Scientific Watch N°6 - From 11/03/2016 to 24/03/2016

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2016-N°6 from 11/03/2016 to 24/03/2016]

From 11/03/2016 to 24/03/2016]

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- Homogenization of forests decreases their contribution to ecosystem services

Homogenization of forest ecosystems and the decline in the diversity of trees reduce the capacity of forests to provide essential ecosystem services such as timber production or carbon storage. A group of European researchers involving the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra) and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) has just published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) results based on a comparative modeling approach of forests from six European countries.

Published on March 21, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

1.2- "Climate Responsibility": a new methodology applied to China

A Franco-Chinese team involving climate Sciences Laboratory (Laboratory for Climate and Environment , Atomic Energy Agency / CNRS / Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Universersity) has demonstrated, through a new approach, that the "climate responsability" of China is not as important as initially estimated. Nevertheless, the "responsibility" of this country could grow rapidly and paradoxically in coming years because of future policies to improve air quality. Researchers obtained these results from a new methodology developed to specifically determine the impacts on climate caused by a country (counting emissions of greenhouse gases, aerosols and chemically active compounds in the atmosphere). This work has been published in Nature on March 17, 2016.

Published on March 17, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

1.3- First bioclimatic lecture theatre in the University of the Reunion Island

The lecture theatre of the University of the Reunion Island, located on the campus of Moufia in Saint Denis runs entirely with natural ventilation. This 550-seat auditorium offers to viewers a new cooling system without air conditioning. The theatre is used for various courses, but also for conferences, screenings, concerts and theatrical performances.

Published on March 11, 2016. Article from the Conférence des présidents d’université (CPU) website - source

1.4- WasteEng2016 Conference, May 23-26, Albi (France)

WasteEng Conference Series has reached an outstanding international recognition with participants from over 50 countries for each issue during the last 10 years.
Following the event WasteEng2014 held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in August 2014, the WasteEng2016 Conference is to be held from May 23 to 26, 2016 in the cultural city of Albi (France), a UNESCO World heritage site. This 6th issue of the WasteEng Conference Series will feature cutting-edge R&D and address barriers related to the Conversion of Biomass and Waste to Energy to Added-Value Materials. The conference will emphasize life cycle assessment and technologies/processes/practices that reduce emissions.

Please find out more information here

1.5- France to Weigh EU Carbon Price Corridor in Global Pricing Push

France seeks to stimulate a push for global carbon pricing and may weigh a price corridor to strengthen the European Union’s emissions trading system should countries worldwide agree to act. In France’s view, a potential price corridor could be constructed in a similar way to the supply control mechanism under the market stability reserve agreed last year, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. The reserve, due to start in 2019, will automatically absorb allowances if a surplus of permits in the market exceeds a fixed limit, and release them to the market in the event of a shortage.

Published on March 10, 2016. Article from the Bloomberg’s website - source


2- Health & Society

2.1- Outbreak of Zika Virus Disease

The public health page of the European Commission is giving you live information about the Zika virus in Europe.

Please consult this page for any information

2.2- 3D printing at the service of ENT surgeons, a first inToulouse

On 15 March 2016, the team led by Dr. Agnes Dupret-Bories, ENT surgeon at the University Cancer Research Center of Toulouse-Oncopole (IUCT-O), performed for the first time, on a thirty-year old patient, a jaw reconstruction based on a model from a 3D printing carried out by an inter-university center of research and materials engineering (CIRIMAT - CNRS / Université Toulouse III / Toulouse Institut National Polytechnique).

Published on March 16, 2016. Article from the CNRS’ website - source

2.3- EMBO Conference “Tuberculosis 2016”

The principle theme of this EMBO conference “Tuberculosis 2016: Interdisciplinary research on tuberculosis and pathogenic mycobacteria”, consists of the latest biological insights and advances on pathogenic mycobacteria that are presently gained by new powerful technologies and sophisticated approaches linked to the domains of genomics, genetics, cell biology, structural biology, medicinal chemistry and/or immunology and how these advances might be used to cope with the enormous problems that pathogenic mycobacteria cause for millions of people today. These different themes will be presented and discussed by world-renowned scientists from a broad range of different disciplines. This international conference, to be held from September 19-23, 2016, in the Conference centre (CIS) within the campus of the Institut Pasteur in Paris will provide a premium forum for the discussion and exchange of the recent advances in this timely and important topic.

Find out more information on EMBO’s website

2.4- Third edition of the School in Integrative Structural Biology

The third edition of the School in Integrative Structural Biology will take place in Oleron, from May 20 to 27, 2016.
This will be the opportunity for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows to get a theoretical as well as practical training in methods and techniques used to answer biological questions (x-ray diffraction, small angle X-ray scattering, NMR, cryo microscopy, cellular and molecular imagery and biophysical techniques used to study and characterize macromolecular interactions). This will be validated as a training module by the BSB doctoral school.

More information is available here (in french)

2.5- Allianz Foundation Research award 2015

Prof. Michel Cogné has been awarded the Allianz Foundation Research award 2015. He is professor of immunology and the director of both the laboratory "Contrôle de la réponse immune B et lymphoproliférations" of the University of Limoges (Research Unit CNRS 7276) and the Immunology Laboratory of Limoges University Hospital. He is also the manager of the Institut Universitaire de France. His work has significant impacts especially in the field of allergy and renal immunopathology.

