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See detailNumerical modeling of the cardiac mechano-electric feedback within a thermo-electro-mechanical framework. Study of its consequences on arrhythmogenesis.
Collet, Arnaud ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This doctoral study characterizes, for simple geometries, the cardiac autonomous electrical activity induced by the mechanical deformations of the myocardium via the mechano-electric feedback within a ... [more ▼]

This doctoral study characterizes, for simple geometries, the cardiac autonomous electrical activity induced by the mechanical deformations of the myocardium via the mechano-electric feedback within a thermo-electro-mechanical framework. The underlying fundamental mechanisms are highlighted and discussed in detail. In a healthy heart, the mechano-electric feedback acts as a regulator able to damp mechanical perturbations undergone by the heart, by appropriately modulating electrical activity shortly after these perturbations. In this way, a new healthy electromechanical situation is recovered. However, under certain conditions, this feedback can be a generator of dramatic cardiac arrhythmias by inducing local electrical depolarizations resulting from abnormal cardiac muscle tissue deformations. These local perturbations can then propagate in the whole heart and, thus, lead to global cardiac dysfunctions. The one- and two-dimensional models developed in this work to study the arrhythmogenic consequences of the mechano-electric feedback within a thermo-electro-mechanical framework account for three couplings: the excitation-contraction coupling, the mechano-electric feedback, and the thermo-electric coupling. The excitation-contraction coupling allows the mechanical contraction of cardiac muscle cells resulting from the electrical excitation of these cells, triggered by a propagating action potential initially generated by the sino-atrial node in a healthy heart. The mechano-electric feedback takes into account the influence of mechanical deformations on the electrical activity, both at the cell and the macroscopic level. The thermo-electric coupling then modulates certain electrical properties due to a temperature change. The excitation-contraction coupling is modeled in a phenomenological way by combining the Aliev-Panfilov model and the Rogers-McCulloch model. The propagation of the electrical excitation through cardiac muscle tissue is modeled by using the monodomain approach. The mechano-electric feedback is taken into account by considering two different contributions, namely the physiological contribution (physiological feedback) and the geometric contribution (geometric feedback). The physiological feedback consists in the onset of stretch-activated currents due to the deformations of the cardiac muscle tissue via specific mechanosensitive channels. Regarding the geometric feedback, it simply reflects that the propagation of the depolarization waves is altered by the deformations of the geometry. The thermo-electric coupling is modeled via a dependence with respect to the temperature which is exponential for the gating kinetics of ion channels, exponential for the kinetics of the active tension development in cardiomyocytes, and linear for the ionic conductances. This study shows that the mechano-electric feedback can be arrhythmogenic under specific conditions. In particular, this work clearly reveals that the size of the domain and the importance of stretch-activated currents are key factors in the behavior of the autonomous electrical activity induced by the mechano-electric feedback. This doctoral study also shows that temperature variations such as those undergone by the heart during therapeutic hypothermia or hyperthermia play a central role in the cardiac electromechanical behavior. Moreover, this work emphasizes the influence of the initial conditions on the electromechanical behavior of cardiac tissue. In the one-dimensional framework, an important result of this work is that the disappearance of the autonomous electrical activity induced by the deformations of the cardiac muscle can be associated with different types of bifurcation phenomena, depending on the values of the parameters. These bifurcations, which correspond in fact to different ways for the AEA to vanish, are emphasized and discussed in detail. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude d’un concentrateur solaire basé sur une combinaison optique diffractive/réfractive pour applications spatiales
Michel, Céline ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Continued demand for new applications from spacecrafts leads to larger power needs. For most of them, the primary energy sources are solar panels. However, these solar panels are heavy and expensive ... [more ▼]

Continued demand for new applications from spacecrafts leads to larger power needs. For most of them, the primary energy sources are solar panels. However, these solar panels are heavy and expensive, mainly due to solar cells and their coverglass. The power need increase requires thus new concepts of solar panels. Furthermore, space environment is highly constraining: the vacuum limits heat trans- fer since convection is not allowed, there is contamination modifying the light spectrum reaching cells, ultraviolet light induces a yellowing of silicone glue, radiations degrade pho- tovoltaic cells, etc. Usually, multi-junctions (MJ) cells are used, that are strongly sensitive to spectral modification in their incident spectrum due to their series connected structure (the worst cell defines the whole output performance). The power dimensioning of solar panels is then based on end of life (EOL) PV cells expected performance. Reducing the sensitivity to increase EOL output power is then another challenge for space applications. This thesis aims to answer to both problems, by the proposition and study of a new lightweight solar concentrator with spectral splitting. This conceptual concentrator is composed of a Fresnel lens for sunlight concentration, coupled to a surface relief diffraction grating to spectrally split incident light, forming a single optical element in silicone. The concentration behavior allows a reduction of solar cells area (including its coverglass), replaced by a lightweight silicone lens, reducing the global cost and mass. The lateral spectral separation will permit other types of cells than the usual MJ cells. To demonstrate the concept, two single junctions (SJ) solar cells are placed side by side, the first collecting visible light, the second collecting near IR light. Since cells are electrically independent, sensitivity is lower and EOL output power can surpass standard MJ cells systems. Moreover, cells combination is nearly free: all photovoltaic technology can be used and combined, opening the solar concentration field to other technologies than MJ. This work studies and evaluates the pros and cons of diffraction grating/Fresnel lens combinations as solar concentrator with spectral splitting. The analysis includes the choice of material, optical developments and optimizations (grating selection, freeform lenses, grating period optimization along the lens, etc.), electrical modeling and methods to find the best cells combination as well as the modeling of expected output power, a thermal simulation, weight and deployment considerations, and approaches of sensitivity with spectral modifications. Some experimental results complete the study. Two main configurations were developed: a first with a blazed grating, and a second with a symmetrical lamellar grating. Both configurations, after optimization, show similar performances: a global geometrical concentration ratio around 5-6× (ratio between lens width and the total width of the two cells), a tracking error tolerance up to 0.7◦, no drastic degradation with respect to deformations, fabrication errors, etc., an output power at begin of life (BOL) better than a classical concentrator focusing on a SJ cell or a planar solar panel composed of SJ cells. Both configurations present also a BOL specific mass [kg/W] lower than a classical planar solar panel covered by MJ cells, and a lower sensitivity to space environment, with theoretical larger EOL output power depending on chosen PV cells combinations. Existing deployment systems are proposed and discussed. Also, an experimental prototype of the optical element was realized, with optical results close to simulations. Some adaptations to terrestrial concentrators, other spectra, or using more than 2 different SJ cells are also introduced, highlighting the versatility of our concept. Results demonstrate thus the coherence of the concept, leading to experimentally feasible and quite tolerant concentrator, with interesting cost reduction thanks to concentration and specific weight reduction. However, optical losses due to the non-perfect spectral splitting of the grating is too high to be able to surpass MJ cells systems BOL up to now, and the lower sensitivity of our concentrator cannot completely compensate this lack of performance at EOL. To reach better performances than MJ systems, from cost, mass, radiation resistance, etc. point of view and to exploit the obvious gain in sensitivity, the concentrator needs thus further investigations mainly related to cells combinations. Especially as our concept opens a lot of opportunities thanks to the complete independence of cells: other technologies are allowed, specific coatings can improve performances, ... Applications for Earth or places with different/changing incident spectra is another plausible perspective. Our concentrator with spectral splitting can also be a major advantage for specific scientific space missions like deep space missions. [less ▲]

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See detailEfficient and Precise Trajectory Planning for Nonholonomic Mobile Robots
Lens, Stéphane ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Trajectory planning is one of the fundamental problems in mobile robotics. A wide variety of approaches have been proposed over the years to deal with the various issues of this problem. This thesis ... [more ▼]

Trajectory planning is one of the fundamental problems in mobile robotics. A wide variety of approaches have been proposed over the years to deal with the various issues of this problem. This thesis presents an original and complete solution to tackle the motion planning problem for nonholonomic mobile robots in two-dimensional space. Given a set of obstacles, an initial and a goal configuration, the problem consists in computing efficiently a physically feasible trajectory that reaches the specified target as fast as possible. One of the original aspects of this work lies in the decomposition of the general problem into several simpler subproblems, for which very efficient solutions are developed. Their combination provides a complete trajectory planning approach that is one of the most computationally effective method suited for the motion of cylindrically shaped wheeled mobile robots in the presence of polygonal obstacles. This complete solution consists of three main steps. The first one is aimed at finding a short path that avoids obstacles and manages to reach the destination, without taking into account nonholonomic constraints of the robot. Our path planning method relies on an original refinement procedure of a constrained Delaunay triangulation of the obstacles, that outperforms other existing planning techniques. The second step consists in interpolating paths into smooth curves that can be followed by a real robot without slowing down excessively. By joining only two arcs of clothoids for moving from one curvature to another, our approach is simpler and also computationally cheaper than other interpolation methods. Finally, thanks to the introduction of an original discretization scheme, an efficient algorithm for computing a time-optimal speed profile for arbitrary paths is presented. The speed profile that results from this procedure not only allows the robot to follow the synthesized path as fast as possible while taking into account a broad class of velocity and accelerations constraints, but also provides the accurate advance information necessary to implementing coordinated actions during the displacement of the robot (e.g., between the locomotion system and other actuators). [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification et caractérisation des progéniteurs pancréatiques et des précurseurs endocrines durant l'embryogenèse chez le poisson-zèbre
Ghaye, Aurélie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Le diabète survient lorsque le nombre ou la fonction des cellules β, productrices d’insuline est affecté. Le nombre de personnes atteintes par cette maladie croît de manière impressionnante d’année en ... [more ▼]

Le diabète survient lorsque le nombre ou la fonction des cellules β, productrices d’insuline est affecté. Le nombre de personnes atteintes par cette maladie croît de manière impressionnante d’année en année. Bien qu’il puisse être contrôlé par des injections régulières d’insuline, ce traitement est contraignant, coûteux et ne permet pas d’éliminer toute une série d’effets secondaires chez le patient diabétique. Un des challenges à l’heure actuelle est de développer des stratégies qui permettraient de remplacer ces cellules. La régénération in vivo constitue une approche thérapeutique attrayante. Cependant, cette régénération est peu efficace chez les mammifères et un défi majeur consisterait à la stimuler. Contrairement aux mammifères, le poisson-zèbre (Danio rerio), est un modèle de choix pour étudier la régénération puisqu’il possède le remarquable pouvoir de régénérer les cellules β rapidement et efficacement après leur ablation ciblée. Néanmoins, il est important d’identifier et de caractériser les cellules pancréatiques qui donnent naissance aux cellules β afin de connaître l'ensemble des facteurs et voies de signalisation contrôlant leur formation. Le but de mon doctorat s’est inscrit dans cette démarche d’identification et de caractérisation des cellules progénitrices. Pour ce faire, nous avons généré deux lignées transgéniques qui nous ont permis de suivre le destin des cellules exprimant le facteur de transcription Nkx6.1 et Ascl1b. Par des expériences de traçage de lignée, nous avons montré que les cellules Nkx6.1+ marquent des progéniteurs pancréatiques qui donnent naissance à toutes les lignées pancréatiques alors que les cellules Ascl1b marquent des précurseurs endocrines qui ne donnent naissance qu’à la lignée endocrine. Nous avons aussi montré qu’au début du développement pancréatique, les deux facteurs sont exprimés dans les mêmes cellules pancréatiques puis se séparent rapidement. Cette ségrégation n’est pas la conséquence d’une répression mutuelle entre Ascl1b et Nkx6.1 mais est due à un effet opposé de la voie de signalisation Notch qui maintient l’expression de nkx6.1 et réprime l’expression d’ascl1b. [less ▲]

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See detailSedimentary development and correlation of long-term off-reef to shallow-water Devonian carbonate records in Europe
Pas, Damien ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The Devonian Period was characterized by extensive shallow-marine regions, with the largest carbonate platform development of the Phanerozoic Eon. The research carried out in this thesis integrates field ... [more ▼]

The Devonian Period was characterized by extensive shallow-marine regions, with the largest carbonate platform development of the Phanerozoic Eon. The research carried out in this thesis integrates field work, petrographic analysis, conodont biostratigraphy, elemental and carbon isotope geochemistry, magnetic susceptibility and magnetic hysteresis measurement. The aim, to better understand and characterize the environmental conditions that led to the development of three of the largest European Devonian carbonate platforms. This multi-disciplinary study also proposes to validate the use of magnetic susceptibility as a reliable tool for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and long-distance correlation in marine carbonate. Fieldwork was conducted on four key sections of the European Pre-Mesozoic massifs: the Ardennes (La Thure and Fromelennes-Flohimont), the Rheinisches Schiefergebirge (Burgberg) and the Carnic Alps (Freikofel). The large quantity and in-depth analysis of rock samples and thin-sections has demonstrated the fascinating environmental diversity that shaped the carbonate platforms in the Rhenohecynian and Paleotethys oceans towards the mid-late Devonian times. The aforementioned analysis has enabled the development of reconstructed sedimentary models and large-scale shallowing-deepening histories for each section. New and published biostratigraphic data provided reliable age constraints for the foremost environmental changes evident in each of the sections. δ13C results from the Frasnian – Famennian boundary in the Burgberg and Freikofel sections have revealed Kellwasser events in limestone lithologies. Based on the analysis of ±1800 samples, a high-resolution magnetic susceptibility (in) curve for each section has been developed, highlighting the strong link between the in signatures and the syn-sedimentary parameters, such as carbonate productivity/sedimentation rate, water agitation and siliciclastic input. The comparison betweenin and elemental geochemistry datasets has demonstrated the inherent-parallel link existing between the siliciclastic input proxies and the variation in in signature in each of the sections. Magnetic hysteresis measurements have shown that ferromagnetic minerals such as magnetite control the in signal. By comparing our data sets with published data we could confirm that our in signal is remagnetized. However links between siliciclastic input proxies and in, and between in and environmental parameters have proven a relatively good preservation of the primary depositionally-induced in signal. Finally, by integrating complete data and establishing a correlation chart including the four long-term in curves, it is apparent that on a regional scale long-term in trends can be correlated, as long as the evolution of the main depositional setting in the sections studied remains comparable. The significant impact of syn-sedimentary parameters on the final in signature seems to obscure the imprint of parameters driving variations in continental erosion (e.g., climate, sea-level and tectonic variations) and therefore limiting the inter-regional correlations. This collaborative project on time-series analysis of long-term high-resolution in records in the Dinant Syncline has revealed the imprint of astronomical parameters, giving rise to a more accurate estimate of the Givetian Stage’s duration. [less ▲]

