Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #41 - August 2013

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On July 14, to celebrate France’s national holiday, Bastille Day, Mr Axel Cruau, Consul General of France in Los Angeles, held a reception and welcomed invited guests at the Résidence de France. Among the attendees were numerous scientists from leading universities and research institutions in California. During the reception, the researchers had the opportunity to speak with the Consul General as well with Dr. Fabien Agnes, Attaché for Science and Technology at the Consulate General of France. Though the Bastille Day celebration was held to honor the French nation, it was also an occasion to recognize the numerous collaborations between France and the United States, especially in the scientific and technological fields.

For more information on the Bastille Day Reception, please go to http://france-science.org/Celebrating-Bastille-Day-with.html.

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

Dr Fabien Agenes, Attaché for Science and Technology, welcoming world-leading scientists Virendra Sarohia, Guruswami Ravichandran and Ares Rosakis, in the presence of Mr Fabrice Maiolino, Deputy Consul General of France in Los Angeles (© Press Office / Consulate General of France in Los Angeles 2013).




July 1, 2013: Psychology Influences Markets

Economists argue that markets usually reflect rational behavior—that is, the dominant players in a market, such as the hedge-fund managers who make billions of dollars’ worth of trades, almost always make well-informed and objective decisions. Psychologists, on the other hand, say that markets are not immune from human irrationality, whether that irrationality is due to optimism, fear, greed, or other forces.

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July 2, 2013: UCLA researchers find new clue to cause of human narcolepsy

In 2000, researchers at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research published findings showing that people suffering from narcolepsy, a disorder characterized by uncontrollable periods of deep sleep, had 90 percent fewer neurons containing the neuropeptide hypocretin in their brains than healthy people. The study was the first to show a possible biological cause of the disorder.

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July 2, 2013: Greenhouse gas likely altering ocean food chain

Climate change may be weeding out the bacteria that form the base of the ocean’s food chain, selecting certain strains for survival, according to a new USC study.

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July 4, 2013: Unique epigenomic code identified during human brain development

Salk findings uncovers dynamic changes in the epigenome that occur during brain circuitry formation.

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July 4, 2013: New Research Sheds Light on M.O. of Unusual RNA Molecules

The genes that code for proteins—more than 20,000 in total—make up only about 1 percent of the complete human genome. That entire thing—not just the genes, but also genetic junk and all the rest—is coiled and folded up in any number of ways within the nucleus of each of our cells. Think, then, of the challenge that a protein or other molecule, like RNA, faces when searching through that material to locate a target gene.

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July 8, 2013: Plant-made drug reverses breathing paralysis

Paralytic drugs like succinylcholine are often used during surgery or when critically ill patients require endotracheal intubation. But if the drug is not swiftly cleared from the patient’s system, the results can be deadly.

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July 9, 2013: Coastal Power Plant Records Reveal Decline in Key Southern California Fishes

Recent research documents a dramatic, 40-year drop in a number of key fish species and a change in their community structure, according to a new study led by Eric Miller of MBC Applied Environmental Sciences (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and John McGowan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

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July 11, 2013: ‘Taste sensor’ genes in female butterflies vital to species’ survival, UCI study finds

Giving the phrase “Mother knows best” a whole new meaning, UC Irvine researchers have identified unique genes in female butterflies that enable them to select the best host plant for their larvae – and avoid deadly ones.

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July 12, 2013: New theory uncovers cancer’s deep evolutionary roots

A new way to look at cancer – by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago – has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University. If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to cancer therapy, and to link the origin of cancer to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos.

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July 15, 2013: UCLA researchers find link between intestinal bacteria and white blood cell cancer

Researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered that specific types of bacteria that live in the gut are major contributors to lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.

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July 16, 2013: UC San Diego’s Palmer Taylor Awarded France’s Legion of Honour

Palmer Taylor, PhD, dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, associate vice chancellor for Health Sciences, and Sandra and Monroe Trout Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, has been awarded the rank of "Chevalier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur" (Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honour) by the President of France, François Hollande.

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July 17, 2013: Compound Discovered at Sea Shows Potency against Anthrax

A team led by William Fenical at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has discovered a new chemical compound from an ocean microbe in a preliminary research finding that could one day set the stage for new treatments for anthrax and other ailments such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA).

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July 17, 2013: Probiotic bacterium lessens severity of salmonella infections by hoarding iron

UC Irvine microbiologists have learned how a probiotic bacterium used to treat irritable bowel syndrome can soothe gut bacterial infections caused by salmonella, paving the way for potential relief from foodborne illnesses that affect millions of people annually.