Published on March 8, 2016. Article from the the Institut de France’s website - source


3- Research and Education

3.1- Spasticity : two potential therapeutic avenues

Following spinal cord injury, most patients experience an exaggeration of muscle tone called spasticity, which frequently leads to physical disability. A team at the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (CNRS/Aix-Marseille University) has just identified one of the molecular mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. It has also proposed two therapeutic solutions that have proved conclusive in animals, one of which will be tested during phase II clinical trials as early as this year. This work, published in Nature Medicine on 14 March 2016, thus opens new therapeutic avenues to reduce this physical disability.

Published on March 116, 2016. Article from the CNRS’ website - source

3.2- Hepatitis B: identification of a new restriction factor

Hepatitis B remains a major public health problem in France with nearly 300,000 chronically infected people. This infection can remain silent for many years and cause long-term serious complications such as cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, available treatments can control viral replication but they cannot completely eliminate the virus from the body. A study supported by the ANRS (French National research agency on Aids and viral hepatitis) and conducted by researchers from the University Hospitals Geneva Medical Center, the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon (CRCL, Inserm / CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 / Centre Léon Bérard), in collaboration with the Gilead laboratory opens new therapeutic options by revealing for the first time the role of SMC5/6 complex as a restriction factor of hepatitis B. These results have just been published in the journal Nature.

Published on March 21, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

3.3- Plate tectonics on Mars

About 3 to 3.5 billion years, the surface of Mars has tipped 20 to 25 degrees under the influence of the mass of the impressive dome of Tharsis, the largest volcano of the solar system. According to Dr. Sylvain Bouley, from the laboratory Geosciences Paris Sud (GEOPS) of the University Paris-Sud, such a phenomenon could also occur on our planet, even if the mechanism would be different.

Published on March 11, 2016. Article from Université Paris-Saclay’s website - source

3.4- A source accelerating Galactic cosmic rays to unprecedented energy discovered at the centre of the Milky Way

For more than ten years the H.E.S.S. observatory in Namibia, run by an international collaboration of 42 institutions in 12 countries, has been mapping the centre of our galaxy in very-high-energy gamma rays. These gamma rays are produced by cosmic rays from the innermost region of the Galaxy. A detailed analysis of the latest H.E.S.S. data, published on 16th March 2016 in Nature, reveals for the first time a source of this cosmic radiation at energies never observed before in the Milky Way: the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Galaxy, likely to accelerate cosmic rays to energies 100 times larger than those achieved at the largest terrestrial particle accelerator, the LHC at CERN.

Published on March 16, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

3.5- Rosetta : type of ice reveals the age of comets

The ice buried inside comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko is mainly found in crystalline form, which implies that it originated in the protosolar nebula and is therefore the same age as the Solar System. This discovery was made by an international team led by a researcher at the LAM (CNRS/Aix Marseille University) and also including scientists from the Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange (Côte d’Azur Observatory/CNRS/Nice Sophia Antipolis University) and the Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques (CNRS/ Université de Lorraine), with support from the CNES. Their findings were obtained by analyzing data from the Rosina instrument, placed on board ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft. This work has been published on 08 March 2016 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Published on March 9, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

3.6- "My thesis in 180 seconds"- Season 3

Sixteen candidates from all over France will participate on May 31 in Bordeaux to the final of the national competition "My thesis in 180 seconds" organized by the CNRS and the “Conference des Présidents d’universités” (CPU).

For more information, please visit the website “Ma thèse en 180 secondes”

3.7- Optimize running through the identification of physiological parameters

Which elements are the more important to improve running? A team of seven students from the French Engineering School “École Polytechnique”, led by Dr. Amandine Aftalion, a research director at the CNRS Laboratory of mathematics in Versailles (CNRS / UVSQ) and professor at the École Polytechnique, have examined the subject. This new study, just published in the journal MathematicS in Action, should provide a new protocol for optimizing your training.

Published on March 11, 2016. Article from CNRS’ website - source

3.8- 4 French scientific institutions in the Reuters ranking “Top 25 Global Innovators-Government”

Established by Thomson Reuters, the “Top 25 Global Innovators-Government” identifies and ranks the publicly funded institutions doing the most to advance science and technology. The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is leading the list for its research into areas including renewable power, public health, and information security. The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) is 5th, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) is 10th and the Institut Pasteur International Network is 17th. The rankings were compiled by the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters, which used proprietary data and analysis tools to examine patents and research papers from the past eight years to find the governmental organizations most likely to change the world.

Published on March 8, 2016. Article from Reuters’ website - source

3.9- Science data: scientists make their voice heard

"For a science open to all" is the name of the article published by "Le Monde des Sciences" on March 7. Signed by around thirty French scientists, the article aims at supporting the free spreading of scientific publications, which could be made possible by the legislative proposal for a “Digital Republic” discussed by the French Senate from April.

Published on March 10, 2016. Article from the Conférence des présidents d’université (CPU) website - source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- 4th Conference of the International Society for Atmospheric Research using Remotely-piloted Aircraft

The ISARRA conference will take place between 23 to 25 May 2016 at the Centre International de Conférences (CIC) at Météo France in Toulouse and will focus on the exchange of knowledge through oral and poster presentations. The ISARRA meeting is designed to facilitate interactions between experienced research teams, the private sector, and individuals interested using UAS for atmospheric research. The programmatic themes for the meeting will focus on aircraft and control systems, instrumentation and payload integration, science applications and regulatory issues.

Please find out more information on ISARRA’s website

publié le 24/03/2016

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