Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #65 - August 2015

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On behalf of the Office for Science and Technology, we would like to invite you to attend the events listed in this newsletter as well as explore scientific news and advances that occurred this past July. August brings numerous upcoming programs and events.

Bastille Day – This past July 14th, the newly-appointed Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Mr. Christophe Lemoine, hosted the annual Bastille Day celebration. The Consul General welcomed almost 500 guests to his residence in Beverly Hills, some of them being guests of the Office of Science and Technology. The accumulation of so many scientific minds devoted to strengthening our Franco-American scientific relationship illustrates the fruitful future the relationship has. In addition to celebrating the French national holiday, this event was perfect for welcoming the new Consul General and we, at the Office of Science and Technology, are thrilled to begin working with him at the Consulate.

33entrepreneurs – On July 27th, 2015, 33entrepreneurs, an open startup accelerator and a global seed fund, made a stop in Los Angeles during their tour across North America for a Startup Contest. Hosted by the Consul General of France in Los Angeles, and with the support of the Office for Science and Technology and the French Accelerator, twelve start-ups competed for the chance to pursue their entrepreneurial goals and earn a ticket to two global leading conferences (Bon Appétech for Wine + Food & Beverages Tech startups in San Francisco, CA, and Phocuswright for Travel Tech startups in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, FL). By making short and effective pitches to a group of judges, these start-ups are focused on changing the world of Travel, Food, Wine, and Sprit industries. The gathering at the Consul General’s Residence drew 150 guests, due to the close proximity to Silicon Beach, Los Angeles’ emerging technology scene. The event was a great success, ending with the selection of three start-ups: Hertzbier, Industry, and Bucket, we wish them congratulations and the best of luck in their future endeavors. For more information about 33entrepreneurs and its mission, follow this link and watch this video.

Scientific Bulletin – To all of our French and American Francophone readers, the Office of Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States has a Scientific Bulletin that we invite you to perouse. It contains weekly updates regarding scientific and technological advances and scientific politics in the United States.

Lastly, this will be Gwen Calais-Haase’s last newsletter. Gwen has been interning with us at the Office for Science and Technology in Los Angeles for the past four months and we are very thankful of her precious help. She will be flying out to Paris very shortly to pursue her studies in political sciences for a semester. We wish her all the best for her trip to France!

The Office of Science and Technology wishes you a relaxing end to your summer!

Gwen Calais-Haase, 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 August 2015 newsletter, please scroll down. You can also register here to receive emails about events organized by the OST LA.



July 8, 2015: USC Stem Cell researchers reveal genetic blueprint for cartilage

Cartilage does a lot more than determine the shapes of people’s ears and noses. It also enables people to breathe and to form healthy bones — two processes essential to life. USC Stem Cell researcher Xinjun He and University of Tokyo researcher Shinsuke Ohba explore how a protein called Sox9 regulates the production of cartilage.

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July 8, 2015: Does a fish hold the key to regenerating the heart after a heart attack?

Lindsey Mork from Gage Crump’s lab and Michaela Patterson from Henry Sucov’s lab are using zebrafish to investigate the role of the Tnni3k gene in heart regeneration. When activated, this gene appears to lower the number of cells called mononuclear diploid cardiomyocytes, which form new cardiac muscle following an injury such as a heart attack.

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July 9, 2015: A New Wrinkle: Geometry of Brain’s Outer Surface Correlates With Genetic Heritage

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the School of Medicine have found that the three-dimensional shape of the cerebral cortex – the wrinkled outer layer of the brain controlling many functions of thinking and sensation – strongly correlates with ancestral background. The study opens the door to more precise studies of brain anatomy going forward and could eventually lead to more personalized medicine approaches for diagnosing and treating brain diseases.

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July 10, 2015: Brain study shows that depression reduces size of the hippocampus

Chronic depression is associated with shrinkage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain related to learning and memory, according to new research led by a team from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The research also revealed that the differences in the brain become more severe the longer an individual suffers from depression, as well as in people who receive a diagnosis of depression at an early age.