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July 18, 2013: Salk scientists discover more versatile approach to creating stem cells

Stem cells are key to the promise of regenerative medicine: the repair or replacement of injured tissues with custom grown substitutes. Essential to this process are induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can be created from a patient’s own tissues, thus eliminating the risk of immune rejection. However, Shinya Yamanaka’s formula for iPSCs, for which he was awarded last year’s Nobel Prize, uses a strict recipe that allows for limited variations in human cells, restricting their full potential for clinical application.

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July 29, 2013: UC San Diego Names Margaret Leinen as Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences

UC San Diego announced today the appointment of Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., as Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Dean of the School of Marine Sciences. Dr. Leinen is a highly distinguished, award-winning oceanographer and an accomplished executive with extensive national and international experience in ocean science, global climate and environmental issues, federal research administration, and non-profit startups.

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July 15, 2013: FDA permits marketing of first brain wave test to help assess children and teens for ADHD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing of the first medical device based on brain function to help assess attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents 6 to 17 years old. When used as part of a complete medical and psychological examination, the device can help confirm an ADHD diagnosis or a clinician’s decision that further diagnostic testing should focus on ADHD or other medical or behavioral conditions that produce symptoms similar to ADHD.

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July 18, 2013: Anti-HIV drugs in pregnancy not linked to children’s language delays

The combinations of anti-HIV drugs recommended for pregnant women do not appear in general to increase their children’s risk for language delay, according to a study from a National Institutes of Health research network.

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July 21, 2013: For a healthy brain, don’t let the trash pile up

Recycling is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the brain. A study using rat cells indicates that quickly clearing out defective proteins in the brain may prevent loss of brain cells.

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July 22, 2013: NIH commits $24 million annually for Big Data Centers of Excellence

The National Institutes of Health will fund up to $24 million per year for four years to establish six to eight investigator-initiated Big Data to Knowledge Centers of Excellence. The centers will improve the ability of the research community to use increasingly large and complex datasets through the development and distribution of innovative approaches, methods, software, and tools for data sharing, integration, analysis and management. The centers will also provide training for students and researchers to use and develop data science methods.

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July 25, 2013: FDA permits marketing if first U.S. test labeled for simultaneous detection of tuberculosis bacteria and resistance to the antibiotic rifampin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing of the Xpert MTB/RIF Assay, the first FDA-reviewed test that can simultaneously detect bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) and determine if the bacteria contain genetic markers that makes them resistant to rifampin, an important antibiotic for the treatment of TB.

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July 29, 2013: Novel Structure and Function of Typhoid Toxin

Researchers gained important insights into the reasons why Salmonella typhi, the cause of typhoid fever, is so dangerous. The findings could help guide the development of therapeutics and improved vaccines against the infection.

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July 30, 2013: NIH researchers find diabetes drug extends health and lifespan in mice

Long-term treatment with the type 2 diabetes drug metformin improves health and longevity of male mice when started at middle age, reports an international team of scientists led by researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes Health. The study, which tested two doses of the drug in the male mice, found the higher dose to be toxic in the animals. Scientists emphasized that considerably more research is needed before the implications of metformin for healthy aging are known for humans.

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July 5, 2013: When epidemiologists turn to Web 2.0

In the Web 2.0 and “Quantified Self” era, scientists are working to improve traditional data collection methods (face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews or paper questionnaires), which are expensive and time-consuming for study participants. Indeed, recruitment, monitoring and data collection tools need to be adapted to fit the habits of the younger generation. The Internet and smartphones offer numerous options for collecting data on participants’ lifestyle, environment and health, in a way involving few constraints, and that can even be fun. In May 2013, the INSERM team headed by Françoise Clavel-Chapelon (Unit 1018, Team 9“Nutrition, Hormones and Women’s Health”) organized an international conference entitled “e-tools and social networks for epidemiology” in Paris. The main objective was to present academic research and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) innovations that can improve epidemiological research.

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July 10, 2013: Bioluminescence reveals deep-water motion in the Mediterranean

In 2009 and 2010, the underwater neutrino telescope ANTARES detected an unusual phenomenon: the bioluminescence of deep-sea organisms suddenly increased, revealing an unexpected connection between biological activity—bioluminescence—and the motion of water masses in the deep ocean. Convective motion in the Gulf of Lion provides deep waters with oxygen and nutrients that boost biological activity. Published on July 10th in PloS ONE, the work was carried out by a team coordinated by CNRS researchers from the Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanographie (CNRS / IRD / Aix-Marseille Université / Université du Sud Toulon-Var) and the Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université).