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See detailL'agame-papillon géant, Leiolepis guttata (Cuvier, 1829), dans la province de Binh Thuan, Vietnam : biologie, écologie, alimentation, enjeux économiques et gestion d'élevage
Tran, Tinh ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Nous avons d'abord considéré la viande et les oeufs de lézard pour la consommation humaine à travers le monde. Nous démontrons l'importance de cette ressource comme source de nourriture humaine de bonne ... [more ▼]

Nous avons d'abord considéré la viande et les oeufs de lézard pour la consommation humaine à travers le monde. Nous démontrons l'importance de cette ressource comme source de nourriture humaine de bonne qualité. Suite à l’apparition en 2004 des premiers élevages de Leiolepis gutatta, l’agame-papillon géant, dans la province côtière de Binh Thuan, aux succès qui s’ensuivirent et à leur importance pour les petits paysans de cette région semi-désertique où les productions agricoles sont extrêmement limitées à cause du climat et du sol, cette espèce a été choisie pour nos recherches. Notre étude vise à disposer de meilleures connaissances de Leiolepis guttata concernant sa biologie, son écologie, son alimentation et ses enjeux économiques, le tout débouchant sur une meilleure gestion de l’élevage. Nous envisageons en premier lieu sa distribution, son milieu de vie naturel, les types de formations végétales et les écosystèmes où il s’observe. Le climatope, l’édaphotope et les phytocénoses concernées ont été étudiés et définis. Un herbier de référence (MRT) a été constitué et un CD réalisé. L’alimentation constitue le thème suivant. Il s’appuie sur des observations préliminaires concernant le tractus digestif de l’agame-papillon ; les fractions végétales, animales et minérales observées dans les estomacs sont étudiées ; des enquêtes auprès des éleveurs ont été menées afin de recueillir des informations sur les aliments (essentiellement les végétaux) consommés par ce lézard. Au cours de ce travail, nous avons montré que Leiolepis guttata était un lézard essentiellement herbivore à même de consommer et de digérer un très grand nombre de végétaux en fonction des opportunités et disponibilités alimentaires. Nous avons approché la diversité alimentaire tant en milieu naturel qu’en élevage (116 produits différents, dont 91 relèvent du règne végétal et 22 du règne animal). La composition chimique de 71 plantes et 4 insectes a été déterminée. Nos observations ont également mis en évidence la présence importante de vers parasites (Oxyuridae notamment). Le nombre d’élevages de Leiolepis guttata dans la province de Binh Thuan a considérablement augmenté entre 2007 et 2013 afin de satisfaire une demande forte de ces reptiles soit pour la consommation de viande très prisée dans cette région touristique, soit comme reproducteurs ; par contre après avoir atteint des valeurs très élevées, les prix de vente sont en diminution depuis ces toutes dernières années : l’offre dépassant la demande. Si l’élevage s’est développé, c’est de façon anarchique, sans connaissances techniques de la part des éleveurs, mais surtout par échange d’expériences entre eux. Les enclos d’élevage, leur aménagement et l’achat des reproducteurs constituent un point important pour la réussite de ce type d’élevage. Notre travail apporte donc des informations sur les principaux avantages et inconvénients des types d'enclos actuels. Ensuite, nous formulons des recommandations pour la construction et l'aménagement d'enclos d'élevage adaptés aux conditions locales en ce compris une étude des coûts et revenus. Parallèlement au développement des élevages, on constate également une très forte régression de l’espèce dans le milieu naturel de plus en plus dégradé suite au développement des infrastructures routières et touristiques de la région. En conclusion, si l’élevage en captivité de Leiolepis guttata peut contribuer au maintien de l’espèce dans cette région, la durabilité de la production pour les éleveurs nécessite qu’ils acquièrent de meilleurs connaissances techniques quant à la biologie, l’écologie, l’alimentation et la gestion de l’élevage sans nécessairement rechercher des solutions techniquement optimales souvent coûteuses et non rentables pour ce genre de production. A l’avenir, une attention particulière devrait être apportée aux besoins nutritionnels en fonction des stades physiologiques, aux aspects génétiques (consanguinité) et aux risques de maladies liées à ces élevages en forte densité. Enfin, une régulation entre l’offre et la demande doit impérativement être recherchée. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la biodégradation anaérobie des feuilles de Mangifera indica (manguier) et de Manihot utilissima (manioc)
Mambanzulua Ngoma, Philippe ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The population growth of these last two decades leaded to an increase of waste in the City Province of Kinshasa (VPK), capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deprived by an effective management ... [more ▼]

The population growth of these last two decades leaded to an increase of waste in the City Province of Kinshasa (VPK), capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deprived by an effective management system, the VPK produces essentially vegetal wastes that are constituted for the greater part of dead leaves. These wastes bother and pollute the environment. On another point of view, the Kinshasa households meet enormous difficulties for soil fertilization and to collect wood for energy. Its overexploitation of the wood entails the deterioration of the ecosystems and the public health. Therefore in order to contribute to the reduction of all these difficulties simultaneously, the aim of this thesis was to investigate the methanization of these wastes since this technique is relatively simple, fast and non expensive. So, the methanation was performed at 30°C on the leaves of Mangifera indica (MU, mango) and of Manihot utilissima (MI, cassava) that are the most accessible of the VPK. The biochemical methane potentials of the MU and MI leaves demonstrated that the MU leaves were favorable to the methanation due to their low content in bioactive substance (secondary metabolites) and their low C/N ratio. In addition, their digestates would be an effective fertilizing. By contrast, the MI leaves were unfavorable to the methanation since the methanogenesis was inhibited, probably because of their composition rich in carbon and secondary metabolites (lignine, polyphenols, saponines and anthraquinones). However, these metabolites would be beneficial for the methanation in lower contents than 0.3 g/l in the culture medium. The anaerobic co-digestion improved the daily methane yields of these two leaves. The biogas produced with this process would represent about 28 % of the wooden annual domestic consumption and its digestate would cover annually the all agricultural and forest degraded areas. So, the domestic methanation or on site or near the site of waste generation would be favored to avoid the cost of their transport and their industrial treatment. A promising pilot essay has been achieved. [less ▲]

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See detailStudies of nebulae ejected from massive stars based on observations with the Herschel space observatory
Vamvatira-Nakou, Chloi ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This PhD thesis is devoted to the study of the nebulae ejected by the luminous blue variable (LBV) stars WRAY 15-751 and AG Car as well as by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 124. It is based on new infrared data ... [more ▼]

This PhD thesis is devoted to the study of the nebulae ejected by the luminous blue variable (LBV) stars WRAY 15-751 and AG Car as well as by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 124. It is based on new infrared data taken by the Herschel Space Observatory. These data were complemented by optical data as well as by archived infrared observations. In the first chapter, a general introduction to the subject is given along with a description of the methods used for the data analysis. The three following chapters contain the study of each one of the three nebulae separately. This led to the determination of the physical parameters of the dust and gas components, with the aim to shed a new light on the mass-loss history of the central stars. In particular, the new Herschel infrared images provide a detailed mapping of the nebular dust distribution and of the circumstellar environment at different scales, revealing multiple shells and cavities linked to previous mass-loss events. Moreover, the combination of Herschel photometric results along with archival data was used to model dust with the help of a two-dimensional publicly available radiative transfer code. This model provided us with the dust mass, temperature and composition. The Herschel infrared spectra of all nebulae revealed forbidden nebular emission lines coming not only from an ionized gas region but also from a region where the gas is neutral. Based on the emission line flux measurements, the gas mass and the abundance ratios were estimated. These results, combined with the theoretical models of stellar evolution, were then used to constrain the evolutionary stage of the star at which each nebula was ejected. This study underlines the importance of the Herschel infrared observations for these nebulae. Thanks to them, a better understanding of these objects has been achieved. In particular, a second bigger and fainter dust shell was discovered around WRAY 15-751. In addition, all nebulae were found lying in empty cavities, probably formed during a previous evolutionary phase of their central star. The dust models indicated the necessity to include large grains in all nebulae to reproduce the data. This study showed that for the LBV WRAY 15- 751, with an initial mass of 40 M sun, the nebular ejection took place during a red supergiant phase, while for the LBV AG Car, with an initial stellar mass of 55 M sun, the ejection happened during a cool LBV phase. For the nebula M1-67 around the star WR 124, with an initial mass of 60 M sun, the ejection also took place during a LBV phase. These results are in agreement with the current evolutionary models with little stellar rotation. [less ▲]

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See detailAdvanced numerical framework to simulate Incremental Forming Processes
Velosa De Sena, José ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The framework of the present work supports the numerical analysis of the Single Point Incremental Forming (SPIF) process resorting to a numerical tool based on adaptive remeshing procedure based on the ... [more ▼]

The framework of the present work supports the numerical analysis of the Single Point Incremental Forming (SPIF) process resorting to a numerical tool based on adaptive remeshing procedure based on the FEM. Mainly, this analysis concerns the computation time reduction from the implicit scheme and the adaptation of a solid-shell finite element type chosen, in particular the Reduced Enhanced Solid Shell (RESS). The main focus of its choice was given to the element formulation due to its distinct feature based on arbitrary number of integration points through the thickness direction. As well as the use of only one Enhanced Assumed Strain (EAS) mode. Additionally, the advantages include the use of full constitutive laws and automatic consideration of double-sided contact, once it contains eighth physical nodes. Initially, a comprehensive literature review of the Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) processes was performed. This review is focused on original contributions regarding recent developments, explanations for the increased formability and on the state of the art in finite elements simulations of SPIF. Following, a description of the numerical formulation behind the numerical tools used throughout this research is presented, summarizing non-linear mechanics topics related with finite element in-house code named LAGAMINE, the elements formulation and constitutive laws. The main purpose of the present work is given to the application of an adaptive remeshing method combined with a solid-shell finite element type in order to improve the computational efficiency using the implicit scheme. The adaptive remeshing strategy is based on the dynamic refinement of the mesh locally in the tool vicinity and following its motion. This request is needed due to the necessity of very refined meshes to simulate accurately the SPIF simulations. An initially mesh refinement solution requires huge computation time and coarse mesh leads to an inconsistent results due to contact issues. Doing so, the adaptive remeshing avoids the initially refinement and subsequently the CPU time can be reduced. The numerical tests carried out are based on benchmark proposals and experiments purposely performed in University of Aveiro, Department of Mechanical engineering, resorting to an innovative prototype SPIF machine. As well, all simulations performed were validated resorting to experimental measurements in order to assess the level of accuracy between the numerical prediction and the experimental measurements. In general, the accuracy and computational efficiency of the results are achieved. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiscale modelling of the hydromechanical behaviour of argillaceous rocks
van den Eijnden, Abraham Pieter ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Feasibility studies for deep geological radioactive waste disposal facilities have led to an increased interest in the geomechanical modelling of its host rock. In France, a potential host rock is the ... [more ▼]

Feasibility studies for deep geological radioactive waste disposal facilities have led to an increased interest in the geomechanical modelling of its host rock. In France, a potential host rock is the Callovo-Oxfordian claystone. The low permeability of this material is of key importance, as the principle of deep geological disposal strongly relies on the sealing capacity of the host formation. The permeability being coupled to the mechanical material state, hydromechanical coupled behaviour of the claystone becomes important when mechanical alterations are induced by gallery excavation in the so-called excavation damaged zone (EDZ). In materials with microstructure such as the Callovo-Oxfordian claystone [Robinet et al., 2012], the macroscopic behaviour has its origin in the interaction of its micromechanical constituents. In addition to the coupling between hydraulic and mechanical behaviour, a coupling between the micro (material microstructure) and macro scale will be made. By means of the development of a framework of computational homogenization for hydromechanical coupling, a doublescale modelling approach is formulated, for which the macroscale constitutive relations are derived from the microscale by homogenization. An existing model for the modelling of hydromechanical coupling based on the distinct de nition of grains and intergranular pore space [Frey, 2010] is adopted and modi ed to enable the application of rst order computational homogenization for obtaining macroscale stress and uid transport responses. This model is used to constitute a periodic representative elementary volume (REV) that allows the representation of the local macroscopic behaviour of the claystone. As a response to deformation loading, the behaviour of the REV represents the numerical equivalent of a constitutive relation at the macroscale. For the required consistent tangent operators, the framework of computational homogenization by static condensation [Kouznetsova et al., 2001] is extended to hydromechanical coupling. The theoretical developments of this extension are implemented in the nite element code Lagamine (Li ege) as an independent constitutive relation. For the modelling of localization of deformation, which in classical FE methods su ers from the well-known mesh dependency, the doublescale approach of hydromechanical coupling is combined with a local second gradient model [Collin et al., 2006] to control the internal length scale of localized deformation. By accepting the periodic boundary conditions as a regularization of the microscale deformation, the use of the multiscale model in combination with the local second gradient model can be used for modelling localization phenomena in HM-coupled settings with material softening. The modelling capacities of the approach are demonstrated by means of simulations of oedometer tests and biaxial compression tests. The approach is demonstrated to be a powerful way to model anisotropy in the mechanical as well as the hydraulic behaviour of the material both in the initial material state and as an e ect of hydromechanical alterations. For the application to the modelling of Callovo-Oxfordian claystone, microstructural REVs are calibrated to geometrical characteristics of the inclusion that form the microstructure under consideration and to macroscale experimental results of the mechanical behaviour. The calibrated constitutive relation is used in the simulation of gallery excavation processes. These computations give a proof of concept of the doublescale assessment of the hydromechanical behaviour of the excavation damaged zones around galleries in the context of nuclear waste disposal. [less ▲]

