Los Angeles S&T Newsletter #39 - June 2013


Last month, following the announcement released in January 2013, the Office for Science and Technology awarded multiple “LIFE SCIENCES : inventing – creating – having fun” scholarships to teams of young researchers so they can participate in international scientific competitions. These scholarships have been distributed by the Office for Science and Technology since 2012 to support French researchers who wish to participate in American competitions concerning the life sciences. This year, the four distinguished teams are Bordeaux, Evry-Génopole, Grenoble/EMSE/LSU, and Paris Bettencourt. These four teams will participate in the 2013 iGEM contest, an international student Synthetic Biology competition organized by MIT in Boston. The teams will have 6 months to assign novel functions to a living microorganism. The researchers are currently in the preparation phase and will start laboratory work this summer before the regional semi-finals, which will be held in October 2013, notably in Lyon in France.

The Office for Science and Technology wishes good luck to the four distinguished teams in this international scientific adventure.

To read the full article please click on the following link : http://www.france-science.org/Scientific-LIFE-SCIENCES-Grants.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 June 2013 newsletter, please scroll down. You can also register here to receive emails about events organized by the OST LA.


"LIFE SCIENCES : inventing - creating - having fun" - on the left, logos of the French teams who will participate in iGEM 2013 thanks to a LIFE SCIENCES grant ; on the right, the 2012 teams which received a LIFE SCIENCES grant and competed in the iGEM 2012 final.




May 6, 2013 : Boosting ’cellular garbage disposal’ can delay the aging process, UCLA biologists report

UCLA life scientists have identified a gene previously implicated in Parkinson’s disease that can delay the onset of aging and extend the healthy life span of fruit flies. The research, they say, could have important implications for aging and disease in humans.

To access the full article :

May 9, 2013 : Study finds that bacteria organize according to ’rich-get-richer’ principle

Bacteria on a surface wander around and often organize into highly resilient communities known as biofilms. It turns out that they organize in a rich-get-richer pattern similar to many economies, according to a new study by researchers at UCLA, Northwestern University and the University of Washington.

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May 13, 2013 : Higher Child Marriage Rates Associated with Higher Maternal and Infant Mortality

Countries in which girls are commonly married before the age of 18 have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, report researchers in the current online issue of the journal Violence Against Women.

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May 13, 2013 : Carnivorous Plant Throws Out ‘Junk’ DNA

The newly sequenced genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant contradicts the notion that vast quantities of noncoding DNA are crucial for complex life. UA researchers helped solve the puzzle by providing specialized genome analyses and computational software.

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May 13, 2013 : Alligator stem cell study gives clues to tooth regeneration

Alligators may help scientists learn how to stimulate tooth regeneration in people, according to new research led by the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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May 15, 2013 : James Cameron to be Publicly Honored with Scripps Nierenberg Prize

Renowned explorer and filmmaker donates lander system that played key role in record-setting expedition and will be used by Scripps researchers as part of the next age of deep-sea exploration.

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May 16, 2013 : UC San Diego Creates Center for Brain Activity Mapping

Responding to President Barack Obama’s “grand challenge” to chart the function of the human brain in unprecedented detail, the University of California, San Diego has established the Center for Brain Activity Mapping (CBAM). The new center, under the aegis of the interdisciplinary Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at UC San Diego, will tackle the technological and biological challenge of developing a new generation of tools to enable recording of neuronal activity throughout the brain. It will also conduct brain-mapping experiments and analyze the collected data.

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May 17, 2013 : Attacking MRSA with metals from antibacterial clays

In the race to protect society from infectious microbes, the bugs are outrunning us. The need for new therapeutic agents is acute, given the emergence of novel pathogens as well as old foes bearing heightened antibiotic resistance.

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May 21, 2013 : Keeping Stem Cells Strong

Caltech biologists show that an RNA molecule protects stem cells during inflammation.

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May 21, 2013 : Enrichment therapy effective among children with autism, UCI study finds

Children with autism showed significant improvement after six months of simple sensory exercises at home using everyday items such as scents, spoons and sponges, according to UC Irvine neurobiologists.

