Scientific Watch N°17 - From 12/05/2015 to 12/17/2015

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2015-N°17 - From 12/05/2015 to 12/17/2015]

From 12/05/2015 to 12/17/2015

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- COP21 : Paris climate deal is the ’best chance to save planet’

From the 30th of November to the 12th of December nearly 200 countries took part in tense negotiations in the French capital Paris, striking the first deal to commit all nations to cut emissions. The climate deal reached in Paris is "the best chance we have to save the one planet we have", US President Barack Obama has said.
Key points
The measures in the agreement included :
• To reach the greenhouse gas emission peak as soon as possible and to achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
• To keep global temperature increase "well below" 2°C (3.6°F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C
• To review progress every five years
• To provide 100 billion US dollars each year to help developing countries to adapt and mitigate, by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.

Published on the "BBC" website on December 13, 2015 Source

1.2- France passes ’pioneering’ food waste bill to ban supermarkets from binning unused food

France is to enact a law to reduce the estimated 7 million tons of food wasted in the country each year. The law forces French supermarkets with retail space of 400 square meters or more to donate food that is approaching its best-before date to charity or be turned into animal feed or compost, rather than simply discarding it. Supermarkets will have to sign contracts with charities or face penalties, including fines of up to 75 000 € (630 000 HKD) or two years in jail.

Published on the "telegraph" website on December 10, 2015 Source

1.3- Half of the tree species are endangered in Amazon

Half of the tree species could be threatened in Amazon. The international consortium “Amazon Tree Diversity Network”, including IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement), has indeed revealed in Science Advances that according to current deforestation scenarios, 36 to 57% of Amazonian species may disappear soon. That is to say approximately 8,700 of the 15,000 species was inventoried two years ago. At the planet scale, the number of tree species threatened could rise up to 40,000.

Published on the "IRD" website, on the December, 2015 Source

1.4- Newmanity creates low carbon email

Newmanity, a French start-up ensure emails that generate twice less CO2 than conventional ones. This project become possible because the company promise not to store personal information in data center. This mailbox is now available for private use but will be soon open for professional purposes.

Published on the "usine-digital" website, on the November 27, 2015 Source

1.5- Levisys, a french startup working on a breakthrough technology to store energy

Thanks to its stunning innovation, developed in partnership with Airbus Industries, the french Start-up created in 2004 by two physicists, Michel Saint-Mleux and Pierre Fessler, allows to store efficiently electricity produced by solar and wind energy. This is a great answer to one of the critical issue of renewable energy. The principal is based on exploiting the moment of inertia of a heavy spinning wheel.

Published on the "L’Express" website, on the December 3, 2015 Source

1.6- Solar Energy Aims for the Sky

Capturing solar energy with balloons floating above the clouds for uninterrupted energy production. This idea, developed by the electro-chemist Jean-François Guillemoles may not be that far-fetched. What if, instead of waiting for sunlight to reach solar panels on the ground, balloons were used to capture solar energy up in the air, where space is not restricted, where yields would be multiplied and clouds would never interrupt production ? This idea, is being studied at the French-Japanese laboratory NextPV (Japanese-French Laboratory for Next generation Photovoltaic Cells - CNRS).

Published on the "CNRS" website, on the December, 2015 Source


2- Health & Society

2.1- Three heart surgery on children successfully realised without opening the chest

Three children born with heart defects were treated by surgery using the catheter (that is to say by introducing a catheter directly into the vessels) without opening the chest. To realize this feat, doctors from the Toulouse University Hospital have been helped by the Echonavigator 3D software that combines images obtained by ultrasound and X-rays.

Published on the "Futura Science" website on December 9, 2015 Source

2.2- Treatment of lupus : LupuzorTM enters phase III

LupuzorTM may become the first specific and non-immunosuppressant therapy for lupus, a disabling autoimmune disease that is currently incurable. Discovered by Sylviane Muller’s team in the CNRS Immunopathologie et Chimie Thérapeutique laboratory, in Strasbourg, this peptide is the subject of a CNRS patent (granted in 2009). An international phase III pivotal trial, will begin in a few days’ time in the US when the first patient starts the treatment, before the trial is extended to Europe. Phase III is the last stage in the testing of a candidate drug, before it can be given market approval. The launch of phase III was the subject of a meeting involving around a hundred of physicians on December 11-12, in Paris.

Published on "CNRS" website on December 15, 2015 Source

2.3- Sepsis : cell therapy to repair muscle long-term impairment

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Paris Descartes University, Sainte-Anne Hospital and the CNRS (The National Centre for Scientific Research) have recently published a paper in Nature Communications in which they reveal major players in the severe muscle damage caused by sepsis, or septicemia, which explains why many patients suffer debilitating muscle impairment long-term after recovery. They propose a therapeutic approach based on mesenchymal stem cell transplantation, which has produced encouraging results and has proved successful in restoring muscle capacity in animals.

Institut Pasteur press release, December 15, 2015 Source

2.4- Individual susceptibility to liver toxicity of alcohol depends of the intestinal microbiota

Despite heavy drinking some people remain healthy while others develop liver disease. This inequality depends on the intestinal microbiota. This is the result of a study carried out by scientists and doctors at the University Paris-Sud, Inserm, Antoine Béclère hospital in Paris, INRA, AgroParitech and Aix-Marseille University. These results have been published on the website of the journal Gut.

