Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #45 - December 2013

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Last month, the Los Angeles Office for Science and Technology attended the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in San Diego, joining major French organizations in sharing news related to French neuroscience research and opportunities for Franco-American collaboration in the field. We would like to thank the many attendees who participated in the daily raffle and visited the booth.

This month, the OST is partnering with the Alliances françaises in Los Angeles and Denver who are each hosting their own "Café des Sciences." Denver’s Café des Sciences will focus on the technology of 3D printing, and the one in Los Angeles will be about energy conservation. These seminars, with elements in both French and English, are open to the public but an RSVP is required. More information about these two Cafés des Sciences can be found toward the end of this newsletter.

December is the time for PhD students in American universities to start applying for the OST’s Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This program aims to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships, and joint projects by encouraging exchange at the doctorate level. Fellows are selected through a merit-based competition and priority is given to candidates working toward a dual PhD degree with their French host institution. Applications are due by January 31, 2014, and more information can be found at http://www.chateaubriand-fellowship.org

And finally, the Los Angeles Office for Science and Technology wishes you "Joyeuses Fêtes de Fin d’Année" with the approach of the holiday season!

Gregory Disse, Science and Technology Intern
Viviane Chansavang, Deputy Attaché for Science and Technology
Fabien Agenes, Attaché for Science and Technology

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




November 6, 2013 : Researchers target drug-resistant strains of HIV

USC researchers have demonstrated a way to generate potential new drugs to halt the replication of HIV in infected patients by inhibiting a crucial enzyme in the virus’ reproductive cycle.

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November 7, 2013 : Healthy stem cells can create benign tumors in jaw, USC study finds
A new study from the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC published in Cell Stem Cell illustrates how changes in cell signaling can cause ordinary stem cells in the jaw to start forming benign but potentially harmful tumors.

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November 12, 2013 : Un-junking Junk DNA

A study led by researchers at UCSD School of Medicine shines a new light on molecular tools our cells use to govern regulated gene expression.

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November 12, 2013 : USC study reveals a protein that keeps people organized

Most people thing that their planners or iPhones keep them organized, when proteins such as liver kinase b1 (Lkb1) actually have a lot more to do with it.

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November 14, 2013 : Understanding a Protein’s Role in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease

Novel genomic approach reveals gene mutation isn’t simple answer.

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November 18, 2013 : You are what you eat : Low-fat diet changes prostate cancer tissue

Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower cell cycle progression score – a measure used to predict cancer recurrence – than men who ate a typical Western diet.

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November 20, 2013 : Focusing on Faces

For most computer users, information is only valuable when it serves a context-specific purpose, such as providing the GPS coordinates for a new restaurant or a list of search results for a query on airline flights to Fiji.

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November 21, 2013 : UCLA, Emory researchers find a chemical signature for “fast” form of Parkinson’s

Earlier detection may provide more effective disease management.

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November 21, 2013 : Brain Surgeons go with the flow

Neurosurgeons at UCSD Health System are using a new approach to visualize the brain’s delicate anatomy prior to surgery. The novel technique allows neurosurgeons to see the brain’s nerve connections thus preserving and protecting critical functions such as vision, speech and memory. No needles, dyes or chemicals are needed to create the radiology scan.

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November 21, 2013 : UCLA research could enhance treatments for drug-resistant melanoma

Results of the study, led by UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, should help oncologists make better use of BRAF inhibitor drugs in combination with other drugs for melanoma patients.

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November 25, 2013 : UCI, Northwestern researchers create compounds that boost antibiotics’ effectiveness

Inhibitors could form basis of new treatments for such diseases as MRSA, anthrax.

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November 25, 2013 : Using microRNA Fit to a T (cell)

Researchers at UCSD School of Medicine have successfully targeted T lymphocytes – which play a central role in the body’s immune response – with another type of white blood cell engineered to synthesize and deliver bits of non-coding RNA or microRNA (miRNA).

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November 25, 2013 : UCLA team first to map autism-risk genes by function

Results reveal how mutations in genes disrupt early brain development.

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November 6, 2013 : Earliest marker for autism found in young infants

NIH-funded study finds attention to others’ eyes declines in 2 to 6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism.

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November 14, 2013 : FDA approves medical device to treat epilepsy

The US Food and Drug Administration today approved a device to help reduce the frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients who have no responded well to medications.

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November 22, 2013 : FDA approval of avian flu vaccine moves preparedness forward

The nation marks a historic step in pandemic preparedness today.

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November 22, 2013 : FDA approves new treatment for hepatitis C virus

The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Olysio (simeprevir), a new therapy to treat chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

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November 24, 2013 : Gene-silencing study finds new target for Parkinson’s disease

NIH study sheds light on treatment of related disorders.