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May 21, 2013 : Drawing closer to Alzheimer’s magic bullet ?

Imagine a pharmaceutical prevention, treatment or even cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

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May 22, 2013 : UA Professor Developing Rapid, Disposable Tests for Blood-Borne Disease

Linda Powers is taking her portable technology to a new level : diagnostics, checking blood for disease.

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May 6, 2013 : Killing Cancer With Radioactive Bacteria

Live bacteria delivered a lethal radioactive payload to pancreatic cancer cells in mice. With further development, the experimental approach might one day help doctors fight this deadly type of cancer in people.

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May 14, 2013 : Results of the ROTAVAC Rotavirus Vaccine Study in India

We congratulate the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), Bharat Biotech International, Ltd., and the scientists, government and people of India on the important results from the ROTAVAC rotavirus vaccine study.

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May 20, 2013 : 3-D Printing of Working Bionic Ears

Researchers used 3-D printing of cartilage cells and nanomaterials to create functional ears that receive radio signals. The study demonstrates that it may one day be possible to create bionic tissues and organs.

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May 20, 2013 : Infection Makes Mosquitos Immune to Malaria Parasites

Researchers established a bacterial infection in mosquitoes that helps fight the parasites that cause malaria. The infected insects could be a significant tool for malaria control.

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May 22, 2013 : Taming suspect gene reverses schizophrenia-like abnormalities in mice

Scientists have reversed behavioral and brain abnormalities in adult mice that resemble some features of schizophrenia by restoring normal expression to a suspect gene that is over-expressed in humans with the illness. Targeting expression of the gene Neuregulin1, which makes a protein important for brain development, may hold promise for treating at least some patients with the brain disorder, say researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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May 28, 2013 : FDA clears first blood tracking device that uses Radio Frequency Identification technology

iTrace for Blood Centers, (Version 1.0.924.0), the first application to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in blood establishments to assist in enhancing blood safety by preventing the release of unsuitable blood components, was cleared today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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May 29, 2013 : FDA approves two drugs, companion diagnostic test for advanced skin cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved two new drugs, Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib), for patients with advanced (metastatic) or unresectable (cannot be removed by surgery) melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

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May 6, 2013 : Chikungunya : discovery of a human-specific factor involved in the virus replication

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and CNRS, have identified a human-specific factor involved in the replication of Chikungunya virus which accounts for the species specificity of this virus. Chikungunya virus is an emerging virus that in 2005 caused, for the first time, an outbreak in La Réunion island, a French overseas district where more than 30% of the population was infected, and has recently emerged in temperate regions of Europe. The identification of this new host factor enriches our understanding of the molecular bases of Chikungunya virus infection, which were characterized so far. This work also paves the way for the development of a more relevant humanized animal model to better understand the pathophysiology of infection. This research has been published online on April 26, at the European Molecular Biology Organization reports (EMBO reports).

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May 15, 2013 : Discovery of a molecule derived from cholesterol that has anti-cancer properties

Although excessive quantities of cholesterol in the body are known to have adverse effects on health, researchers might polish up its reputation via one of its derivatives. The research team from Inserm and the CNRS led by Marc Poirot and Sandrine Silvente-Poirot at the “Centre de recherche en cancérologie de Toulouse” (Inserm / CNRS / Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier), has not only discovered a new molecule derived from cholesterol (known as dendrogenine A), but has also provided proof in mice that this molecule has anti-cancer properties.

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May 16, 2013 : Resistance to visceral leishmaniasis : new mechanisms involved

Researchers from CNRS, Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier and IRD have elucidated new molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to visceral leishmaniasis, a serious parasitic infection. They have shown that dectin-1 and mannose receptors participate in the protection against the parasite responsible for this infection, by triggering an inflammatory response, while the DC-SIGN receptor facilitates the penetration of the pathogen and its proliferation in macrophages1. This work, conducted on both mice and humans and published on 16 May 2013 in the journal Immunity, opens new perspectives for the prevention and treatment of this disease.