Published on the "INRA" website on December 9, 2015 Source

2.5- H5N1 Influenza : how the dynamics of a protein multiply the virus functionalities

An international collaboration involving CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), CNRS (The National Centre for Scientific Research), UJF (University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the Institute Laue-Langevin has uncovered the functioning of a protein required for viral multiplication. This protein is a sub-domain of the polymerase, the viral protein entering the nucleus of infected cells to allow virus multiplication. The protein can change its conformation according to the environment, adapting the polymerase functionality. The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and highlighted on the front page on December 9, 2015. It shows how the conformational flexibility of a protein enables functional adaptation and foster the host infection.

Published on the "CNRS" website on December 9, 2015 Source

2.6- Avian flu in France : increasing number of cases

France has been facing cases of bird flu since late November involving three highly pathogenic strains - H5N1, H5N2 and H5N9. The number of cases has now increased to 30, compared with 15 known cases as of Monday, according to the French Ministry of Agriculture. The emergence of three different highly pathogenic strains in such a short time is unprecedented, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) said last week. France is nonetheless facing restrictions on its exports of live birds and poultry products from several countries including Hong Kong.

Published on "Reuters" website on December 16, 2015 Source
Updates accessible on the website of the French Ministry of Agriculture :
HK Government press release :


3- Research and Education

3.1- A XXL survey of the Universe

A new three-dimensional map of the galaxy covering about 25 square degrees (about 200 times the area of the full Moon) has been published by an international collaboration involving hundreds of scientists. The survey, called XXL, has become possible using both the XMM-Newton satellite of ESA and ESO telescopes. Astronomy & Astrophysics published a first set of results of this international collaboration, led by CEA, which includes researchers and resources of the CNRS, CNES (Centre national d’études spatiales), Aix-Marseille University and the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur.

Published on the "CNRS" website on December 15, 2015 Source

3.2- SAVE THE DATE ! 52nd International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry July 6-8, 2016

The French Medicinal Chemistry Society (Société de Chimie Thérapeutique - SCT) is pleased to invite you to Caen (Normandy), France on July 6-8, 2016 for the 52nd edition of the International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry (RICT 2016).
The congress will be devoted to “Interfacing Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery”and the main topics will be :
1. Approaches for Target Identification – Validation
2. Biomarkers – Innovative Diagnostic Approaches, Tools
3. Molecular Diversity
4. Chemoinformatics in and for Drug Discovery
5. Therapeutic Interventions Targeting Nervous System
6. Case Studies (all targets and therapeutic indications included)

Check out the Confirmed Speakers to-date
Stay tuned on as more information will be added soon !

3.3- The centre of the Cell : a cytoskeleton factory

Researchers from CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), CNRS (The National Centre for Scientific Research) and UJF (University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble) have highlighted an additional facet of the centrosome, central intracellular organelle associated with the nuclear membrane during cell division : the centrosome can promote actin-filament assembly, a type of cytoskeleton supporting intracellular architecture. Until now, the centrosome was known as the main organizing centre for an other type of cytoskeleton : microtubules. The discovery has been published in Nature Cell Biology on December 14, 2015.

Published on the "CNRS" website on December 14, 2015 Source

3.4- Angrites : a rare class of meteorite helping to learn about the composition of Earth

The chemical composition of the solar system planets remains uncertain, including for major elements such as magnesium or silicium despite their importance in the composition of Earth deep minerals. Researchers from the laboratory Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (CNRS-INSU/University of Toulouse/IRD), the University of Chicago, the University of Nagoya and the Chiba Institute of Technology have determined the relative abundances of these two elements more precisely than what researches had carried out so far. They have achieved this through the accurate analysis of the isotopic composition in silicium of a rare class of meteorites : the angrites. Their study has been published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and reconsiders the interpretation of the differences in the isotopic compositions of planetary silicium, regarded so far as a consequence of incorporation of large quantities of this element in the Earth’s core.

Published on the "CNRS" website on December 15, 2015 Source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- Heuliez Bus released the first french electric bus

The GX 337 Eec Heuliez Bus is the first French electric bus which can carry 90 passengers at the same time. The model is based on the existing structure current hybrid buses manufactured by Heuliez. Heuliez Bus has confirmed that the full autonomy is around 180 km, enough for a conventional working day.

Published on "Usine Nouvelle" website on December 2, 2015. Source

4.2- The team Gepetto on the front covert of the IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine

The illustration of the article "Dancing Humanoid Robots : Systematic use of OSID to Compute Dynamically Consistent Movements Following a Motion Capture Pattern" (Gepetto team from the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems - LAAS / CNRS) is on the front cover ot the December 2015 issue of the IEEE Robotics & Automation magazine.

In October 2012, the humanoid robot HRP-2 was presented during a live demonstration performing fine-balanced dance movements with a human performer in front of more than 1000 people.

Published on "LAAS Website" website on December 4, 2015. Source

publié le 18/12/2015

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