Scientific Watch N°14 - From 01/07/2016 to 15/07/2016

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2016-N°14 from 01/07/2016 to 15/07/2016]

From 01/07/2016 to 15/07/2016

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- The EDF Group enters into wind energy in China, the world’s largest renewable energy market

The French electric utility company, EDF Group, ramps up development in renewables energies and announces his first project in the chinese wind energy sector. EDF Energies Nouvelles, its subsidiary dedicated to renewable energy, has acquired a majority stake in UPC Asia Wind Management (AWM) which develops and builds wind projects in China.

Original article published on website, 12 July 2016. Source

1.2- Nuclear mainteance: a business cluster created in South West France

For the first time in France, the main nuclear power stakeholders joined forces to create a companies cluster dedicated to research and innovation in maintenance processes. Called “E-Clide”, this cluster aims at improving the specifications of industries trough the development of technological innovations collaboratively designed on the site of Saint-Aubin-de-Blaye (Gironde, France). It has been launched on July 7, 2016.

Original article published on website, 29 June 2016. Source


2- Health & Society

2.1- French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025

The French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025 was presented to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls by Yves Lévy, President of the National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health (Aviesan) and CEO of the French national institute of health and medical research (Inserm), on 22 June 2016. The Prime Minister sent an engagement letter to the President of Aviesan in April 2015, to examine the conditions needed to enable the use of whole genome sequencing in clinical practice. This ambitious plan, overseen and supported by the State, is aimed at positioning France as a leader among the major countries involved in genomic medicine within the next ten years. Although it responds to a public health challenge in diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic terms, this plan is also aimed at encouraging the emergence of a national medical and industrial sector for genomic medicine, and exporting this expertise.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 23 June 2016. Source

2.2- Chairman and CEO of Inserm appointed member of the UN “Global Health Crises” Task Force

UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon has just announced the creation of a “Global Health Crises” Task Force, which will bring together 3 co-leads and 12 members, including the French national institute of health and medical research (Inserm) Chairman and CEO Prof. Yves Lévy. The Task Force will ensure the implementation and monitoring of the recommendations of the report, “Protecting humanity from future health crises,” submitted to the UN Secretary-General in February 2016 by the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises. The main mission of the Task Force will be to alert the UN Secretary-General on matters related to emerging crises and any gaps or weaknesses in the world health system.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 1 July 2016. Source

2.3- 5-7 July 2016: the eHealth Summer University celebrated its 10th anniversary in Castres

The 10th edition of the eHealth University took place from 5 to 7 July 2016 in Castres (Tarn, France) on the campus of the engineering school ISIS (Informatique et Systèmes d’Information pour la Santé). The addressed thematic was the “digital humanism”. The goal was to highlight the use of technology in human life by focusing on the concept of digital humanism and its application in the field of healthcare. A round table addressing the topic under the angle of transhumanism completed the inaugural talk of Prof. Milad Doueihi (Digital Research Chair at the Paris-Sorbonne University and the Laval University in Quebec).

Original article published on website, 27 June 2016. Source

2.4- BacTouBac - Bacteria One Health Day, Innovation to face the microbial challenge, Toulouse 8 December 2016

The French competitiveness cluster “CancerBioSanté” CBS will organize the Bacteria One Health Day BacTouBac in Toulouse on December 8, 2016. Invited speakers are Prof. Patrice Nordmann (Head of the Inserm Unit “Emerging antibiotic resistance”), Dr. Marc Lemmonier (CEO Antabio, a France-based private biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of game-changing treatments of life-threatening and drug-resistant bacterial infections), Dr. Eric Oswald (Inserm UMR1043 - CNRS UMR5282 - Universite Toulouse III
 INRA USC136), Dr. Olivier Neyrolles (Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology, UMR5089 CNRS / Université P. Sabatier, Molecular Mechanisms of Mycobacterial Infections Department), Prof. Alain Bousquet-Melou (national veterinary school of Toulouse). The meeting will end with a round table discussion.