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May 22, 2013 : New method for predicting cancer virulence

A new way of tackling cancer and predicting tumor virulence are has been reported by a team of scientists from the Institut Albert Bonniot de Grenoble including researchers from CNRS, Inserm and Université Joseph Fourier, in collaboration with clinical physicians and anatomopathologists from the CHU de Grenoble, with the support of the Institut National du Cancer, the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer and the Fondation ARC pour la Recherche sur le Cancer. The scientists have shown that, in all cancers, an aberrant activation of numerous genes specific to other tissues occurs. For example, in lung cancers, the tumorous cells express genes specific to the production of spermatozoids, which should be silent. This work, published on 22 May 2013 in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that identifying the genes that are abnormally activated in a cancer makes it possible to determine its virulence with great accuracy. This study represents an original concept that will allow cancer patients to be given an accurate diagnosis as well as personalized care.

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May 28, 2013 : Physicians insufficiently informed of the side effects of drugs

An international study involving 255 physicians practising in Vancouver, Montreal, Sacramento and Toulouse found that physicians are not given enough information about the adverse effects of drugs during presentations made by medical sales representatives from pharmaceutical companies.

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General Biology Seminar
June 4, 2013, 4:00 pm
119 Kerckhoff
Featured speaker : Bonnie Bassler, Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University
For further information, please contact Julia Boucher at jboucher@caltech.edu

Kleigel Lectures in Planetary Science
June 11, 2013, 4:00 pm
365 S. Mudd, Salvatori Room
Featured Speaker : James Wray, Assistant Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
For further information, please contact Miki Nakajima at mnakajima@caltech.edu


The von Kármán Lecture Series : 2013
Forecasting Quakes : Facts, Myths and Possibilities
June 20, 2013, 7:00 pm
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
June 21, 2013, 7:00 pm
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
Featured Speaker : Dr. Greg Lyzenga, Technical Staff, Solid Earth Group, Earth Sciences Section, JPL


TB as an Inflammatory Disease : Therapeutic Insights from the Zebrafish
June 13, 2013, 4:00 pm
Featured Speaker : Dr. Lalita Ramakrishnan, University of Washington
For further information, please contact jdurocher@salk.edu

Seven Transmembrane Receptors
June 18, 2013, 4:00 pm
Featured Speaker : Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., Duke University Medical Center
For further information, please contact jdurocher@salk.edu


The NLR Family and It’s Broad Role in Immunity
June 13, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Featured Speaker : Jenny Ting, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Director, Center for Translational Immunology, University of North Carolina
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu

Adapting Proteostasis to Ameliorate Aggregation-associated Degenerative Diseases : What Have We Learned From the Clinical Trial Results About Etiology ?
June 18, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
DNC – Dorris Center Auditorium
Featured Speaker : Jeffery Kelly Ph.D., Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
For further information, please contact calendar@scripps.edu


Seminar : Pathogens & You
June 6, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Dr. S. Jerome & Judtih D. Tamkin Student Lecture Building, Room F-114
Featured Speaker : Dr. Barbour & Dr. Buchmeier, University of California, Irvine

Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease : Overcoming Translational Issues and New Models
June 7, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sue and Bill Gross Hall, 4th Floor
Featured Speaker : Frank Laferla, PhD

Second Symposium on Systems Biology of Stem Cells
June 9-11, 2013
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Science and Engineering
Featured Speaker : Kristen Davis, civil & environmental engineering assistant professor
For further information, please contact Karen Martin (kymartin@uci.edu) or Lila Sosnowska (lila.s@research.uci.edu)


Research Conference on Aging, 2013
June 28, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Neuroscience Research Bldg. – Auditorium – Room 132
Please register online
For further information, please contact annehu@mednet.ucla.edu


Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology Seminars Series (RAIS)
June 10, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Leichtag Biomedical Research Building, Room 107
For further information, please Marcia da Silva at raidivision@ucsd.edu


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Dernière modification : 23/02/2016

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