiovascular events for adults aged 50 and older who had suffered a prior heart attack, according to new National Institutes of Health-supported research.

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March 27, 2013: FDA approves new multiple sclerosis treatment: Tecfidera

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

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March 11, 2013: Why red algae never colonize dry land

The first red alga genome has just been sequenced by an international team coordinated by CNRS and UPMC at the Station Biologique de Roscoff (Brittany), notably involving researchers from CEA-Genoscope1, the universities of Lille 1 and Rennes 1 and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle2. The genome of Chondrus crispus, also known by the Breton name ’pioka’, turns out to be small and compact for a multicellular organism. It has fewer genes than several other species of unicellular algae, which raises a number of questions about the evolution of red algae. This low number of genes could explain why these organisms never colonized dry land, unlike their green counterparts—from which all terrestrial plants are descended. These findings open up new perspectives on the natural history of algae and of terrestrial plants. They are published online in the journal PNAS on March 11th 2013.

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March 14, 2013: Aids : 14 adult patients in long term functional remission of HIV seven years after being taken off early antiretroviral treatment

Newly published scientific study describes 14 adult patients in long term functional remission of HIV seven years after being taken off early antiretroviral treatment. The Anrs EP 47`VISCONTI´ cohort confirms on a larger and durable scale what the Mississippi `functionally cured´ baby indicated – that early therapeutic intervention may be instrumental in HIV remission and has important implications for HIV cure research.

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March 18, 2013: HTAP: discovery of a genetic market associated with increased risk

A genetic marker localised on chromosome 18 is associated with a doubling of the risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). A gene close to this marker is suspected of being responsible for an increased risk of the disease, according to an academic study (letter) published in Nature Genetics* on 17 March 2013.

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March 18, 2013: Buruli Ulcer: Mechanism Behind Tissue Erosion Revealed

Scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), in collaboration with the Universities of Basel (Switzerland) and Cambridge (UK) have identified the mechanism underlying the formation of Buruli ulcers caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. Their discovery opens avenues for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for combating this disfiguring skin disease. This study is published online by The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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March 27, 2013: Planck sheds new light on the Big Bang

After fifteen months of observation, the European Space Agency (ESA)’s spacecraft Planck, launched in 2009 to observe the cosmic microwave background (the relic radiation from the Big Bang), has delivered its first results. The wealth of information they provide about the history and composition of the universe includes in particular: the most accurate map of the cosmic microwave background ever obtained; evidence of an effect predicted by inflationary models; a lower value for the expansion rate of the universe; and a new estimate of its composition. Much of this data was collected by Planck’s main instrument, HFI, which was designed and assembled under the supervision of the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud) with funding from CNES and CNRS.

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Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar
Blooming of oceanic phytoplankton
April 10, 2013, 4:00 pm
365 S. Mudd, Salvatori Room
Featured speaker: Amala Mahadevan, Associate Scientist, Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
For further information, please contact Liz Boyd at miura@gps.caltech.edu

General Biology Seminar
Motility and directed migration of primordial germs cells in zebrafish
April 23, 2013, 4:00 pm
119 Kerckhoff
Featured Speaker: Erez Raz, Institute of Cell Biology, ZMBE
For further information, please contact Julia Boucher at jboucher@caltech.edu


The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2013
Regenerative Fuel Cells, Energy Storage Systems for Space Applications
April 11, 7:00 pm
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
April 12, 7:00 pm
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
Featured Speaker: Thomas Valdez, Senior Member Engineering Staff, Fuel Cell Group Lead Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Restriction Factor Recognition of their Retroviral Targets
April 16, 2013, 1:00 pm
Trustees Room, Salk Institute
Featured Speaker: Jonathan Stoye (National Institute for Medical Research, UK)
For further information, please contact jdurocher@salk.edu


How Flies Fly: Myosin Function, Folding and Disease in Skeletal and Cardiac Muscles
April 11, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
BCC1 – W.M. Keck Foundation Amphitheater
Featured Speaker: Sanford I. Bernstein, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu

Antigen Receptor Locus Diversification, Genome Stability and Cancer in the Immune System
April 25, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Featured Speaker: Frederick Alt, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics and Medicine, Harvard Medical School
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu


Freshwater Inputs and Coastal Productivity in the Pacific Northwest
April 10, 2:00pm – 3:00 pm
Croul Hall, Room 3101
Featured Speaker: Kristen Davis, civil & environmental engineering assistant professor
For further information, please call 949.824.8794


Building Molecules to Image and Treat Disease
IMED Seminar
April 10, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Neuroscience Research Bldg. – Auditorium – Room 132
Featured speaker: Roger Tsien, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate 2008
For further information, please contact mweiner@mednet.ucla.edu

Epigenetic regulation in mice: novel methods and models
JCCC Leaders in the Field Research Seminar
April 16, 12:00pm – 1:00 pm
Health Sciences Ctr. – Room 73-105
Featured Speaker: Tian Chi, Ph.D., Associate Professor Department of Immunobiology Yale University School of Medicine
For further information, please contact ajun@mednet.ucla.edu


Forum on Energy and Climate Justice: UCSD research and the search for solutions
April 11, 8:30 am
Scripps Seaside Forum, SIO, 8610 Kennel Way
For further information, please contact kmichener@ucsd.edu


Healing a Broken Heart
April 18, 4:30pm to 7:00pm
Indian Wells Country Club Wellness Center
Featured speaker: Michael Bowdish, M.D.
RSVP required
For further information, please contact erinwill@usc.edu


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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 et nos activités, sont également disponibles en ligne.


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