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See detailGénétique et biologie de la conservation du desman des Pyrénées (Galemys pyrenaicus) en France
Gillet, François ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and the Pyrenees and classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN. The aims of this PhD thesis, part of a ... [more ▼]

The Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and the Pyrenees and classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN. The aims of this PhD thesis, part of a National Action Plan, were to improve the knowledge on this species by the development of molecular tools (species identification by sequencing of a fragment of the cytochrome b gene and by RFLP, creation and amplification of polymorphic microsatellites). A genetic structure of three populations associated with low levels of genetic diversity has been evidenced in the French Pyrenees. In addition, the molecular analysis of its diet (COI gene) has allowed to identify its foraging areas and an individual survey on a stretch of river has revealed long distance movements unsuspected before. These results may direct conservation measures for this species. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of the promethazine and acepromazine sedative and hemodynamic effects and norepinephrine reversal of acepromazine induced hemodynamic alterations in the standing horse
De Araujo Pequito, Manuel ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Some phenothiazine derivates, such as acepromazine (ACP), have beneficial properties that could be interesting in equine patients with systemic inflammatory diseases where neutrophil activation and ROS ... [more ▼]

Some phenothiazine derivates, such as acepromazine (ACP), have beneficial properties that could be interesting in equine patients with systemic inflammatory diseases where neutrophil activation and ROS production are implicated. Besides, ACP’s vasodilatatory properties can also be of clinical importance in conditions such as acute laminitis or in anaesthetic protocols. However, the vasodilation induced by ACP is contraindicated in horses suffering from hypotension, a typical complication of systemic inflammatory diseases in horses. The sedative effect of ACP can also have an impact on the correct evaluation of the mental state of a horse in intensive care. Hence, it could be important either to select another phenothiazine derivate with the same beneficial effects as ACP, but with fewer undesirable effects, or to create a medication protocol, in which ACP is associated to another molecule, with the purpose of diminishing its undesired effects. Therefore, this work focused on the comparison of the sedative and peripheral hemodynamic effects of ACP and promethazine (PTZ) as well as on the evaluation of the hemodynamic effects of the administration of ACP followed by a norepinephrine (NOR) infusion in the standing healthy horse. To achieve this objective, 3 different studies were designed. The first one focused on the comparison between ACP and PTZ and the two other ones focused on the study of the association between ACP and NOR. In the first experimental protocol, 9 healthy Warmblood horses randomly received either intravenous ACP at 0.1 mg/kg or PTZ at 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3 mg/kg. A sedation score based on clinical examination was recorded, and systolic arterial blood pressure (SAP) was noninvasively evaluated using a Doppler flow detector at the tail, just before and every 15 minutes until 60 minutes after drug injection. Hemodynamics of the median artery of the left forelimb was studied using Doppler ultrasonography just before and 45 minutes after injection of the drug, which allowed calculation of surface (SURF), diameter (DIAM), and circumference (CIRC) of the vessel, as well as peak systolic velocity (PSV), end diastolic velocity (EDV), mean velocity (MV), volumetric flow (VF), and resistivity index (RI) of the blood flow. In the second experimental protocol, an infusion of NOR at a constant rate of 1 μg/kg/minute for 15 minutes was administered to 5 standing healthy horses 45 minutes (TACP+45) after intravenous injection of ACP at 0.1 mg/kg. Non-invasive SAP and the same hemodynamic parameters than in study 1 were evaluated on the median artery. The SAP was evaluated before, 15, 30, 45 and every 5 minutes during the NOR infusion (TNORa, TNORb, TNORc) from TACP+45 to 60 minutes (TACP+60) after ACP administration and at 5 (TACP+65), 15 (TACP+75), 30 (TACP+90) and 45 (TACP+105) minutes after stopingt the NOR infusion. In the third experimental protocol, 45 minutes after ACP intravenous injection at 0.1 mg/kg, a continuous NOR infusion was performed during 10 minutes at 0.3 μg/kg/min, then 10 minutes at 0.5 μg/kg/min, and finally 10 minutes at 1 μg/kg/min in 5 standing healthy horses. Cardiac output (CO), stroke volume (SV) and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) were measured using lithium dilution (LiDCO). The mean (MAP), systolic and diastolic (DAP) systemic arterial pressures were measured invasively using an anesthesic monitoring system, that also automatically calculated the heart rate (HR). All parameters were measured immediately before ACP administration, 45 minutes after, at the end of each incremental 10 minutes NOR continuous infusion rate (TNOR0.3, TNOR0.5 and TNOR1) and ten minutes after terminating the NOR infusion. Regardless of the used dose, PTZ had lesser sedative and hypotensive effects than ACP at 0.1 mg/kg and did not induce significant variations in SURF, DIAM, CIRC, PSV, EDV, MV, VF, and RI of the studied standing horses. Conversely, the vasodilatory and hypotensive properties of ACP were illustrated by a significant increase in SURF, DIAM, CIRC, PSV, EDV, MV, and VF and a significant reduction of the RI and SAP. Unlike ACP, PTZ did not induce alterations on the morphology of the Doppler waveform. All the ACP-induced hemodynamic alterations, with the exception of PSV and MV were significantly counteracted by the NOR infusion at a constant 1 μg/kg/minute rate, from TNORa to TNORc for EDV, VF, MV and RI, and to TACP+65 for SAP, from TNORb to TACP+90 for CIRC and SURF and to TNORc for DIAM. Besides, although the ACP induced hypotension, no significant changes were observed in the CO, SV, SVR and HR. NOR infusion at incremental doses counteracted the decrease of SAP, from TNOR0.3 to TNOR1, of MAP at TNOR0.3 and TNOR1 and of DAP at TNOR1. After the ending of the infusion, the arterial pressure again dropped significantly, the CO and HR increased non significantly, and the SVR decreased non significantly. PTZ appears to have less sedative and peripheral vasodilator effects than ACP, thus it could be safer than ACP in patients suffering from hypotension. The results also demonstrate that a NOR infusion can reverse ACP’s vasodilatory effects, restoring hemodynamic parameters and blood pressure in horses. The studied NOR infusion proved hence to be useful in horses suffering from vasodilation and hypotension, as it reverted the hemodynamic alterations induced by ACP. [less ▲]

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See detailLa Musique silencieuse de José Muñoz et Carlos Sampayo : déconstruction des normes et lecture émotionnelle
Dejasse, Erwin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Cette thèse met en lumièredans l'oeuvre de José Muñoz et Carlos Sampayo les mécanismes de déconstruction des normes issues de la bande dessinée de genre fondée sur le principe de l’illusion référentielle ... [more ▼]

Cette thèse met en lumièredans l'oeuvre de José Muñoz et Carlos Sampayo les mécanismes de déconstruction des normes issues de la bande dessinée de genre fondée sur le principe de l’illusion référentielle. Cette entreprise de dislocation des standards graphiques et narratifs vise à substituer à la lecture traditionnelle fondée sur la consommation du récit, une lecture émotionnelle. [less ▲]

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See detailIntégration de la continuité spatiale dans la structure multidimensionnelle d’un entrepôt de données - SOLAP raster
Kasprzyk, Jean-Paul ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Technological advances in recent decades have created a massive acquisition of digital data whose volume grows exponentially. To efficiently extract the information they contain, powerful tools have been ... [more ▼]

Technological advances in recent decades have created a massive acquisition of digital data whose volume grows exponentially. To efficiently extract the information they contain, powerful tools have been developed to collect, store and analyze these data. These tools are gathered in a discipline called “business intelligence”. Among them, data warehouses are responsible for archiving data by structuring them in a multidimensional way (time, space or others). They are called data hypercubes or data cubes when they are limited to three dimensions. Hypercubes can supply OLAP (On Line Analytical Processing) systems that aim at quickly synthesizing information in interactive tables and charts for decision-makers from various fields: marketing, environment, criminology, etc. Thus, users can navigate into hypercubes using OLAP operations such as slicing on dimension members (e.g. data aggregation for the month of January in the time dimension), or drilling into hierarchies (e.g. switching from the “year” level to the “month” level in the time dimension). When OLAP is coupled with spatial analysis techniques supplied by geographic information systems (GIS), a map interface then improves the exploration of data: OLAP operations can be applied to dimensions defined in the geographical space (spatial drilling or spatial slicing). This kind of tool is called SOLAP (Spatial OLAP). SOLAP tools currently available on the market all suffer from the same deficiency: they are unable to represent spatial dimensions (X, Y) in a continuous way. This representation is nevertheless essential for the management of spatially continuous phenomena (temperature, pollution, etc.) but also for visualizing spatially discrete events (product sales, crimes, etc.) while minimizing the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). This kind of visualization is used especially by the police to predict the location of future crimes through hotspot maps which are generated by the Kernel Density Estimation (KDE) method. In the field of GIS, raster data (as opposed to vector data) enable effective representation of spatial continuity through digital georeferenced grids. Whereas current SOLAP tools only consider vector data, our research uses the raster model to integrate spatial continuity into the multidimensional structure of a data warehouse feeding a SOLAP ("raster SOLAP"). Despite its underutilization in the SOLAP literature, the raster model has many similarities with a particular kind of data cube: the MOLAP cube (Multidimensional OLAP). Like a satellite image (raster) representing the two planimetric spatial dimensions and one "spectral band" dimension, a MOLAP cube is a three dimensional array whose cells’ coordinates (similar to raster pixels) enable an efficient indexation of dimensions’ members (describing the analyzed facts). In a first original model that we call "raster cube" we define the bases for a three-dimensional raster SOLAP, starting from the definition of a MOLAP cube. Unlike vector SOLAP - where spatiality is attached to a semantic dimension through pointers to geometries - our model directly integrates spatial dimensions (X, Y) in the multidimensional structure of the data warehouse. With this original feature, any geographical entity (country, building, road, etc.) can be imported on the fly as a member in the analysis of the user, which is hardly possible with conventional vector SOLAP tools. An extension of this SOLAP model, called "raster hypercube", is then developed by entrusting the management of extra non-spatial dimensions to a relational database management system (Relational OLAP or ROLAP). The raster hypercube is then populated by KDE raster fields representing crime densities, which are defined in a continuous space (raster dimensions) through time and crime types (ROLAP dimensions). Our model is able to combine the production of hotspot maps at different scales of analysis with SOLAP navigation operations: slicing on spatial or non-spatial members, and drilling into the hierarchy of spatial or non-spatial dimensions. Our raster hypercube model is validated by an operating prototype which is based on open source tools only. Several datasets are integrated through KDE fields, including crime data from London and Seattle. At the end of our work, the results of a comparative study between raster SOLAP and vector SOLAP demonstrate that hybrid vector/raster SOLAP architectures present the same interest for spatial data as hybrid ROLAP/MOLAP architectures do for purely semantic data (management of detailed hypercubes [less ▲]

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See detailExploiting Interspecific Genetic Variability for Improving Common bean for higher productivity on soils presenting biotic and abiotic stresses
Butare, Louis ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Biotic and abiotic stresses often occur in the same field of rural poor farmer households in tropical countries resulting in heavy losses of common bean yields. To improve resistance of common beans ... [more ▼]

Biotic and abiotic stresses often occur in the same field of rural poor farmer households in tropical countries resulting in heavy losses of common bean yields. To improve resistance of common beans, sensitive Phaseolus vulgaris (SER16) was crossed to resistant P. coccineus (G35346-3Q) to create 94 F5:6 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of the pedigree SER16♀ x (SER16♀ x G35346-3Q♂). The objectives of this study were to (i) identify potential parents for resistance to Al, drought and Fusarium root rot among 11 bean genotypes, (ii) to evaluate 94 F5:6 Recombinant Inbred Lines (RILs) of the cross SER 16♀ x (SER 16♀ x G35346-3Q♂) both for their resistance to Al and /or drought, (iii) to evaluate RILs for resistance to Fusarium root rot, and (iv) to identify QTL for resistance to these stresses. RILs were characterized in greenhouse for resistance to Al using a hydroponic screening employing a nutrient solution with or without 20 μM Al , to Al-toxic acid soil with high Al (HAl) and low Al (LAl) saturation, to terminal drought simulation with and without progressive soil drying, to combined stresses of Al and terminal drought in 80 cm long soil cylinder system, and to Fusarium root rot using inoculated perlite soil and sand (2:1). Two field studies were also carried on in Colombia under rainfed and irrigated conditions in Palmira, and high Al saturated acid soil in Santander of Quilichao. Our studies confirmed the superiority in Al response of Andean common beans in greenhouse trials compared to Middle American type for several root traits. Each screening method of our Al greenhouse experiments permitted an evaluation of different aspects of root traits. The two parents were virtually equal for tap root elongation rate at 24 h in the 20 μM Al treatment at about 1.4 mm h-1 while progenies ranged from less than 1-1.75 mm h-1. The correlation between leaf area and total root length was highly significant under high Al saturation (r = 0.70***) for HAl-acid soil. Two genotypes (ALB88 and ALB 91) emerged as strong multiple trait lines for the two abiotic stresses. Fusarium root rot induced root growth inhibition as high as 80.8% for the susceptible ALB 5, while resistant RILs (ALB45, ALB41, ALB126, ALB84, ALB49, ALB34, ALB88 and ALB85) didn`t show any inhibition . Seed yield under drought stress conditions was positively associated to 100-seed weight both under irrigated field (r = 0.28**) and rainfed field (r = 0.36***), and negatively associated to days to maturity (DTM) (r = - 0.36***) in field evaluation in Al-toxic acid soil in Quilichao (Colombia). QTLs for important traits including root characteristics under high Al , grain yield and yield components for drought and high Al saturation soil were identified. The use of both soil and hydroponic system, and field could contribute to evaluation of breeding materials to identify genotypes that combine Al resistance with acid soil tolerance, drought and root rot tolerance. [less ▲]