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July 12, 2013: Sanction mechanism identified between ants and host plants

In nature, many forms of plant-animal mutualism exist in which each partner benefits from the presence of the other. Although mutualistic interactions offer advantages for both partners, they are nonetheless a source of conflict. CNRS researchers from Toulouse III University – Paul Sabatier and the IRD have recently observed an original sanction interaction between a plant and an ant. In French Guiana, the Hirtella physophora plant is capable of retaliating against the "guest ants" that prevent it from flowering. These results illustrate the importance of sanction mechanisms, which prevent a mutualistic partner from becoming a parasite. This work was published in Evolutionary Biology dated 12 July 2013.

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July 14, 2013: Chromosomal abnormalities may explain increased cancer risk in type 2 diabetes

Certain chromosomal abnormalities of the preleukemic type appear to be over-represented in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who are suffering from vascular complications. This finding may provide a partial explanation for the higher rates of cancer-related mortality observed among patients with this type of diabetes. These results were obtained by a French-British-Qatari research group coordinated by Professor Philippe Froguel in the Laboratoire Génomique et maladies métaboliques (CNRS/Université Lille 2/Institut Pasteur de Lille), working in collaboration with teams attached to INSERM, AP-HP (Paris Public Hospitals) Paris Diderot and Paris-Sud universities . Their work was published on July 14, 2013 on the Nature Genetics website.

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July 25, 2013: How is the male genome preserved until it reaches the egg?

When the male genome carried in the spermatozoid leaves the male body to reach the egg, it undergoes numerous transformations. A team led by Saadi Khochbin in Mixed Research Unit 823 at the Institut Albert Bonniot Research Centre (Inserm/Joseph Fourier University) in Grenoble has described the molecular mechanisms that enable the transmission of the male genome to the egg. The researchers have revealed the essential role played by a tiny structure which compact and preserve the genome in the spermatozoid during its journey to the egg. These results were published on July 24th in the journal Genes & Development.

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Special Chemistry Seminar
August 14, 2013, 4:00 pm
147 Noyes, J. Homes Sturdivant Lecture Hall
Featured Speaker: Martin Oestreich, Prof. Dr., Technische Universitat Berlin
For further information, please contact Paige Johnson at paigej@caltech.edu


The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2013
Curiosity’s First Year on Mars
August 15, 7:00 pm
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
August 16, 7:00 pm
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
Featured Speaker: Dr. Ashwin R. Vasavada, Deputy Project Scientist, Mars Science Laboratory


Genetic Approaches to Understanding Visual System Development, Function and Repair
August 16, 2013, 11:00 am
Trustees Room
Featured Speaker: Andy Huberman, UCSD
For further information, please contact Jaclyn Durocher at jdurocher@salk.edu


Quality Control during 40S Ribosome Maturation
August 22, 2013, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
MBB2N – Committee Lecture Hall
Featured Speaker: Katrin Karbstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, TSRI Florida
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu

Next Generation Personalized Cancer Medicine May Lead to Improved Patient Outcomes
August 29, 2013, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
MBB2N – Committee Lecture Hall
Featured Speaker: Robert A. Beckman, M.D., Executive Director, Clinical Research Oncology, Daiichi-Sankyo Pharmaceutical Development, Edison, NJ
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu


Moving Targets 2013
August 23, 2013, 8:00 am to 6:30pm
Radisson Hotel – Los Angeles Midtown
For further information, please contact movingtargets2013@gmail.com

2013 COLORADO IMMUNOLOGY CONFERENCE - September 11-13, 2013

The Colorado Immunology Conference will take place in Vail, Colorado between September 11th and 13th, 2013.

The CIC will focus advances in immunology research and address topics such as antiviral T cell memory, anti-inflammatory role for neutrophils and innate immunity. A keynote presentation will be given by French researcher Marie Malissen from Center of Immunology of Marseille, Luminy (Ciml) about CD28 costimulation. This event is sponsored by the Office for Science and Technology of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles. As such, the grand prize for the science poster competition will be a free trip to France to attend an immunology related conference.

Please register by August 5, 2013 at : http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/immunology/events/confreg/Pages/form.aspx

For more information on the conference, please visit its official website.

For more information on the science poster competition, please visit the webpage outlining the desired Poster Session Abstract Format.


The Conference ChemBio Interactions will be organized on the 3rd and 4th of October, 2013 in Lyon, France.

This conference will discuss the main themes developed in the field of Drug Discovery and Drug Design, with a focus on molecular modeling, chemistry of bioactive molecules and their molecular diversity, pharmacodynamics, technological advances for drug discovery of new drugs and vectorization of therapeutic agents. It is organized as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty.

Registrations are now open at the following link: Chembiointeract.univ-lyon1.fr

Some key dates:
- September 13: Deadline to submit an abstract
- September 20: End of registration


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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.

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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.

Le Service pour la Science et la Technologie 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 et nos activités, sont également disponibles en ligne.


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