Scientific Watch N°1 - From 01/01/2016 to 01/15/2016

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2016-N°01 from 01/01/2016 to 01/15/2016]

From 01/01/2016 to 01/15/2016

Editors :

Gabriel BENET, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Julie METTA, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Justin MONIER, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Isabelle SAVES, Attachée for Scientific & Academic Affairs - Hong Kong

Contact :




1- Energy & Environment

1.1- A few organisational patterns are models for more than 46,000 plant species

By analyzing more than 46,000 plant species, an international team from 14 international laboratories including “UMR Écologie des Forêts de Guyane “ (Inra, Cirad, CNRS) led by the Argentine scientist Sandra Díaz, have shown that despite their diversity, plants have few trait combinations, centred around two major evolutionary compromises : the size of whole plants and their parts on the one hand, and the balance between the robustness of the leaves and quality of photosynthetic leaf area, on the other. The work was published on Nature on the 23rd of december 2015.

Published on "Inra" website, January 6, 2016 - source

1.2- News on the project SOCOM

As part of the project SOCOM (Ocean Surface pCO2 mapping intercomparison), an international team including researchers from the “Oceanography and Climate Laboratory : experiments and numerical approaches” ( LOCEAN / Ecce Terra, UPMC / CNRS / MNHN / IRD) and “Climate Sciences Laboratory and environment” ( LSCE / OVSQ , CNRS / CEA / UVSQ ) was able to demonstrate a significant increase in the oceanic carbon absorption since the 2000s.

Published on "CNRS website, December 22, 2015 - source

1.3- Variations of El Niño during the last Holocene : comparison between observations and simulations

The future, in the current global context of climate variability ENSO (El Niño southern oscillation) and how it responds to various external disturbances is a question that is always at the heart of scientific debate. An international team* has just completed the first reconstruction across the Pacific Basin, using high resolution marine data covering different time intervals of the Holocene. This unique database also allowed them to show that models used to predict future climate change are not yet able to reproduce past variations.

* including : l’Institut des sciences de l’évolution (ISEM, CNRS / Université de Montpellier / IRD / EPHE / CIRAD / INRAP), le laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement (LSCE/OVSQ, CNRS / CEA / UVSQ), le laboratoire d’océanographie et du climat : expérimentations et approches numériques (LOCEAN/Ecce Terra, UPMC / CNRS / MNHN / IRD), Environnements et paléoenvironnements océaniques (EPOC/OASU, Université de Bordeaux/ CNRS) et le Laboratoire de planétologie et géodynamique de Nantes (LPGN, Université de Nantes / CNRS / Université d’Angers / Université du Maine / Université de La Rochelle / CNES).

Published on "CNRS" website, December 23, 2015 - source

1.4- Antarctic icebergs distributions 1992–2014

The correlation between the global small and large iceberg volumes shows that small icebergs are mainly generated by large ones breaking. Drifting and trapping by sea ice small icebergs can be transported for long period and distances. This work made by two french laboratories : the laboratory of Oceanography from Space (LOS) in Plouzané and the “Laboratoire d’études en géophysique et océanographie spatiales - (LEGOS)” in Toulouse was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research on the 11th of january 2016.

Published on "Ifremer" website, January 12, 2016 - source

1.5- L’hydromaréthermie : a new renewable energy source from Corsica

In Corsica, near Propriano, U Livanti resort features an innovative system for heating and cooling all its villas : the hydromaréthermie. This new marine renewable energy is made of intelligent pumps and ultra-compact sensors that take advantage of the accumulation of sunlight on the surface of the sea.

Published on "GuidENR" website, January 9, 2016 - source

1.6- The newspaper “ Le Monde” is launching its own price on innovation on smart citie

Six prizes of innovation "Le Monde" Smart Cities, including a special prize selected by the jury, will be awarded. Applications must be submitted before March 21, 2016 at 8:00am at the newspaper "Le Monde" to the e-mail address :

Please find out more information about this price in the Le monde’s website


2- Health & Society

2.1- Why prostate cancer is more aggressive in obese patients

Researchers from the Institut de Pharmacologie et Biologie Structurale (CNRS/Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) have recently elucidated one of these mechanisms in prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men : in obese patients, the adipose tissue surrounding the prostate gland facilitates the propagation of tumor cells outside the prostate. A patent has been filed for these results, which open new avenues for the treatment of prostate cancer, and are published in Nature Communications on January 12, 2016.