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See detailCaractérisation et étude du potentiel de valorisation des polyphénols de miels monofloraux
Istasse, Thibaut ULg

Master's dissertation (2015)

Honey is a natural sweet substance mainly produced by Apis mellifera L. from flowers nectar or honeydew. It is consumed by humans and used as sweetening agent since ancient times. Nowadays, its main ... [more ▼]

Honey is a natural sweet substance mainly produced by Apis mellifera L. from flowers nectar or honeydew. It is consumed by humans and used as sweetening agent since ancient times. Nowadays, its main valorization is in the food sector. Besides its sweetness, honey also has other interesting properties like an antibacterial action. The origins of this antibacterial action are manifold because although honey contains mainly sugars, it is nonetheless a very complex mixture comprising more than one hundred different components. Factors usually involved in honey antibacterial effect are hydrogen peroxide, the high concentration in sugars, the acidic pH, antimicrobial peptides secreted by bees and polyphenols which are secondary metabolites from plants visited by the bees. Among these factors, polyphenols are of particular interest because they represent a market of hundreds of millions of dollars in the world and exhibit different biological activities: antioxidants, antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, etc… These observations lead to a question: could honey polyphenols be extracted for high value-added applications? The purpose of this work is to give a beginning of answer. That’s why an extraction method for honey polyphenols was developed. These compounds were sought in six different honey samples: acacia, chestnut, eucalyptus, thyme, sunflower and wild carrot honeys. After the extraction, samples were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with UV detection and mass spectrometry. Several polyphenols were identified and quantified in honeys. If the extraction method isn’t recommended at industrial level at this stage of the project, it can, however, be used for analytical purposes. Further development of the method could allow to link honeys to their floral sources. [less ▲]

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See detailPerturbations de l'épissage des ARN pré-messagers par les agents chimiothérapeutiques: mécanismes d'action du cisplatine et impact sur la mortalité des cellules cancéreuses
Gabriel, Maude ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

L’épissage alternatif est un processus qui concerne plus de 90% des pré-ARN messagers et qui contribue largement à la diversité protéique. Il est régulé par une série de facteurs d’épissage qui se lient ... [more ▼]

L’épissage alternatif est un processus qui concerne plus de 90% des pré-ARN messagers et qui contribue largement à la diversité protéique. Il est régulé par une série de facteurs d’épissage qui se lient sur des séquences situées sur les transcrits primaires. L’activité de ces facteurs d’épissage est régulée, entre autres, par divers signaux externes et voies de signalisation.  Les agents chimiothérapeutiques peuvent altérer la régulation de l’épissage et, ainsi, modifier la séquence d’un grand nombre d’ARN messagers et, éventuellement, la fonction des protéines qui en résultent. Cependant, l’implication de ces mécanismes dans la thérapie anticancéreuse demeure mal connue en termes d’efficacité thérapeutique, de diagnostic, de pronostic, de développement de résistances aux traitements et d’induction d’effets secondaires. L’objectif principal de cette étude est d’évaluer si la régulation de l’épissage par le cisplatine est critique pour son activité anticancéreuse. L’analyse du transcriptome de cellules mammaires cancéreuses traitées avec du cisplatine a permis d’identifier de nombreuses altérations d’épissage induites par la chimiothérapie. Parmi les 700 évènements observés, un grand nombre touche des transcrits impliqués dans le cycle cellulaire et dans la régulation de l’épissage lui-même.   Bien que le cisplatine induise des dommages au niveau de l’ADN, nous avons exclu la participation des membres de la voie des dommages à l’ADN, tels que ATM, ATR, DNA-PK et p53, dans les altérations d’épissage induites par le cisplatine. Les PI3K de class I (p110) et la voie MEK/ERK sont , en revanche, requises.  L’utilisation d’une banque de plus de 50 siRNA ciblant des protéines se liant à l’ARN, en particulier des facteurs d’épissage, nous a permis d’évaluer l’implication de ces facteurs dans les modifications d’épissage observées après le traitement au cisplatine. Il est apparu que la réduction de l’expression de certains facteurs dont SF3A1, RBM39, U2AF1 et snRNP70 mime les effets du cisplatine. A l’inverse, l’inhibition de SRSF4 réprime ces effets.  Par co-immunoprécipitation, nous avons observé un lien physique entre le facteur de transcription c-Jun et les facteurs d’épissage SF3A1 et RBM39. Alors que cette liaison ne semble pas être affectée par le cisplatine, des modifications du statut de phosphorylation de c-Jun ont été observées après traitement au cisplatine. La déplétion de c-Jun et l’inhibition d’AP-1 corrigent en partie l’effet du cisplatine sur l’épissage, suggérant leur implication dans le processus.   Finalement, nous avons montré que la déplétion en SRSF4 réduit la mortalité cellulaire induite par le cisplatine, alors que la déplétion en SF3A1 et RBM39 l’augmente. Ces résultats montrent une corrélation entre épissage et mort cellulaire et suggèrent que la modulation de l’épissage pourrait être utilisée comme thérapie adjuvante afin d’augmenter l’efficacité de la chimiothérapie.   [less ▲]

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See detailWild boar movement ecology across scales: Insights from a population expanding into agroecosystems of Southern Belgium
Morelle, Kevin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Over the time, ungulates have seen their populations continuously changing under the e ect of direct, i.e. hunting pressure, and indirect, i.e. land-use changes, human activities. Under control until ... [more ▼]

Over the time, ungulates have seen their populations continuously changing under the e ect of direct, i.e. hunting pressure, and indirect, i.e. land-use changes, human activities. Under control until recently, ungulates have progressively adapted to these modi cations and are now able to cope with human-shaped environments, consequently their number and range have greatly and worryingly increased. More particularly, among ungulates species, the wild boar Sus scrofa raises important concerns due to its environmental, economic and social impacts on modern societies. Understanding the ecology of ungulates species and their ability to survive within highly dynamic and seasonal ecosystems, such as agricultural environment, is thus necessary to better mitigate their negative impacts and to sustainably manage growing and expanding populations. Although only recently studied, movement ecology of animal is an important species trait that allows animal to adapt to rapid environmental changes. Considering movement as the resulting interaction of the animal’s internal state, navigation and motion capacity as well as of the e ect of the surrounding environment (“external factors”), provides a clear conceptual framework enabling to study patterns, mechanisms and processes, such as coping with land-use changes. In this thesis, we study the case of an expanding wild boar population in Southern Belgium and consider the movement ecology of the species to understand how wild boar colonize and ourish in agroecosystems. More speci cally, the thesis aims at i) reviewing quantitatively and qualitatively the scienti c literature about wild boar movement ecology, and ii) analyzing the spatial response of wild boar to agroecosystems in terms of movement and habitat selection across three spatial and temporal scales. The literature review highlights that wild boar is the least studied ungulates species in terms of movement ecology.We suggest that this is likely due i) to the relative complexity of tting tracking devices to this species, and ii) to its generalist diet making the species not suitable to test foraging hypotheses. Among existing studies, a large part focuses on the role of external factors (e.g. hunting, landscape features) on movement while others components of the movement ecology framework (internal state, navigation and motion capacity) remain poorly studied. However, when assuming behavioral similarity between wild and domestic boars, experimental studies on captive animals show how wild boar can develop complex movement strategies by using their highly developed cognitive and sensory abilities, and spatial memory. The spatio-temporal analysis suggests a scale-speci c response of wild boar to agricultural habitat. At the intermediate scale (landscape, seasonal), wild boar uses seasonal habitat shift strategies towards agricultural areas, while at broader scale (regional, decades), wild boar avoids this habitat, preferring the forest habitat to spread and extend its occupancy range. This results in a contradiction with our preliminary hypothesis that increased area of cultivations providing cover (maize, rapeseed, cereals) facilitates wild boar population expansion. Furthermore, we show that besides the use of forest habitat, high population density is a major driving factor of the colonization of agroecosystems by wild boar. The ne-scale analysis (home range, daily), highlights the large variety of spatial behaviors (area restricted search, central place foraging, nomadism, dispersing) wild boar is able to use to cope with heterogeneous environments. In terms of management of the species, the results of this thesis suggest that it is required to lower the population density in order to limit the population spread into agroecosystems, not only at the margin of expansion but all over the species’ range. Furthermore, we recommend developing more exible control strategies taking into account both the spatial abilities of the species and the complexity and dynamics of the environment. For example, the creation of a seasonal landscape of fear could be promoted, i.e. reducing attractivity of agricultural lands by increasing risk sensation (e.g. hunting with dogs all along the growing season). However, in our opinion, the success of any management strategy requires rst to tackle the issue of the decreasing number of hunters observed in large part of Europe and to improve communication among the di erent stakeholders (hunting associations, farmers, public administration). Indeed, while ungulates have progressively adapted to human-induced changes, the capacity of humans to adapt to this new human-ungulate relation is questionable. [less ▲]

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See detailBilan bactériologique des mammites dans les troupeaux Zébu Azawak à la station expérimentale sahélienne de Toukounous (Niger) et épidémiologie moléculaire des Staphylococcus aureus isolés entre 2009 et 2012
Issa Ibrahim, Abdoulkarim ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

L’élevage est la seconde activité principale après l’agriculture au Niger. Cependant, ce secteur est confronté à d’énormes problèmes, notamment la faible productivité des animaux, le faible investissement ... [more ▼]