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November 18, 2013 : Cancer treatment : a step towards personalized chronotherapy

Cancer chronotherapy consists in administering treatment at an optimal time. Because the body is governed by precise biological rhythms, the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs can be doubled and their toxicity reduced five-fold depending on the exact timing of their administration. However, important differences in biorhythms exist between individuals, which chronotherapy has not been able to take into account until now. An international study conducted on mice and coordinated by researchers from Inserm, CNRS and Université Paris-Sud1 has paved the way towards personalized chronotherapy treatments. In an article published in the journal Cancer Research, the team has shown that the timing of optimal tolerance to irinotecan, a widely used anti-cancer drug, varies by 8 hours depending on the sex and genetic background of mice. They then developed a mathematical model that makes it possible to predict, for each animal, the optimal timing for administering the drug. They now hope to test this model on other drugs used in chemotherapy.

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November 20, 2013 : Where and how are fear-related behaviours and anxiety disorders controlled?

A team of researchers at Inserm led by Cyril Herry (Inserm Unit 862, “Neurocentre Magendie,” Bordeaux) has just shown that interneurons located in the forebrain at the level of the prefrontal cortex are heavily involved in the control of fear responses. Using an approach combining in vivo recordings and optogenetic manipulations in mice, the researchers succeeded in showing that the inhibition of parvalbumin-expressing prefrontal interneurons triggers a chain reaction resulting in fear behaviour. Conversely, activation of these parvalbumin interneurons significantly reduces fear responses in rodents.

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November 21, 2013 : Chemotherapy : when our intestinal bacteria provide reinforcement

Research jointly conducted by investigators at Institut Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Institut Pasteur and INRA (French National Agronomic Research Institute) has led to a rather surprising discovery on the manner in which cancer chemotherapy treatments act more effectively with the help of the intestinal flora (also known as the intestinal microbiota). Indeed, the researchers have just shown that the efficacy of one of the molecules most often used in chemotherapy relies to an extent on its capacity to mobilise certain bacteria from the intestinal flora toward the bloodstream and lymph nodes. Once inside the lymph nodes, these bacteria stimulate fresh immune defences which then enhance the body’s ability to fight the malignant tumour.

To access the full article:





T Cell Memory and Exhaustion
December 4, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium, Room 132
Featured Speaker: Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D, (Emory)

Getting Answers from Babies about Autism
December 5, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium
Featured Speaker: Mayada Elsabbagh, PhD (McGill)

Modeling cytosine methylation reprogramming with stem cells
December 5, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Health Sciences Center, Room 73-105
Featued Speaker: Amander Clark, PhD (UCLA)


Crick-Jacobs Symposium
Transgenic Models of the Human Brain
December 19, 8:30am – 5:30pm
Frederic de Hoffman Auditorium
Event Organizers: Terrence Sejnowski (Computational Neurobiology Laboratory) and John Reynolds (Systems Neurobiology Laboratory)


Probing the Host-Pathogen Interface for New Therapeutic Targets
December 11, 4:00pm
Tamkin Student Lecture Building, Room F-114
Featured Speaker: Dr. Victor Nizet (UCSD)

How Does the Brain Learn to Read?
December 16, 12:00pm – 1:15pm
Education Building, Room 2024
Featured Speakers: Jo Ann G. and Peter F. Dolle (Northwestern)


The Alliance Française de Los Angeles invites you to a free “Café des Sciences” which will take place Thursday, December 5 at 7pm at the Alliance Française de Los Angeles. We will welcome Magali Delmas who will give the presentation “Creating Momentum for Energy Conservation” in French, followed by a discussion in English and French and a wine and cheese reception. The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP to admin@afdela.org

More information can be found at:

CAFÉ DES SCIENCES : 3D Printing, Myth and Reality – December 17 – 6pm – Denver, CO

The Alliance Française de Denver will be hosting a free café scientifique on December 17. 3D Printing is a buzzword that everyone has started to hear and talk about. How does it work? What does it really do? Omar-Pierre Soubra will bring a popular 3D printing model and let it run during the presentation. The presentation will be both in French and English. The event is free, but please RSVP to afd@afdenver.org or (303) 831-0304.


The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), offered by the Embassy of France in the United States, Office for Science and Technology (OST), aims to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships, or joint projects by encouraging exchange at the doctorate level.
The Fellowship supports PhD students registered in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory. STEM Chateaubriand Fellows are selected through a merit-based competition and priority is given to candidates working toward a dual PhD degree with their French host institution.
Fellows receive a stipend of up to 1,400 €/month (depending on other sources of funding) for a 4-9 month period and support for travel expenses and student health insurance. The required level of French remains at the discretion of the host laboratory. All STEM and Health disciplines are eligible.
Application deadline: January 31, 2014
Fellowship starting date: Between September 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015.
More information and the application are available at:


Following political troubles, the forum organized by the National Innovation Agency, the French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health of France, and UCLA will be held in Bangkok from January 21-22, 2014. AEC Biomedical Innovation Forum 2013 is an international conference and exhibition on health technology for development with the objective to provide an international platform for knowledge and networking exchange in the biomedical industry in ASEAN. Hopefully, this forum will lead to a successfully technology transfer and the implementation of new health technologies and investment in the region, especially in the emerging markets of AEC.


Please consult Le Fil de Marianne for further information on international calls and job offers.


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 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.

La Mission 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.


The Office for Science and Technology of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles
Information about the OST LA’s missions and activities can be found here.


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