Published on "CNRS" Website, January 12, 2016 - Source

2.2- 76% of French people in favor of organic food in public canteens

76 % of French people are in favor of the introduction of organic and local food, in school canteens, according to a survey made for the Association Acting for the environment. These people are favorable to the "vote of a law requiring the introduction of foods from organic, local and seasonal agriculture in public catering" (schools, hospitals, retirement homes ...).

Published on "20minutes" Website, January 11, 2016 - Source

2.3- Malaria treatment : questions rise about the artemisinin mechanism

The artemisinin, a molecule derived from a plant used in Chinese traditional medicine , is one of the most effective drugs to fight malaria. Some previous publications assumed that the drug targeted the Ca2 + -ATPase of the parasite. But, lately, scientists at the cell Integrative Biology Institute (Université Paris-Sud / CNRS / CEA ), in collaboration with a Danish team, have shown no effect of artemisinin on the activity of Ca2 + -ATPase. These results are described in the journal of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology on January 6, 2016.

Published on "CNRS" Website, January 6, 2016- source

2.4- Where autism is hide in the brain ?

Researchers from the Institute of Neurosciences of Timone (CNRS / Université Aix-Marseille) have identified a specific brain marker of autism, detectable by Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The discovery could help to diagnose early and more precisely patients. It has been made ​​possible by the expertise in medical imaging processing of autism data resources from the “Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur Center”. The results were published on the 12th of January, 2016 in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry : Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging .

Published on "CNRS" Website, January 12, 2016- source

2.5- IRD and Institut Pasteur contributions to fight against Ebola epidemic in Guinea

The World Health Organization (WHO ) announced December 29, 2015 the end of the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, after 42 days without any contamination. “ France has played an major role, especially through the actions of the French Development Agency , Inserm, IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) and the Institut Pasteur.

Published on "IRD" Website, January 4, 2016- source


3- Research and Education

3.1- Biocontrol workshop coming up in Paris

A joint biocontrol workshop co-organized by Coordinated Integrated Pest Management in Europe (C-IPM), Ecophyto and International organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) will be held in Paris on 27-28 January 2016.

More information in the following website

3.2- Science sheds new light on Marie Antoinette ‘love affair’

Researchers from the Research Centre for the Conservation of Collections (CRCC) in France have started uncovering secret passages from Marie Antoinette’s letters to Axel de Fersen, a friend of France’s royal family who allegedly had a romantic affair with the ill-fated queen.

Published on "France 24" Website, January 12, 2016- source

3.3- Hubble and Spitzer have discovered one of the youngest galaxy ever observed

An international team of astronomers including the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology in Toulouse (CNRS / Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse) has discovered, using both the space telescopes Hubble and Spitzer, one of the most distant galaxies of the universe and also one of the smallest ever detected. They were able to observe as it was 500 million years right after the Big Bang.

CNRS press release, December 3, 2015 - source

3.4- Toulouse OncoWeek, 3-5 February 2016

The Toulouse Onco Week (TOW) will be held in Toulouse on 3-5 February 2016, under the high patronage of Mr. François Hollande, French President.
At the main point of this week dedicated to fight cancer, will be inaugurated the 1st International Symposium of the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse. In parallel to this international symposium, the Business to Business meetings organized by the Competitiveness Cluster Cancer Bio Health, will be held in order to bring together in one place all the key players involved in oncology research and therapeutic care development. Social and charity programs organized by Toulouse Metropole, Toulouse Cancer Santé Foundation and So Toulouse are backed by these events, making the TOW a unique event and international reference.

More information on the Toulouse OncoWeek’s website

3.5- Two french researchers reward by the Leibniz Prize

Two French researchers among the ten Leibniz Prize winners in 2016, one of the most prestigious awards in Germany : the biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier and the historian Bénédicte Savoy.

Published on "Le Monde" Website, December 31, 2015 - Source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- Automotive : French students build a racing car 100% electric

Twenty students from the “École supérieure des techniques aéronautiques et de construction automobile (France)” want to build a “streamliner" powered electrically. They will then participate to to the mythical American race on the salt desert. To erect the car, the small team is currently looking for funding, thus they have launched a crowdfunding campaign.

Published on "La tribune" Website, January 6, 2016 - Source

4.2- Mö : a solar car using pedals

On the occasion of COP21 Solutions, the Evo Velo cooperative has presented to the public its concept of solar car pedals, Mö. An innovative urban transport mode seeking to combine two approaches : bike and electric car.

Published on "Efficyclenews" Website, January 10, 2016 - Source

publié le 14/01/2016

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