L’élevage est la seconde activité principale après l’agriculture au Niger. Cependant, ce secteur est confronté à d’énormes problèmes, notamment la faible productivité des animaux, le faible investissement, des problèmes d’alimentation et d’accès aux points d’eau, et divers problèmes sanitaires récurrents. Depuis l’indépendance du pays en 1960, plusieurs politiques ont été mises en œuvre pour améliorer la productivité des espèces et races domestiques locales. C’est ainsi que, la station expérimentale sahélienne de Toukounous a vu le jour, avec comme objectifs la sélection et la diffusion de la race Zébu Azawak auprès des producteurs ruraux. Les efforts de sélection ont abouti à l’obtention d’un animal standard bien adapté au contexte sahélien avec un niveau de production en lait acceptable. Le bétail laitier à travers le monde souffre énormément des problèmes sanitaires liés aux infections de la glande mammaire. La situation est la même à Toukounous malgré la proximité de services vétérinaires et para-vétérinaires. Cependant, au Niger de manière générale, les données sur les mammites sont rares et très peu de publications scientifiques sont disponibles. Une des possibles explications est la prévalence élevée de mammites sub-cliniques, mais faible de mammites cliniques. La présente étude est dès lors centrée sur les problèmes de mammites au sein de la station sahélienne expérimentale de Toukounous afin d’identifier : (i) les vaches souffrant de mammites cliniques et/ou subcliniques ; (ii) les principales bactéries pathogènes responsables ; et (iii) les virulotypes et profils de résistance aux antibiotiques des souches de Staphylococcus (S.) aureus isolées ; et afin de démontrer l’impact positif de l’application de mesures simples d’hygiène lors de la traite manuelle sur la prévalence de vaches avec mammite. De 2009 à 2012, l’ensemble des vaches en lactation des trois troupeaux de la station, à savoir « élites », « non-élites » et « primipares » ont été testées avec le « California Mastitis Test » (CMT). Ensuite, le lait de tous les quartiers des vaches ayant réagi positivement au test CMT a été prélevé pour réaliser des analyses bactériologiques au Niger. Les espèces bactériennes pré-identifiées au Niger ont ensuite été importées en Belgique (ULg-FMV) afin de procéder à une identification complète par des galeries API®. Les souches confirmées de S. aureus ont par la suite été étudiées pour leurs virulotypes (i) phénotypiquement pour la production de biofilm par mesure de la densité optique après croissance en milieu liquide en plaque de microtitration et pour la synthèse d’une capsule par un test ELISA ; et (ii) génétiquement par PCR ciblant des gènes codant pour différentes propriétés de virulence (adhésines, leucotoxines, entérotoxines, biofilm, et capsule) ; ainsi que pour leurs profils de résistance aux antibiotiques par le test de diffusion en gélose, ou antibiogramme. Ces mêmes souches ont été comparées par leurs empreintes génétiques après « Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis » (PFGE), ou pulsotypes, pour en étudier la clonalité au cours des 4 années de l’enquête et dans les 3 troupeaux. Enfin, l’impact de mesures d’hygiène (lavage et désinfection du pis, des trayons et des mains des trayeurs avant et/ou après chaque traite) a été évalué en 2011 et en 2012, en comparant la prévalence de vaches positives au test CMT et l’identité des bactéries isolées en présence ou en absence de ces mesures. Au cours de la première étude en 2009 sur la prévalence des vaches positives au test CMT et l’identité des bactéries mammopathogènes, 104 des 265 vaches (39%) testées dans l’ensemble des 3 troupeaux étaient positives au test CMT, bien qu’aucune mammite clinique n’ait été diagnostiquée. Les analyses bactériologiques ont identifié 55 souches bactériennes: la moitié (51%) appartient au genre Staphylococcus, essentiellement à l’espèce S. aureus (42%). Les autres bactéries identifiées appartiennent à la famille des Enterobacteriaceae (26%) et aux genres Enterococcus (13%), Bacillus (9%) et Acinetobacter (2%). Des résultats similaires ont été obtenus en 2010, 2011 et 2012, bien que les pourcentages respectifs puissent varier selon l’année et le troupeau. Les résultats des tests phénotypiques et génétiques du virulotypage (études 1 et 3) des 122 souches de S. aureus isolées de 2009 à 2012 dans les trois troupeaux n’ont permis d’effectuer aucun regroupement. Par contre, les résultats des empreintes génétiques par PFGE sur ces mêmes souches ont montré qu’elles appartiennent à 16 pulsotypes différents, dont trois sont plus fréquents, A (33%), D (23%) et B (21%). Ces différents pulsotypes se distinguent, dans une certaine mesure, par la présence plus fréquentes des gènes icaA, spa et cap5H dans les souches des pulsotypes A et B ; des gènes cap8H, seg, sei et seb dans celles du pulsotype D ; et du gène luks-PV dans celles des pulsotypes B et D. Pour ce qui concerne les antibiogrammes des mêmes 122 souches (études 1 et 2 + résultats non publiés), des pourcentages élevés de souches résistantes de S. aureus, particulièrement aux -lactamines, ont été relevés. Ainsi, 41% des souches testées étaient résistantes à la pénicilline et 7%, à l’oxacilline. Mais, aucune souche résistante à la méticilline (SARM) ne possède le gène mecA. Les pourcentages de souches résistantes atteignaient 11% pour la tétracycline et la gentamicine, mais restaient inférieurs à 5% pour la clindamycine, l’association trimétoprime-sulfaméthoxazole et l’enrofloxacine. Pour la 4ème étude en 2011 et 2012, les mesures d’hygiène ont été appliquées pendant 6 mois : lavage du pis avant la traite, trempage des trayons avec de la chlorhexidine après la traite, et lavage et désinfection des mains des trayeurs avec une solution antiseptique à base d’hypochlorite de sodium. L’application de ces mesures a diminué de manière statistiquement significative les pourcentages de vaches positives au test CMT en comparaison avec les résultats dans les troupeaux et au cours des années sans application de ces mêmes mesures d’hygiène. En 2012, par exemple, les pourcentages de vaches positives au CMT dans les troupeaux « élite » et « non-élite » ont diminué de 65% et 62%, à 44% et 41% après trois mois d’application, puis à 20% et 24% après 6 mois d’application, respectivement. Par contre, ces mesures d’hygiène n’ont eu aucun effet statistiquement significatif sur les pourcentages relatifs des différents pathogènes identifiés. En conclusion, les mammites bovines sévissent essentiellement sous forme sub-clinique à la station sahélienne de Toukounous. Le genre Staphylococcus et l’espèce S. aureus sont les bactéries mammopathogènes les plus fréquemment identifiées. Les souches de S. aureus appartiennent à différents virulotypes et pulsotypes, bien que trois de ces derniers soient plus fréquents dans les trois troupeaux et au cours des quatre années de l’étude. Ces mêmes souches présentent différents profils de résistance aux antibiotiques, avec près de la moitié d’entre elles résistantes à des membres de la famille de -lactames. Enfin, l’application de mesures d’hygiène (lavage et désinfection du pis, des trayons et des mains des trayeurs) avant et/ou après la traite manuelle permet de réduire la prévalence des vaches positives au test CMT de manière statistiquement significative, mais n’a pas d’influence sur les fréquences relatives des bactéries pathogènes identifiées dans les laits. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude du potentiel des sous produits de la filière vinicole pour des applications à haute valeur ajoutée
Berchem, Thomas ULg

Master's dissertation (2015)

Nowadays, there is no longer any doubt about the future fossil fuels rarefaction. It is necessary to find more sustainable ways to produce everyday consumer products faced to an increasing population. Bio ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, there is no longer any doubt about the future fossil fuels rarefaction. It is necessary to find more sustainable ways to produce everyday consumer products faced to an increasing population. Bio-based chemistry and bio-refining are alternative solutions deserving a particular attention. The large amount of green waste produced all around the world represents energy and chemical resources with an under-exploited potential. Wine-making byproducts come from grape growing which is one of the largest crop around world. It seems to be an interesting source of bio-based molecules but, despite this potential, these byproducts are untapped. Their uses are limited to poor value added applications like composting, agricultural spreading or bioethanol. This work focuses on the high value added valorization possibilities of the wine-making byproducts. It takes part in the current trend of using natural bioactive molecules in pharmaceutical, parapharmaceutical or food industry. This study is built around three main objectives: a characterization of the raw material and the development of a method to extract polyphenols. The results shown in this work tend to indicate a high valorization potential of grape pomace thank to the identification of interesting compounds like bioactive molecules and especially polyphenols as well as high concentrations of other molecules of which the valorization potential from wine-making byproducts needs to be explored. [less ▲]

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See detailTime-domain simulation of large electric power systems using domain-decomposition and parallel processing methods
Aristidou, Petros ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Dynamic simulation studies are used to analyze the behavior of power systems after a disturbance has occurred. Over the last decades, they have become indispensable to anyone involved in power system ... [more ▼]

Dynamic simulation studies are used to analyze the behavior of power systems after a disturbance has occurred. Over the last decades, they have become indispensable to anyone involved in power system planning, control, operation, and security. Transmission system operators depend on fast and accurate dynamic simulations to train their personnel, analyze large sets of scenarios, assess the security of the network in real-time, and schedule the day ahead operation. In addition, those designing future power systems depend on dynamic simulations to evaluate proposed reinforcements, whether these involve adding new transmission lines, increasing renewable energy sources, or implementing new control schemes. Even though almost all computers are now parallel, power system dynamic simulators are still based on monolithic, circuit-based, single-process algorithms. This is mainly due to legacy code, written in the 80's, that is still today in the core of the most important commercial tools and does not allow them to fully exploit the parallel computational resources of modern computers. In this thesis, two parallel algorithms belonging to the family of Domain Decomposition Methods are developed to tackle the computational complexity of power system dynamic simulations. The first proposed algorithm is focused on accelerating the dynamic simulation of large interconnected systems; while, the second algorithm aims at accelerating dynamic simulations of large combined transmission and distribution systems. Both proposed algorithms employ non-overlapping decomposition schemes to partition the power system model and expose parallelism. Then, “divide-and-conquer” techniques are utilized and adapted to exploit this parallelism. These algorithms allow the full usage of parallel processing resources available in modern, inexpensive, multi-core machines to accelerate the dynamic simulations. In addition, some numerical acceleration techniques are proposed to further speed-up the parallel simulations with little or no impact on accuracy. All the techniques proposed and developed in this thesis have been thoroughly tested on academic systems, a large real-life system, and a realistic system representative of the continental European synchronous grid. The investigations were performed on a large multi-core machine, set up for the needs of this work, as well as on two multi-core laptops computers. [less ▲]

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See detailHölder Continuity and Wavelets
Simons, Laurent ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

There exist a lot of continuous nowhere differentiable functions, but these functions do not have the same irregularity. Hölder continuity, and more precisely Hölder exponent, allow to quantify this ... [more ▼]

There exist a lot of continuous nowhere differentiable functions, but these functions do not have the same irregularity. Hölder continuity, and more precisely Hölder exponent, allow to quantify this irregularity. If the Hölder exponent of a function takes several values, the function is said multifractal. In the first part of this thesis, we study in details the regularity and the multifractality of some functions: the Darboux function, the Cantor bijection and a generalization of the Riemann function. The theory of wavelets notably provides a tool to investigate the Hölder continuity of a function. Wavelets also take part in other contexts. In the second part of this thesis, we consider a nonstationary version of the classical theory of wavelets. More precisely, we study the nonstationary orthonormal bases of wavelets and their construction from a nonstationary multiresolution analysis. We also present the nonstationary continuous wavelet transform. For some irregular functions, it is difficult to determine its Hölder exponent at each point. In order to get some information about this one, new function spaces based on wavelet leaders have been introduced. In the third and last part of this thesis, we present these new spaces and their first properties. We also define a natural topology on them and we study some properties. [less ▲]

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See detailLearning Artificial Intelligence in Large-Scale Video Games: A First Case Study with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Taralla, David ULg

Master's dissertation (2015)

Over the past twenty years, video games have become more and more complex thanks to the emergence of new computing technologies. The challenges players face now involve the simultaneous consideration of ... [more ▼]

Over the past twenty years, video games have become more and more complex thanks to the emergence of new computing technologies. The challenges players face now involve the simultaneous consideration of many game environment variables — they usually wander in rich 3D environments and have the choice to take numerous actions at any time, and taking an action has combinatorial consequences. However, the artificial intelligence (AI) featured in those games is often not complex enough to feel natural (human). Today's AI is still most of the time hard-coded, but as the game environments become increasingly complex, this task becomes exponentially difficult. To circumvent this issue and come with rich autonomous agents in large-scale video games, many research works already tried and succeeded in making video game AI learn instead of being taught. This thesis does its bit towards this goal. In this work, supervised learning classification based on extremely randomized trees is attempted as a solution to the problem of selecting an action amongst the set of available ones in a given state. In particular, we place ourselves in the context where no assumptions are made on the kind of actions available and where action simulations are not possible to find out what consequences these have on the game. This approach is tested on the collectible card game Hearthstone: HoW, for which an easily-extensible simulator was built. Encouraging results were obtained when facing Nora, the resulting Mage agent, against random and scripted (medium-level) Mage players. Furthermore, besides quantitative results, a qualitative experiment showed that the agent successfully learned to exhibit a board control behavior without having been explicitly taught to do so. [less ▲]

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See detailEnquêter auprès des sourds. Implications éthiques, méthodologiques et statistiques de l’adaptation d’enquêtes d’opinion au public sourd.
Fontaine, Sébastien ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

For technical and logistical reasons, disabled people (and especially deaf people) are excluded from opinion surveys. This leads to the situation that deaf people remain unrepresented in the statistical ... [more ▼]

For technical and logistical reasons, disabled people (and especially deaf people) are excluded from opinion surveys. This leads to the situation that deaf people remain unrepresented in the statistical tendencies emerging from such quantitative opinion surveys. This observation is at the heart of the research presented in this work. This thesis consists of four chapters, each one tackling specific aspects of the implications of this lack of representation of deaf people in opinion surveys. The first chapter gives a short description of the situation of deaf people, from a sociological point of view. The second chapter discusses the moral and ethical issues raised by the lack of representation of deaf people in opinion surveys, in a more philosophical perspective. In the third chapter, we present new adapted methods making it possible to conduct opinion surveys among deaf people. Thanks to a new type of electronic questionnaire including sign language videos, we more specifically show how deaf people can be surveyed for different purposes. On the basis of these new techniques, the final chapter offers a commented statistical analysis of the deaf people situation in French-speaking Belgium. [less ▲]

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See detailModel polyQ proteins based on the beta-lactamase BlaP: How non-polyQ regions influence the polyQ length-dependent aggregation process
Huynen, Céline ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Neurodegenerative amyloid diseases are fatal disorders representing an important human health and economic burden. Amongst them, nine disorders are classified as polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases, for which ... [more ▼]

Neurodegenerative amyloid diseases are fatal disorders representing an important human health and economic burden. Amongst them, nine disorders are classified as polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases, for which no treatment is yet available. They are all characterized by the pathological expansion of a poly(CAG) sequence, above a specific threshold, within the coding sequence of nine unrelated genes, translated in nine polyQ proteins. The polyQ expansion, the only common point, is the critical determinant for polyQ disease development by triggering protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils. More recent studies however indicate that the protein context modulates the polyQ-induced aggregation process and the disease phenotype. The objectives of my thesis are to deeper investigate the molecular determinants of the complex interplay between the propensity of the polyQ tract to trigger protein aggregation and the modulating role of non-polyQ regions in order to allow the identification of strategies to interfere with the pathological aggregation process. For that purpose, model polyQ proteins, referred to as BlaP-polyQ chimeras, based on the β-lactamase BlaP and polyQ sequences (23 – 79Q) inserted at two positions (197, in between or not unstructured peptides, or 216), are used and their aggregation properties are characterized under several conditions. We first observe that the polyQ length is determinant for BlaP-polyQ chimera aggregation. Indeed, there is a Q-threshold for the aggregation into amyloid fibrils and for fibril elongation. Above this threshold, the aggregation in solution and the elongation rate increase with the length of the polyQ tract, with an exponential rise-to-maximum and a linear regression, respectively, independently of the conformation of the BlaP moiety, and of the position of the polyQ tract within BlaP. Longer polyQ tracts are likely to have a larger conformational flexibility allowing them to more easily adopt an amyloid-aggregation prone conformation. However, the Q-threshold for fibril elongation is much lower than for fibril formation in solution: the polyQ tract requires a larger conformational flexibility to nucleate the formation of fibrils than to elongate them. Secondly, the Q-threshold for fibril formation is lower once the BlaP moiety is unfolded, and BlaP-polyQ chimeras aggregate faster into amyloid fibrils under conditions favoring the unfolding of the BlaP moiety. The native structure of BlaP is likely to impose conformational constraints to moderate and long polyQ tracts that block and decrease, respectively, their propensity to form fibrils. The effects of constraints decrease with the polyQ length. Thirdly, BlaP chimeras with the polyQ tract in position 216 have an increased propensity to trigger the nucleation and the elongation of amyloid fibrils compared to chimeras with the polyQ in position 197. Advanced studies confirm that the propensity of the polyQ tract to aggregate into amyloid fibrils is linked to the conformational flexibility of the polyQ tract, which depends on (i) the polyQ length, (ii) the location of the polyQ tract within BlaP, i.e., a terminal location or embedded within a protein domain, and (iii) the structural properties of the polyQ flanking regions. Finally, we observe that the whole region flanking the polyQ tract in position 197 at its N-terminus has an anti-aggregating property that fully counterbalances the pro-aggregating property of that flanking at the C-terminus. The former imposes strong conformational constraints to the polyQ tract that reduce its conformational flexibility and hence its aggregation propensity. Moreover, these regions are likely to differently affect the solubility of the polyQ protein and hence the driving force for insoluble aggregation. Altogether, our data also suggest that BlaP chimeras aggregate via the commonly described nucleation-dependent polymerization mechanism during which the aggregation is first triggered by polyQ-polyQ interactions, and then a subsequent slight reorganization of the BlaP moiety is required for conversion of aggregates into amyloid fibrils. Based on these results, we should allow the development of therapeutic strategies, targeting specifically the molecular features of the complex interplay between the polyQ and non-polyQ regions during the nucleation and/or elongation of the pathological aggregation of polyQ proteins. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of a new design method for the cross-section capacity of steel hollow sections
Nseir, Joanna ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The cross-sectional behaviour of steel sections can be shown to be influenced by two extreme behaviors: the resistance and the instability. These boundaries are accounted for in current standards through ... [more ▼]