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July 13, 2015: Nutrients Turn on Key Tumor Signaling Molecule, Fueling Resistance to Cancer Therapy

Tumors can leverage glucose and other nutrients to resist targeted therapies directed at specific cellular molecules, according to researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Ludwig Cancer Research. In the study the team used human tissue and mouse models to demonstrate that nutrients can strongly affect the signaling molecules that drive tumors in glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer.

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July 13, 2015: UCLA researchers identify new mechanism that delivers glucose to cancer cells

UCLA scientists have identified a new mechanism that delivers a key substance that fuels the growth of pancreatic and prostate cancer cells, a finding that offers new hope in the fight against two of the deadliest forms of the disease.

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July 13, 2015: Learning Impacts How the Brain Processes What We See

From the smell of flowers to the taste of wine, our perception is strongly influenced by prior knowledge and expectations, a cognitive process known as top-down control. In a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study a research team led by Takaki Komiyama, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences and neurobiology, reports that in mouse models, the brain significantly changed its visual cortex operation modes by implementing top-down processes during learning.

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July 16, 2015: Trapped Light Orbits Within an Intriguing Material

Light becomes trapped as it orbits within tiny granules of a crystalline material that has increasingly intrigued physicists, a team led by University of California, San Diego, physics professor Michael Fogler has found. Hexagonal boron nitride, stacked layers of boron and nitrogen atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, has recently been found to bend electromagnetic energy in unusual and potentially useful ways.

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July 16, 2015: Mosquitoes Use Smell to See Their Hosts

On summer evenings, we try our best to avoid mosquito bites by dousing our skin with bug repellents and lighting citronella candles. These efforts may keep the mosquitoes at bay for a while, but no solution is perfect because the pests have evolved to use a triple threat of visual, olfactory, and thermal cues to home in on their human targets, a new Caltech study suggests.

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July 19, 2015: New Biomarker Identified in Women with Mental Illness

Psychiatric disorders can be difficult to diagnose because clinicians must rely upon interpreted clues, such as a patient’s behaviors and feelings. For the first time, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report identifying a biological marker: the over-production of specific genes that could be a diagnostic indicator of mental illness in female psychiatric patients.

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July 16, 2015: Brain-based algorithms make for better networks

When it comes to developing efficient, robust networks, the brain may often know best. Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Carnegie Mellon University have, for the first time, determined the rate at which the developing brain eliminates unneeded connections between neurons during early childhood.

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July 16, 2015: UCLA study finds that a protein that helps suppress cancer fades as we age

Researchers at UCLA have found that a protein that serves as a suppressor of cancer diminishes in skin and mouth epithelial cells as the human body ages. Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry, and his research team have been studying p53, a tumor suppressor protein known as “the guardian of the genome” because of its involvement in DNA repair, cell cycle regulation and cellular deterioration.

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July 16, 2015: Oceans slowed global temperature rise, scientists report

A new study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the subsurface waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, thus accounting for the slowdown in the global surface temperature increase observed during the past decade, researchers say.

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July 9: Where does water go when it doesn’t flow?

More than a quarter of the rain and snow that falls on continents reaches the oceans as runoff. Where does the rest go? Now results of a new study help answer that question: two-thirds of the remaining water comes from plants, more than a quarter lands on leaves and evaporates, and what’s left evaporates from soil and from lakes, rivers and streams. "The question is, when rain falls on the landscape, where does it go?" asks University of Utah geochemist Gabe Bowen.

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July 14, 2015: Physicists discover long-sought ’pentaquark’ particle

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced Tuesday that researchers discovered a remarkable class of particles known as pentaquarks that could reshape scientists’ understanding about the properties of matter.

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July 16, 2015: Futuristic brain probe allows for wireless control of neurons

A study showed that scientists can wirelessly determine the path a mouse walks with a press of a button. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, created a remote controlled, next-generation tissue implant that allows neuroscientists to inject drugs and shine lights on neurons deep inside the brains of mice. The revolutionary device is described online in the journal Cell. Its development was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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July 20, 2015: NIH study identifies gene variant linked to compulsive drinking

Carrying a gene variant that affects the release of a specific brain protein may put one at greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, according to the results of a recent animal study. The study was led by Professor Dorit Ron, PhD, Endowed Chair of Cell Biology of Addiction, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, and was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

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July 3, 2015: Climate change and health: what are the implications?