Tentative programme and registration can be found here

2.5- An American national appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the French pharmaceutical laboratory Ipsen

The Board of Directors of Ipsen met on 8 July 2016, and has appointed David Meek as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 18, 2016. He was previously director of the oncology division in the American biotech company Baxalta. This appointment demonstrates the ambition of the pharmaceutical company to play an active role in the USA, the largest pharmaceutical market in the world, and to reinforce its position in cancer therapeutics.

Original article published on website, 12 July 2016. Source

2.6- Science and Theatre at the Festival d’Avignon

As part of the serie “binôme”, performances including one author and one researcher will be presented during the Festival d’Avignon, from 18 to 22 July 2016. The show “Ultimes cérémonies” by Catherine Zambon, writen after she met Dr. Anne-Virginie Salsac (fluid mechanics scientist, CNRS UMR 7338 : BioMécanique et BioIngénierie, Université de Technologie de Compiègne) will take place on July 21, 2016.

Free entry, reservation required


3- Research and Education

3.1- Innovative technique to monitor earthquakes in offshore faults

To monitor a segment of the Northern Anatolian Fault near Istambul, an international scientific team including researchers from the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) and the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest, France) deployed a beacons network on the floor of the Marmara sea. They aimed at measuring the movements of the seabed on both sides of this segment. Data collected during the first 6 months of analysis reveal that the fault would be blocked at this segment, suggesting a continiuous accumulation of energy that could potentially be released suddenly. This could cause a high magnitude earthquake nearby Istambul. The study conducted by French, German and Turkish researchers has been published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 8 July 2016. Source

3.2- New insights on time reversal

Is it possible to make a wave relive the steps of its past life? This question has been thorougly investigated at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris ESPCI (Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution - Paris), especially in the case of acoustic and electromagnetic waves. The usual process of investigation called “time reversal mirror” requires a lot of sensors and heavy electronic material but teams from the Institut Langevin (ESPCI Paris/CNRS) and the Laboratoire PMMH (ESPCI Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) have just revisited the concept in an original fashion, building on symetries between space and time, and getting free of any electronic material. Named “Instantaneaous time mirror”, their concept has been tested with water waves and associated studies have been published in the journal Nature Physics.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 11 July 2016. Source

3.3- Is the drastic expansion of the Asian hornet due to man?

The expansion rate of the Asian predatory wasp, also known as the Asian hornet or yellow-legged hornet (Vespa velutina) in Europe is not necessarily related to human activities. This is the result of a study conducted by researchers from Université François-Rabelais, Inra (French national institute for agricultural research) and CNRS (French national centre for scientific research) and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Their work shows that implementing targeted action plans could greatly reduce the increase and the impacts of this invasive species.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 28 June 2016. Source

3.4- The relentless dynamism of the adult brain

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS (Laboratory for Perception and Memory - Institut Pasteur/CNRS) were able to make real-time observations over a period of several months that reveal how new adult-born neurons are formed and evolve in the olfactory bulb of mice. They made the surprising discovery that there is constant structural plasticity in the connections established by these new neurons with the circuits into which they are recruited. The scientists showed that this neuronal dynamism can enable optimal processing of sensory information by the olfactory bulb. These findings are to be published in the journal Neuron on June 30, 2016 and were conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, USA), the Diana Helis Henry Medical Research Foundation (New Orleans, USA) and the Northwestern University (Evanston, USA).

Original article published on the Institut Pasteur’s website, 30 June 2016. Source

3.5- A giant impact: solving the mystery of how Mars’ moons formed

Where did the two natural satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, come from? Two independent and complementary studies provide an answer to this question. One of these studies, to be published in The Astrophysical Journal and predominantly conducted by researchers from the CNRS and Aix-Marseille Université (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Marseille) in collaboration with the Institut de planétologie et d’astrophysique de Grenoble (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes), the Centre européen de recherche et d’enseignement de géosciences de l’environnement (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université/IRD/Collège de France) and ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre, rules out the capture of asteroids, and shows that the only scenario compatible with the surface properties of Phobos and Deimos is that of a giant collision. In the second study, a team of French, Belgian, and Japanese researchers used cutting-edge digital simulations to show how these satellites were able to form from the debris of a gigantic collision between Mars and a protoplanet one-third its size. This research, which is the result of collaboration between researchers from Université Paris Diderot and Royal Observatory of Belgium, in collaboration with the CNRS, Université de Rennes 1 and the Japanese Institute ELSI, is published on July 4, 2016 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 4 July 2016. Source