The cross-sectional behaviour of steel sections can be shown to be influenced by two extreme behaviors: the resistance and the instability. These boundaries are accounted for in current standards through a classification system consisting on rules depending on the cross-section dimensions. For example, in EN 1993-1-1, classes are defined spanning from stocky sections (class 1) able to develop their full plastic capacity, to slender sections (class 4) for which the effective properties are used with the use of the effective width method (EWM). However, for cold-formed steel sections, characterized by a non-linear material law, the cross-section resistance can go beyond its plastic capacity due to strain hardening effects. Moreover, with the emergence of high strength steel (i.e. cross-sections falling into class 4) and more complex cross-section shapes, the effective width method is becoming too complicated. Many other reasons and discrepancies are making the cross-section classification too complex and inconsistent. The Overall Interaction Concept (OIC) stands as a new design approach that aims at a straightforward design check of the stability and resistance of steel cross-sections. Based on the use of a generalized relative slenderness and so-called interaction curves, it can be applied to any type of cross-section, further includes potential non-linear material behaviour and covers combined loading cases. The main aim of this thesis is to develop and propose OIC interaction curves dedicated to steel hollow sections subjected to various load cases. A test program was carried out as a part of a European project named ‘HOLLOPOC’ to investigate the cross-sectional behavior of cold-formed hot-finished and hot-rolled square, rectangular and circular sections. 57 cross-sections tests including simple and combined load cases were performed. Besides, a finite element model was developed and calibrated on the basis of the tests, and its accuracy was seen to be sufficient to subsequently undergo an extensive numerical parametric study for hot-rolled and cold-formed cross-sections, leading to over than 40 000 numerical results. Based on these computations, design proposals were made within the context of the Overall Interaction Concept, using an extension of the Ayrton-Perry approach. Finally, a validation of the proposed formulae was made through a comparison with existing approach and worked examples were presented, in order to illustrate (i) the application of the method and (ii) its benefits in comparison to application of current EC3 rules. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling of the response of a slender structure to vortex shedding in the atmospheric boundary layer
Wertz, Freddy ULg

Master's dissertation (2015)

This work is about modelling vortex induced vibrations on a 100 m height generic reinforced concrete pylon with a square cross-section and a 20 height/width ratio, vibrating in its first across-wind ... [more ▼]

This work is about modelling vortex induced vibrations on a 100 m height generic reinforced concrete pylon with a square cross-section and a 20 height/width ratio, vibrating in its first across-wind bending mode at a frequency of 0.35 Hz for a critical wind speed of 14.6 m/s. An equivalent aeroelastic model made of a copper spline modelling the dynamic behaviour and a foam blocks skin modelling the external geometry and adjusting the mass is realized. Similitude laws are discussed based on their relevance in the simulation. The model is validated through experimental modal analysis and is tested in wind tunnel uniform and boundary layer winds. 3 turbulence levels and 4 incidence angles are tested. Measured amplitudes are small (around 5 cm in full scale). The influence of turbulence is qualitatively visible in experimental results. Analytical and numerical estimation procedures are also implemented and discussed: The Eurocode norm, a harmonic load model and the spectral model of Vickery and Clark. The Eurocode approach gives the most conservative estimations and is followed by estimations from the harmonic load model having the correlation length as parameter. The spectral model gives estimations of the order of magnitude of experimental measurements in the wind tunnel for a spectral bandwidth of 0.2 and a correlation length comprised between 1 and 3 times the width of the cross-section. [less ▲]

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See detailOrigine et dynamique des populations d’arbres des forêts denses humides d’Afrique Centrale, le cas de Lophira alata Banks ex Gaertn C.F. (Ochnaceae)
Biwole, Achille ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The canopy of Central African rainforests is characterized by the abundance of light-demanding trees belonging to several species, suggesting that favorable conditions for their regeneration once ... [more ▼]

The canopy of Central African rainforests is characterized by the abundance of light-demanding trees belonging to several species, suggesting that favorable conditions for their regeneration once prevailed. Today this isn’t the case in light of the demographic structure of their populations, which shows a lack of regeneration. The appearance of such species in rainforests is the result of significant and sustainable openings in the forest canopy. Such events may have occurred with climatic changes and / or large-scale anthropogenic disturbances. The risk of their populations decline is increased by the fact that most of them are timber species. This is typically the case of Lophira alata Banks ex Gaertn C.F., which is one of the most important Central African trees harvested, and is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. In the current context where the preservation of the biodiversity and the integrity of the forest cover is a major concern, the present PhD aims to understand the history and ecological requirements of L. alata in order to propose the sustainable management strategies. The history of L. alata has been studied using an approach integrating both anthracology and archeology. We found a large body of evidences (pottery fragments, palm nuts and charcoal) in the forests soil of southern Cameroon indicating human occupation and widespread fires over two periods : 2200 - 1500 years BP, and around 300 years BP. The age of the most recent events coincides with the probable age of the tallest specimens of L. alata. To determine the light requirements of the species and to better define its regeneration strategy, a quantitative study on the guild of juveniles was conducted for two years. The results show that L. alata has both the characteristics of a pioneer species and those of a non-pioneer species. Indeed, at low irradiances (1% of full sunlight), the plants mortality rate was very low and their biomass showed no signs of decline, a behavior observed in all non-pioneer species. By contrast, the response of leaf traits, patterns of biomass allocation, and the maximum growth of plants in the intermediate (23-43% of the relative irradiance) and high (100%) irradiance levels, according to the population origins, are typical of all pioneer species. These results emphasize the importance of the population origins when studying the response to light and the need to define a more encompassing classification system. In terms of the dynamics of mature populations, environmental conditions affect the diameter growth of trees, with better growth being realized in the evergreen forest. Nevertheless, even under these favorable conditions, simulations of the exploitable stocks and their recovery rates indicated a significant decline during the first three cutting cycles, which could lead to a decline in economic activity associated with this species. Our results allowed us to suggest a set of recommendations for the sustainable management of L. alata. [less ▲]

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See detailL'activité de la NADPH oxydase : une nouvelle cible pour la curcumine ?
Derochette, Sandrine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

La NADPH oxydase (Nox2) des neutrophiles (PMNs) est une enzyme multi-protéique responsable de la production d'espèce activées de l'oxygène (ROS) pour la destruction des pathogènes. L'activation excessive ... [more ▼]

La NADPH oxydase (Nox2) des neutrophiles (PMNs) est une enzyme multi-protéique responsable de la production d'espèce activées de l'oxygène (ROS) pour la destruction des pathogènes. L'activation excessive des PMNs est souvent associée à des pathologies mortelles chez le cheval, faisant de l'activité de la Nox2 une cible thérapeutique privilégiée. Le premier but de ce travail, a été de développer une méthode appelée "cell-free system" (CSF) pour mesurer l'activité in vitro de la Nox2 équine. Un inconvénient de cette technique sont les interférences possibles entre les inhibiteurs et la sonde utilisée pour la mesure de l'activité. Sur base de notre CFS, nous avons créé l'EquiNox2, un nouvel outil pharmacologique, pour étudier les interactions entre des inhibiteurs et la Nox2 et leurs effets sur l'assemblage et l'activité de l'enzyme. Cette méthode consiste en la mesure in vitro de l'activité de la Nox2 fixée sur un support solide, ce qui permet d'éliminer les inhibiteurs avant la mesure de l'activité et réduit les interférences citées pour le CFS. Le CFS et l'EquiNox2 ont été validés avec le diphénylène iodonium et le Gp91ds-tat, deux inhibiteurs connus de la Nox2 humaine. Le deuxième but de ce travail, était l'étude du NDS27, un complexe de lysinate de curcumine avec l'hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrine (HPβCD) sur la réponse oxydante des PMNs. Le NDS27, n'est pas toxique et est capable d'entrer et d'interagir avec les membranes des PMNs et d'inhiber l'activité de la myéloperoxydase, la Nox2 et la PKCδ (un activateur de Nox2) impliquées dans la production de ROS. Nous avons montré en CFS et EquiNox2 que le NDS27 se fixe fortement à la Nox2 pour empêcher son assemblage et que l'HPβCD, l'excipient du NDS27, en plus de solubiliser et transporter la curcumine, augmente l'action de celle-ci sur les activités de la PKC et la Nox2. L'effet modulateur du NDS27 sur l'activation de la Nox2 ouvre des perspectives thérapeutiques pour traitement des pathologies accompagnées de réactions inflammatoires excessives. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la sémaphorine virale codée par le gène A3 de l’herpèsvirus alcélaphin 1
Myster, Françoise

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Among gammaherpesvirus, the Macavirus genus is composed of viruses associated to malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) and other phylogenetically related viruses. MCF is a frequently fatal lymphoproliferative ... [more ▼]

Among gammaherpesvirus, the Macavirus genus is composed of viruses associated to malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) and other phylogenetically related viruses. MCF is a frequently fatal lymphoproliferative disease. Three macaviruses inducing MCF have been entirely sequenced: alcelaphine herpesvirus 2 (AlHV-2), ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) and alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1). Sheep carries OvHV-2 asymptomatically while wildebeest is infected with AlHV-1 without developing any clinical signs or lesions. Both viruses represent the most studied macaviruses. In susceptible ruminants, OvHV-2 and AlHV-1 induce the sheep-associated form and the wildebeest-derived form of MCF (WD-MCF), respectively. Economic consequences of WD-MCF are significant in sub-Saharan Africa. WD-MCF is characterized by the proliferation and infiltration of lymphoblastoid T cells surrounding blood vessels and can be considered as a model for peripheral T cell lymphoma caused by a virus. Rabbits are used as experimental model to study MCF. This species develops clinical signs and lesions that they are indistinguishable from those observed in other susceptible species. Until recently, available data on WD-MCF pathogenesis were limited to the simple description clinical signs and lesions. Recently, it was demonstrated that CD8+ T cells proliferate and that this cellular expansion is associated with a severe increase of the viral load in PBMC and lymphoid organs (Dewals et al., 2008). The cloning of the AlHV-1 genome as an infectious and pathogenic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) has greatly facilitated the study of individual gene of AlHV-1 (Dewals et al., 2006). Among herpesviruses, viral semaphorins can only be found in members of the Macavirus genus. OvHV 2 encodes Ov3, and AlHV-2 and AlHV-1 encode A3, both genes encoding a semaphorin homolog. Semaphorins are proteins characterized by a conserved amino-terminal domain, the SEMA domain. The roles of the semaphorins on cytoskeleton dynamics have been widely studied. Viral semaphorins could mediate immune evasion mechanisms or viral dissemination and could be involved in specific properties of macaviruses. The first study of the present thesis was dedicated to the investigation of the pathogenesis of WD-MCF and the role of latency. We investigated the distribution of the AlHV-1 infection in the lesions and demonstrated that the infiltration of CD8+ T cells in different lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs and tissues is directly associated with a non-productive viral infection. The second study focused on the A3 gene of AlHV-1 and its potential functions during WD-MCF. We showed that the A3 gene is expressed during the early phase of the viral infection and encodes a functional semaphorin that was termed AlHV-sema. AlHV-sema was able to induce cell retraction. Despite the observed independent acquisition of pox- and herpesvirus semaphorins, AlHV-sema inhibited phagocytosis by dendritic cells and migration to the draining lymph node through mechanisms similar to poxvirus semaphorin. AlHV-sema could also facilitate viral dissemination or confer immune evasion functions. Next, we investigated whether AlHV-sema could affect WD-MCF induction. We did not observe any effect of the absence of AlHV-sema expression during the development of WD-MCF after rabbit nasal infection. Macaviruses are swine and ruminant gammaherpesviruses responsible for a latent asymptomatic infection in their natural species. The development of MCF in other ruminant susceptible species is due to cross-species transmission. During evolution, the gene selection in susceptible species is certainly reduced due to the fact that these species are dead-end hosts. Thus, it is difficult to address the role of AlHV-1 specific genes in MCF as these genes have evolved in other species. Nevertheless, we brought in this work important insight for our understanding of the pathogenesis of WD-MCF and we identified AlHV-sema as a potential immunoevasion factor. DEWALS B., MYSTER F., PALMEIRA L., GILLET L., ACKERMANN M., VANDERPLASSCHEN A. Ex vivo bioluminescence detection of alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 infection during malignant catarrhal fever. J. Virol., 2011, 85, 6941-6954. MYSTER F., PALMEIRA L., SOREL O., BOUILLENNE F., DEPAUW E., SCHWARTZ-CORNIL I., VANDERPLASSCHEN A., DEWALS B.G. Viral semaphorin inhibits dendritic cell phagocytosis and migration but is not essential for gamma-herpesvirus-induced lymphoproliferation in malignant catarrhal fever. J. Virol., 2015. [less ▲]