In December 2015, France will host the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). This international conference highlights the willingness of the 200 participating governments to limit climate disruption and its consequences for the Earth’s natural system. In this context, Inserm is committed to highlighting the crucial role that health and those working in the health sector can play in the coming months and years to make climate-related issues a central concern for our societies.

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July 10, 2015: Septicaemia: the kidney protected by white blood cells

Septicaemia is a general inflammatory reaction secondary to an infection. Bacteria discharge into the blood, leading to fever, an increased heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, an increased breathing rate, and a pronounced fatigue of the body. The kidney lesions caused by septicaemia have been studied by Doctors Benjamin Chousterman and Alexandre Boissonnas in work performed in the Centre for Infectious Diseases and Immunology in Paris (Inserm/UPMC/CNRS) headed by Christophe Combadière, director of research at Inserm – in partnership with Prof. Didier Payen. The research team showed that certain white blood cells activated during the immune response (the monocytes) have a protective effect on the kidney tissue of mouse models of septicaemia.

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July 23, 2015: Fighting mosquito resistance to insecticides

Controlling mosquitoes that carry human diseases is a global health challenge as their ability to resist insecticides now threatens efforts to prevent epidemics. Scientists from the CNRS, IRD, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble and Institut Pasteur in French Guiana1 have identified new genetic markers for mosquito resistance to insecticides, which could improve its detection in the field.

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July 28, 2015: Pygmies show growth plasticity is key to human evolution

While the stature of pygmies is well-suited to tropical rainforests, the mechanisms underlying their growth remain poorly understood. In order to decipher these mechanisms, a team of scientists from the CNRS, IRD and UPMC1 studied a group of Baka pygmies in Cameroon. Their findings revealed that their growth rate differed completely from that of another pygmy cluster, despite a similar adult height, which implies that small stature appeared independently in the two clusters.

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The 2015 Roxanna Todd Hodges Lecture in Stroke Prevention and Education: “Atrial Cardiopathy and Cryptogenic Stroke”
August 4, 2015, 7:45 am
Location: Herklotz Seminar Room, Keck School of Medicine
Featured Speaker: Hooman Kamel, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College
More Information: http://www.keck.usc.edu/events/the-2015-roxanna-todd-hodges-lecture-in-stroke-prevention-and-education-atrial-cardiopathy-and-cryptogenic-stroke/


Startup UCLA Summer Accelerator & Blackstone LaunchPad Speaker Series
Tuesday August 18 & 25, 2015, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Sunset Village - Covel North Ridge Room
More Information: http://happenings.ucla.edu/all/event/172120

The Next Wave: Ocean Acidification: A Global Problem with Local Impacts
Tuesday August 25, 2015, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Location: UCLA Hammer Museum – Billy Wilder Theater
More Information: http://happenings.ucla.edu/all/event/166383

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
More Information: http://www.salk.edu/events/scientific_seminars.html

Dulbecco Lecture: Personalizing Cancer Immunotherapy
August 6, 2015, 4:00 pm
Location: Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Guest Speaker: Robert Schreiber, Washington University, St. Louis

Umesono Lecture: Receptors, Neurons, and Circuits: The Biology of Mammalian Taste
August 20, 2015, 4:00 pm
Location: Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
Guest Peaker: Charles S. Zuker, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


FRET Live-Cell Imaging and Quantitation Summer Workshop
August 3, 2015 - 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Science Engineering Research Facility
More Information: https://calendar.ucsd.edu/DisplayEventDetail.asp?iEventID=158922&iSubCatID=36&iRoomID=

UC Irvine

Foodscapes IV: Real vs Processed Foods
August 13, 2015 – 11:00am - 2:00 pm
Location: Anteater Recreation Center
Sponsored by the Global Sustainability Resource Center
More Information: http://today.uci.edu/events/event/foodscapes-iv-real-vs-processed-foods/


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