3.6- Frigate birds : never touching down

Frigate birds were already known for their ability to fly continuously for weeks without landing. A telemetric study of their trajectory and flight strategy has just revealed that they can remain airborne for over two months during their transoceanic migrations. The results of this study, led by Dr. Henri Weimerskirch of the Centre d’études biologiques de Chizé (CNRS/Université de La Rochelle) in partnership with colleagues from the Laboratoire Entropie (CNRS/Université de La Réunion), Bangor University (UK), University of British Columbia (Canada) and the Technische Universität München (Germany), were published on July 1, 2016 in the journal Science.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 1 July 2016. Source

3.7- 2016 Pasteur Vallery-Radot Prize

The Pasteur Vallery-Radot Prize was set up by Jacqueline Pasteur Vallery-Radot, the wife of Louis Pasteur’s grandson. Each year, the prize goes to two French Institut Pasteur scientists under the age of 50 who have carried out a major scientific project in the field of biology or physics/chemistry over the last five years. This year, the awards were presented on June 29, 2016 to Dr. Simonetta Gribaldo, Group Leader in the Molecular Biology of the Gene in Extremophiles Unit, and Dr. David DiGregorio, Head of the Dynamic Neuronal Imaging Unit.

Original article published on the Institut Pasteur’s website, 30 June 2016. Source

3.8- Care of the very preterm newborn

Born too soon, very premature infants are particularly vulnerable and need appropriate care. The European project EPICE (Effective Perinatal Intensive Care in Europe) involving 12 partners from 11 European countries coordianted by the French national institute of health and medical research (Inserm) examines how medical practices based on scientific evidence are incorporated into the care of these neonates. The study published in The British Medical Journal, highlights the underuse of four effective practices for improving their survival and long-term health, and estimates its impact on mortality and morbidity.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 6 July 2016. Source

3.9- Discovery of a key cellular mechanism underlying antipsychotic drug side-effects

Since their development in the 1950s, antipsychotic drugs have been widely used to treat psychoses and neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. A debilitating side-effect of these drugs called parkinsonism limits their efficacy.Irvine scientists led by Prof. Emiliana Borrelli, Inserm research director (French national institute of health and medical research) at University of California, Irvine and colleagues have discovered the key cellular mechanism that underlies the antipsychotic-induced parkinsonism which includes involuntary movements, tremors and other severe physical conditions. These studies present evidence that will stimulate a targeted approach for the design of novel antipsychotics without side-effects. The results have been published in Neuron on July, 6th.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 7 July 2016. Source

3.10- Prion diseases: toward further reduction of animal experimentation

Inra scientists (Unité de recherche Inra Virologie et Immunologie Moléculaires, Jouy-en-Josas, French national institute for agricultural research) have developed an efficient method to amplify in vitro prion of different species. Beside its interest to rapidly address scientific questions, such as the study of the molecular mechanisms underlying prion propagation, this procedure represents a step forward to reduce the use of animal models in the prion field. This work is published in the 7th of July 2016 issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

Original article published on Inra’s website, 7 July 2016. Source

3.11- Schrödinger’s cat and distant interaction

Physicists from Yale university (Connecticut, USA) in collaboration with the French national institute for research in computer science and control (Institut national de recherche en informatique et automatique, Inria) have for the first time associated two spectacular effects of quantum physics: Schröndinger’s Cat Paradox and quantum entanglement. In line of sight, quantum computers and improve processing speeds. The study has been published in the journal Science on 27 May 2016.

Original article published on, 13 July 2016. Source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- Airbus strenghtens its logistics hub in Toulouse

To support the increase in the activity of its factories in Toulouse, Airbus is about to strenghten the local industrial logistics plan and extand the hub located in Cornebarrieu (Haute-Garonne). A first construction work (8 millions euros/about 70 millions HKD) will start in the summer 2016, before a second one (20 millions euros/about 170 millions HKD) expected in 2017.

Original article published on website, 13 July 2016. Source

publié le 15/07/2016

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