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See detailSeagrass macrophytodetritus: a copepod hub - Species diversity, dynamics and trophic ecology of the meiofauna community in Posidonia oceanica leaf litter accumulations
Mascart, Thibaud ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Macrophytodetritus is a heterogeneous mixture of detrital material that accumulates on submerged unvegetated sand patches amid vast Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows. Several vagile ... [more ▼]

Macrophytodetritus is a heterogeneous mixture of detrital material that accumulates on submerged unvegetated sand patches amid vast Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows. Several vagile invertebrates are present in substantial biomass and biodiversity. Among these invertebrates, meiofauna (fauna between 38µm and 1mm) is ubiquitous and seems to play a key-feature in this dynamic and patchy system. Coastal ecosystems are under the direct effect of anthropogenic disturbance and degradation. Extra research is crucially needed to understand better the dynamics of coastal vegetation, in order to have a more successful restauration of these regressing ecosystems. In this context, the main goal of this PhD research was triple: (1) characterising in situ the physico-chemistry and the composition of the macrophytodetritus accumulations in the Calvi Bay, Corsica, (2) identifying the diversity of the associated meiofauna communities, especially harpacticoid copepods together with unravelling the origin of the present copepods and (3) characterizing the trophic ecology of the copepod communities in the macrophytodetritus at the specific and eco-morphological level. This research showed that macrophytodetritus biomass is composed on average for 75% of dead P. oceanica seagrass leaves shed after senescence. Attached to the surface of the seagrass leaves numerous micro- and macroepiphytes are present, representing on average 10% of the total biomass. The remaining part is mainly constituted of drift material, like detached P. oceanica shoots and epilithic macroalgae. A seasonal pattern is observed regarding the amount of accumulated material and the physico-chemical composition inside the accumulation. Wind-induced hydrodynamics is the responsible driver behind the variability of the macrophytodetritus and consequently it has a major impact on the faunal communities already present in a macrophytodetritus accumulation. Previous studies showed that the presence of macrofaunal invertebrates (> 1 mm) in high amounts contributes to the degradation of the detritus. Similarly, this study proves the ubiquitous presence of meiofauna in macrophytodetritus. Depending on the season, densities from 20.10³ to 160.10³ meiofaunal organisms per square metre of accumulation were recorded. Copepods were the most abundant taxon (> 50%) of which 87% belonged to the order Harpacticoida. Nematodes were the second most abundant taxon, representing on average 18% of the total meiofauna densities. A total of 61 copepod species were found in Calvi Bay macrophytodetritus accumulations and adjacent habitats (bare sand, seagrass and water column), wherefrom 85% were shared amongst these habitats, underlining the high colonization capabilities of copepods. Active colonization occurred within 24h through species-specific dispersal pathways. Certain species were more avid to colonize, resulting in a colonizer-competitor trade-off among the copepod community. Eco-morphological characteristics seemed to be responsible for the dispersal potential. However, the variety of the composition of the copepod community suggested that other factors also contributed to the attractiveness of the structurally complex macrophytodetritus habitat. The isotopic niches of four abundant copepod species, representing four different eco-morphological groups were identified: Ectinosoma dentatum (mesopsammic-type), Diosaccus tenuiremis (phytal-type), Tisbe furcata (epibenthic-type) and Clausocalanus arcuicornis (water-column-type). Based on stable isotope analysis, fatty acid profiling and Bayesian mixing model, results suggested an interspecific diversity which would indicate a species-specific resource partitioning. C. arcuicornis mainly fed on suspended organic matter, while D. tenuiremis thrived mainly on epiphytes (mostly diatoms). E. dentatum was dependent on the seasonal availability of food sources, while T. furcata fed on a heterogeneous mixture of sources. Presumably none of the species directly assimilated dead seagrass leaf litter. Overall, by combining in situ sampling, novel mesocosm experiment, biomarkers and mixing models, this study displayed the carrying capacity of macrophytodetritus to support a large amount of meiofauna and a wide diversity of copepod species. The morphological differences among copepod species seem to allow specialization towards habitat preferences, (physical habitat preferences and colonization potential) and towards resource preferences (food partitioning). Macrophytodetritus seems thus to be a suitable home, or a temporary hub for a diverse copepod community. Finally, this dynamic and patchy habitat, prone to swift changes and situated at the crossing of different ecosystems, plays a major role in coastal ecology. [less ▲]

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See detailNouveaux modèles pour le calcul des roulements à billes cryotechniques
Servais, Christophe ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The behavior of cryogenic ball bearings, that is to say those included in several space rocket engines, is quite difficult to estimate. The high speed effects, heavy loads and lack of conventional ... [more ▼]

The behavior of cryogenic ball bearings, that is to say those included in several space rocket engines, is quite difficult to estimate. The high speed effects, heavy loads and lack of conventional lubrication are among the main concerns during the conception phase. This doctoral thesis proposes a new numerical method to evaluate the way solid lubricated ball bearings are working. The main originality of the survey is the determination of the link between the ball/ring contacts and the rolling elements kinematics, for any kind of bearing loading or rotational speed. Moreover, the dissertation includes a mathematical model of the cage dynamics. The result of the whole exposed method is a computer program, which allows to deal with critical aspects of cryogenic ball bearings. Indeed, a set of examples demonstrates the capabilities of the new method as a design tool and provides a deep understanding of the specific features of such ball bearings. [less ▲]

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See detailFragmentation urbaine à travers les réseaux techniques
Cabrera Quispe, Juan Edson ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Since about three decades ago, the networking services (water, energy, transport and telecommunications) are the subject of studies and mainly reforms (liberalization, privatization and concessions to ... [more ▼]

Since about three decades ago, the networking services (water, energy, transport and telecommunications) are the subject of studies and mainly reforms (liberalization, privatization and concessions to private companies, etc.) and also an important economic policy issue. However the possible effects of these reforms on the fragmentation or integration of urban societies are still poorly studied, although some studies (mainly on developing cities) support the thesis that there would be a growing urban fragmentation, reinforced by the dominant modes of implementing reforms network services. One of the most important theses about the subject is in a relatively recent development of the English authors Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin (2001). Their work generalizes the motion of fragmentation (splintering Urbanism) to all network services and a set of economic regions in the world. While this thesis presents consistency and validity - since it is known that the application of models of decentralization and liberalization of services has an effect on the fragmentation - the position of fragmentation due to centralized networks is inside a new analysis framework and still incomplete considering the absence of more empirical evidence. The thesis of fragmentation from centralized networks suggests that powerful factors are contributing to the disintegration of infrastructure, favoring the fragmentation of the social structure and material of cities. In fact, this breakdown of infrastructures makes possible many strategies of evasion; they are addressed to connect powerful users and valorized spaces, preventing the connection with less powerful users and poor spaces. These processes lead to the creation of spaces from different social networks, resulting in social elites living every day in places disconnected from the urban structure of the set (in gated communities, new complex people and other planned communities), as well as the lower classes, but the latter with the worst conditions. The main hypothesis of the "splintering Urbanism" argues that network services have an integrated character and are precisely the privatization and liberalization of services that contribute to the breakdown of network infrastructure and urban fragmentation feed. The control of networks from powerful coalitions of actors, separation and segmentation boost infrastructure in different network elements and service pack (2001: 141). This separation would occur across strategies "bypass" or "wrap" seeking to connect users, valuable or powerful places, and through discarding or dodge weaker users and worthless places. Our thesis "Urban Fragmentation through technical networks," confirms and reinforces the thesis made by Graham & Marvin, across expounding on the Cochabamba Bolivian context, a set of technical networks of small-scale or micro decentralized networks which are managed by autonomous social organizations that also fragment the territory without the need for "by pass" and the socio-spatial differentiation, but through the realization of strategies linked to autonomous administration and management of common and basic goods like water. This thesis demonstrates the existence of processes of spatial dislocation and loss of solidarity (main evils of urban fragmentation) across the dynamics of technical devices and decentralized networks infrastructure services from private-community water and small scale. However, our work describes in its urban development, territorial and environmental problems inside the phenomenon. The paper first presents a set of theories that attempt to explain the fragmentation and its particularities, then describes the socio-spatial formation of the study area whose characteristics allow this type of phenomenon, to arrive to a section that exposes all the particularities of the management water from public and local actors, analyzed from the environmental logic of urban water cycle, including the specifics of the main stage of study of this thesis, the municipality of Quillacollo in Cochabamba. From a spatial perspective, the thesis exhibits the characteristics of urban fragmentation across technical networks, exposing the details related to the organization of urban space as a result of processes of spatial dislocation, loss of solidarity and exercise of territoriality in small networks. It is concluded in a discussion about the validity of the strategies in terms of access to the resource, the possibilities of intervention and reflections about the power relationships among fragments and for water control. Finally, as a supplement, urban fragmentation through small technical networks, also allows to display the tensions between two ways of managing the territory (centralized view from the public sector and decentralized vision from local communities) highlighting the uncomfortable and marginalized urban planning position, but challenging the urbanism to recover to action on the highly fragmented contemporary cities with complex scenarios of governance and sometimes rare or endangered resources. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalytical strategies for ultra-trace measurement of dioxins and related compounds in biological matrices
L'Homme, Benjamin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The human exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is a concern since these compounds are ubiquitous in the environment. This class of compounds group different families such as the ... [more ▼]

The human exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is a concern since these compounds are ubiquitous in the environment. This class of compounds group different families such as the polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), the polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDFs), the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), and the halogenated flame-retardants (HFRs). Their use, their release in the environment, their presence in foodstuffs, as well as in various goods on the market are mostly regulated through international conventions, like the Stockholm convention on POPs, and at the European and national levels. Despite the proactive approach in order to reduce the overall exposure to POPs, levels of contaminants (even banned) are still found in the environment and in the human body. In this thesis, we developed several methods of analysis of POPs in different samples. The first was a confirmatory method for PCDD/Fs and PCBs analysis in food and feed following a new European Regulation No 709/2014 that recently allowed the use of gas chromatography (GC) coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-QQQMS/MS) for this purpose. We fully validated the method on vegetable oil matrix around the maximum level of 1.50 ng WHO2005TEQ/kg. We showed that all analytical criteria, specific to this instrumentation, laid down by the Regulation were met, which indicates that the QQQMS/MS can successfully be used in the legal context for confirmatory purposes and could be an alternative to high-resolution sector field mass spectrometry (HRMS) in this context. The proper establishment of limits of quantitation was a key point in the discussion along with other analytical criteria proposed in the European Regulation, as new interpretations were necessary for the use of triple quadrupole mass spectrometry due to its different features from the HRMS. In addition, we developed in parallel a method for the analysis of Dechloranes in food. The measurement of ultra-trace levels of compounds from this emerging class of flame-retardants was possible after optimization of the injections parameters by means of experimental design, and of fragmentation pathways. Eventually, we reported relatively low levels in various food matrices and preliminary data about the significance of this route of exposure for humans. Besides food analysis, we developed a screening method to quickly assess levels of contaminants in human blood, involving a minimally invasive sampling technique and a couple of drops of blood. The instrumentation was first based on cryogenic zone compression (CZC) hyphenated to high-resolution time of flight mass spectrometry (HRTOFMS) applied to the analysis of two markers of exposure in regular dried-blood spots (DBS) typically used for newborn sampling. The second approach was based on GC-QQQMS/MS applied to the analysis of a broader range of OCPs and NDL-PCBs (30 analytes) in 40 µL blood. The blood was however collected using a novel Volumetric Absorptive MicroSampling (VAMS) method, directly inspired by the DBS but offering a control on the volume of blood sampled, hence opening the door to quantitation. The sample preparation of the VAMS dried sample was miniaturized and only 2 mL of solvents were necessary to prepare a sample, which makes it environmentally friendly. The focus was especially drawn to maximize the sensitivity via the optimization of the ionization energy and the electron multiplier voltage in order to reach appropriate low limits of quantitation. In this context of ultra-low volume of blood, background levels arose as the limitation of the method owing to the small signals coming from samples and closing the gap with blanks. Nevertheless, this patient-friendly approach is perfectly suitable for fast screening of population and could be useful in the context of UNEP campaigns where samples are hardly collected. [less ▲]

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See detailLe confesseur du Prince dans les Pays-Bas espagnols (1598-1659): une fonction, des individus.
Pirlet, Pierre-François ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Cette thèse envisage, à la cour de Bruxelles (1598-1659), les rapports entre les pouvoirs séculiers et religieux au travers de la figure nodale du confesseur du Prince.

