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Five new transdisciplinary research projects with Quebec’s Université Laval (UL)

These joint transdisciplinary research projects between the Sentinel North and UCA JEDI IDEX programs will each receive funding of $30,000 from Sentinel North (UL) and €20,000 from IDEX (UCA), for an initial period of one year, with the potential for renewal, depending on progress made in the resulting collaborations.


Publication : 05/10/2018
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UCA JEDI is the Initiative of Excellence status and funding awarded to the Université Côte d’Azur in January 2016, placing it amongst the ten best French universities with a strong international profile. A total of €58 million is being dedicated to research, training and innovation in the French Riviera region over a 4-year period. The UCA JEDI project is firmly focused on the creation of a new university model for internationally renowned intensive research using a transdisciplinary approach. It is implemented via a network of organizations working in close interaction with each other.

Sentinel North (the Canada First Research Excellence Fund) helps generate the necessary knowledge to monitor and prepare for the transformation of northern environments on various levels, from microbiomes to ecosystems, with the aid of new technologies and health and sustainable development-related intervention strategies. “The development of this special partnership demonstrates once again the convergence of our transdisciplinary, collaborative research strategies with Université Laval and helps develop UCA’s position as an international leader, under the impetus of the IDEX program”, says Jeanick Brisswalter, Vice-President for Research at UCA.

Living the night life by day

Health in the North is greatly influenced by seasonal variations in photoperiod, which are extreme in the Arctic. Denis Richard and his collaborator, Frédéric Picard, from the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute at Université Laval, in partnership with researchers Carole Rovère and Jacques Noël from the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (IPMC) at UCA-CNRS, Sophia Antipolis, will study the ways in which circadian rhythms, the biological clock and sleep-wake patterns affect metabolic health.

Use of artificial intelligence for a better understanding of plankton

It is important to get a better understanding of how Arctic plankton responds to global change and the consequences of this on the northern ecosystem. Professor Frédéric Maps from the Takuvik laboratory and Professor Denis Laurandeau from UL’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in partnership with researchers Eric Debreuve from the I3S UCA-CNRS laboratory, and Lionel Guidi and Ayata Sakina from the Villefranche-sur-Mer Oceanographic Laboratory (LOV) are collaborating together to develop new analytical tools. By combining imaging and deep learning algorithms in a functional trait-based approach, they will be able to measure the plankton’s adaptation to the polar night automatically.

Remote detection of gases that play a role in regulating global climate

Professor Martin Bernier of UL’s Optics, Photonics & Laser Center (COPL), in partnership with researcher Bernard Dussardier from UCA’s INPHYNI laboratory (Institute of Physics) in Nice will work on a project aimed at developing robust optical sensors for the remote detection of gases that have an active effect on the climate in the extreme environment of the Arctic.

Essential oils from northern plants

Université Laval professors, Normand Voyer from the Chemistry Department and Stéphane Boudreau from the Biology Department, in partnership with Professor Xavier Fernandez from the Nice Institute of Chemistry (ICN) will carry out a unique harvesting of essential oils from northern plants to understand how environmental changes affect microorganisms in the Arctic soil.

Understanding the changing mutations of the microbiome

Professor Arnaud Droit of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Université Laval and researcher Guillaume Sandoz of the Valrose Institute of Biology (IBV) in Nice will focus on studying the genetic variations found in northern populations that might influence the composition of gut microbiota. They will develop an experimental model in fish to examine the factors that influence the host-microbiome response in order to measure their effects.