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See detailArtificial Intelligence in Video Games: Towards a Unified Framework
Safadi, Firas ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The work presented in this dissertation revolves around the problem of designing artificial intelligence (AI) for video games. This problem becomes increasingly challenging as video games grow in ... [more ▼]

The work presented in this dissertation revolves around the problem of designing artificial intelligence (AI) for video games. This problem becomes increasingly challenging as video games grow in complexity. With modern video games frequently featuring sophisticated and realistic environments, the need for smart and comprehensive agents that understand the various aspects of these environments is pressing. Although machine learning techniques are being successfully applied in a multitude of domains to solve AI problems, they are not yet ready to enable the creation of fully autonomous agent that can reliably learn to understand the environments found in complex video games. Since video game AI is often specifically designed for each game, video game AI tools currently focus on allowing video game developers to quickly and efficiently create specific AI. One issue with this approach is that it does not efficiently exploit the numerous similarities that exist between video games not only of the same genre, but of different genres too, resulting in a difficulty to handle the many aspects of a complex and realistic environment independently for each video game. These similarities, however, exist on a conceptual level. While video games do indeed share a variety of concepts, their interpretations vary from one game to another. Hence, these similarities can only be directly exploited at a conceptual level. Inspired by the human ability to detect analogies between games and apply similar behavior on a conceptual level, this thesis suggests an approach based on the use of a unified conceptual framework to enable the development of conceptual AI which relies on conceptual views and actions to define basic yet reasonable and robust behavior. Because conceptual AI is not tied to any game in particular, it benefits from a continuous development process as opposed to a development that is confined to the scope of a single game project. [less ▲]

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See detailSynthèse et applications catalytiques d'adduits zwitterioniques de carbènes N-hétérocycliques
Hans, Morgan ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

In 1991, Arduengo isolated and fully characterized the first N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC), thereby confirming the existence of these stable divalent carbon species postulated almost thirty years earlier ... [more ▼]

In 1991, Arduengo isolated and fully characterized the first N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC), thereby confirming the existence of these stable divalent carbon species postulated almost thirty years earlier by Wanzlick. Since then, the enthusiasm for these highly nucleophilic and strongly basic compounds has steadily increased in the scientific community. Their reactivity with respect to organic compounds is very rich and is relatively well documented since the middle of the 1960’s. Their strong electron-donicity and their moderate pi-acidity make them almost universal ligands. NHC complexes have indeed been prepared with practically all the metals from the periodic table. Their high nucleophilicity also allowed to successfully employ them as organocatalysts. The state of the art in these three fields as well as the properties of NHCs and their electronic and steric characterizations are discussed in the introduction of this manuscript. The second chapter is devoted to the synthesis and characterization of imidazol(in)ium dithiocarboxylates (NHC•CS2 adducts), carboxylates (NHC•CO2 adducts) and thiocarboxylates (NHC•COS adducts) and to their applications in organic synthesis and in coordination chemistry. First, because NHC•CO2 adducts do not require any reagents to generate free carbenes in solution, we proposed them as precursors of NHC to promote various Michael additions. Preliminary catalytic assays of a set of five representatives of this zwitterion family in a carba-Michael addition previously reported in the literature highlighted the net superiority of 1,3 dicyclohexylimidazolium carboxylate (ICy•CO2). Subsequently, we showed the efficiency of our catalytic system to promote sulfa-, and phospha-Michael additions. Eventually, the same precatalyst showed efficiency to initiate various sulfa-Michael/aldol organocascades. Second, we looked at the synthesis of a representative set of five imidazol(in)ium thiocarboxylates. Their characterization indicated a probable loss of the thiocarboxylate group. Hence, we tested their efficiency as carbene’s precursors in two benchmark reactions usually catalyzed by NHCs. 1,3-Dicyclohexylimidazolium thiocarboxylate (ICy•COS) turned out to be most effective to promote transesterification/acetylation, while 1,3 bis(2,4,6-trimethylphenyl)imidazolinium thiocarboxylate (SIMes•COS) afforded a quantitative yield in the benzoin condensation. Moreover, reaction of NHC•COS betaines with a half-equivalent of ruthenium dimer [RuCl2(p-cymene)]2 led to [RuCl2(p-cymene)(NHC•COS)] complexes in which the zwitterions were bonded to ruthenium by the sulfur atom only. This is a remarkable result because NHC•CO2 zwitterions behaved like efficient NHC precursors leading to metal-NHC complexes, while imidazol(in)ium dithiocarboxylates showed no signs of dissociation. They behaved as kappa2-S,S’ chelating ligands and led to metal-(S2C•NHC) complexes. Finally, catalytic tests of these new complexes bearing NHC•COS adducts in the Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization (ROMP) of cyclooctene, in the Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP) of methyl methacrylate and in the synthesis of enol esters resulted in low yields. However, they provided evidence for the rearrangement of the starting complexes in Ru-NHC species under the experimental conditions adopted. The third chapter is devoted to the synthesis of azolium enolates and their characterization, as well as their involvement in the Staudinger reaction and to their coordination chemistry to ruthenium. Our interest initially focused on the general mechanism of the NHC-catalyzed Staudinger reaction. Literature reports two plausible mechanisms for the [2 + 2] cycloaddition between ketenes and electron-poor imines. The first one, called "Imine-first" involves an azolium amide, while the second one, called "Ketene-first" goes through an azolium enolate. Synthesis and full characterization of these two types of zwitterionic adducts combined with their catalytic assay in the reaction between diphenylketene and N-tosylbenzaldimine allowed us to acquire a strong experimental evidence in favor of the "Ketene-first" observed path. We were then interested by probing the diastereoselectivity observed during NHC catalyzed [2 + 2] cycloadditions between unsymmetrical ketenes and various N sulfonylbenzaldimines. In order to investigate the parameters that influenced the stereoselectivity during these reactions, we prepared and fully characterized two new betaines (S)IMes•EtPhC=C=O and we performed catalytic assays in the reaction between ethylphenylketene and different N-sulfonylbenzaldimines, during which we varied various experimental parameters. We showed that steric hindrance of the catalyst is critical, poorly hindered NHCs favoring cis diastereoisomers, while trans-beta-lactams were essentially produced when more congested catalysts were used. The reaction solvent is also a critical parameter, N,N-dimethylformamide allowing to obtain the best diastereoisomeric ratio, 16:84, in favor of the trans isomer. Finally, the reaction temperature and the nature of the substituent on the N-sulfonylated imine are less important. The last part of this chapter concerned the coordination of NHC•ketene adducts to ruthenium. Our starting hypothesis was that these betaines could provide simultaneously an NHC ligand and an alkylidene precursor (a ketene) to the metal. By this way and from adequate metallic precursors, we envisioned to synthetize second-generation Grubbs type complexes, benchmark catalysts for olefin metathesis, in one step and without the need to handle diazo compounds. Although the first exploratory experiments did not lead to the expected results, they provided crucial information to help achieve these syntheses in future investigations. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution à la caractérisation des cellules du ganglion spiralé et des cellules de Boettcher de l’épithélium cochléaire durant le développement chez les rongeurs
Cloes, Marie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

As per a recent WHO report (2015), 360 million people worldwide suffer from invalidating deafness. In hearing physiology a central role is played by the sensory cells of the organ of Corti. The sensory ... [more ▼]

As per a recent WHO report (2015), 360 million people worldwide suffer from invalidating deafness. In hearing physiology a central role is played by the sensory cells of the organ of Corti. The sensory cells are responsible for the transduction of the acoustic stimuli into nerve impulses. Located nearby the sensory cells, Boettcher’s cells (BC) are barely known. The first part of our study aims at examining their morphology and ultrastructure during the postnatal development of the rat cochlear epithelium. Our morphological studies indicate that BC begin their differentiation around the 8th postnatal day (P8) and become mature around P20, once they are fully covered by Hensen’s and Claudius’ cells. Moreover, with the help of the transmission electron microscope, we noted the presence of apical tight junctions as long as BC are in contact with endolymph between P8 and P16. Our ultrastructural and immunohistological studies also show gap junctions between BC and the adjacent cells before the end of the covering process of BC. We also noted intermediate junctions between BC during the whole length of their maturation process. Finally we noticed cytoplasmic secretory granules and an accumulated material in the intercellular spaces between P8 and P25. Our data suggest that BC fulfill several functions in the cochlear epithelium: endolymphatic K+ recycling via the stria vascularis and the biosynthesis of the basilar membrane’s extracellular matrix. As the first and exclusive relay for the transmission of the auditory information to the central nervous system, the spiral ganglion (SG) is another key element of hearing physiology. The SG is mainly made up of neurons and glial cells. In an attempt to clarify the embryonic origin of the cells of the SG, we studied a strain of double transgenic mice Wnt1-Cre;Rosa26YFP, which are characterized by the permanent labelling of the neural crest cells by the YFP. We observed a constant labelling in the SG and in the stria vascularis, further supporting that the SG glial cells and the intermediate cells of the stria vascularis originate from the neural crests. However we also detected an additional and changeable positivity amongst the cells of the cochlear epithelium and osseous labyrinth, disqualifying the strain as a suitable tool of investigation. [less ▲]

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See detailRepresenting a Minority Group in Multinational Federal Systems: Career Patterns in Catalonia, Scotland and Wallonia
Dodeigne, Jérémy ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Dans nos démocraties représentatives, comprendre « qui » gouverne et plus précisément « comment » et « pourquoi » certains accèdent aux positions de pouvoir a toujours été un enjeu démocratique majeur ... [more ▼]

Dans nos démocraties représentatives, comprendre « qui » gouverne et plus précisément « comment » et « pourquoi » certains accèdent aux positions de pouvoir a toujours été un enjeu démocratique majeur. Avec les processus de régionalisation et de fédéralisation observés à travers le monde, cette question s’est complexifiée en raison de la multiplication des lieux de décision politique. Dans de nombreux pays, les représentants politiques évoluent désormais dans des systèmes multi-niveaux. L’une des conséquences directes de ces réformes institutionnelles est la transformation des carrières parlementaires, particulièrement dans les régions minoritaires des états plurinationaux comme la Belgique, l’Espagne et le Royaume-Uni. L’objectif de cette recherche doctorale est double. D’une part, elle cherche à définir l’orientation régionale et/ou nationale qui caractérise la carrière des élus depuis l’instauration des assemblées régionales. D’autre part, elle vise à identifier les facteurs qui expliquent l’émergence de ces différents types de carrières. À cette fin, la thèse développe une étude comparée de la Catalogne, de l’Écosse et de la Wallonie qui combine analyses quantitatives et qualitatives. Une des conclusions majeures de cette recherche est que le niveau de pouvoir régional est devenu une arène politique de plus en plus attractive – voire prédominante pour certains acteurs. Toutefois, contrairement à ce qui fut suggéré par des études antérieures, les parlements nationaux espagnol, britannique et belge continuent d’être des arènes politiques attractives pour les élus catalans, écossais et wallons. [less ▲]

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See detailCompétitivité, valorisation des ressources et objectifs de sécurité alimentaire pour la filière sucrière au Maroc
Redani, Latifa ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The general objective of this work is to examine the coherence between food security policies and economic efficiency and valuation of resources policies for the sugar sub-sector in Morocco. A food ... [more ▼]

The general objective of this work is to examine the coherence between food security policies and economic efficiency and valuation of resources policies for the sugar sub-sector in Morocco. A food security policy implies state intervention and thus leads implicitly to market distortions, while a resource valuation policy would imply a free market. To address this issue, I will firstly adopt an approach that involves a sugar market analysis (measuring determinants of demand and changes in international prices against their impact on food security). Then, an economic analysis which attempts at assessing the competitiveness of the various segments of the sugar sub-sector will be undertaken. Finally, an analysis of the relative valuation of resources (capital, labor and irrigation water) by sugar crops compared to different irrigated crops will be led, in order to determine their private and social returns on. The analysis of demand during the period between 2000 and 2010 shows that the trend of domestic consumption witnessed major increases, which lead to the enhancement of food insecurity for sugar in the future. The analysis of volatility of world sugar prices from 1960 to 2010, through the decomposition method of time series, allows the isolation of an accidental effect, which reflects variability due neither to seasonal effects nor to trend. This accidental effect is mainly marked during three periods: 1973-1975, 1980-1981 and 2009-2010. In terms of food security, these fluctuations in world sugar prices have no impact on household access to sugar, yet they have a significant impact on state budget. Any variation in prices in the international market is absorbed by the compensation system since prices are regulated by this system. The food safety policy conducted during the sixties and seventies have mitigated the country's dependence on imports and thus reduce the impact of world sugar price fluctuations. However, this policy has often been criticized in terms of market efficiency and valuation of resources. The economic analysis of the sugar sub-sector in Morocco shows that the different segments of the value chain don’t enjoy the same level of protection. If the production segment of sugar beet doesn’t receive any protection, the processing segment of raw sugar will remain protected. However, the level of this protection has generally declined during the post structural adjustment period. In terms of competitiveness, while the sugar beet crop becomes competitive, the effective competitiveness of the industrial segment, and given the significant distortions in the world market, is difficult to assess. The analysis of the valuation of resources (capital, labor and water) shows that sugar crops, especially sugar beets, value relatively better capital resources and labor than most horticultural crops. They occupy an important position in terms of employment and value added created per hectare. However, the valuation of irrigation water remains low for sugar beet (excluding the region of Doukkala). But the technology trend shows substantial opportunities for improvement. Food security policy for sugar has been efficient since it helped establish a competitive national production which is generally able to value resources better. The distortions introduced by state intervention gave the time to farmers to improve their technical skills and to become competitive in the framework of international market, marked as it was by significant distortions. Finally, a food security policy is in no way inconsistent with a policy of valuation of resources on the condition that when the sub-sector becomes competitive, a way to market mechanisms must be given. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude épidémiologique et moléculaire de la dyskinésie ciliaire chez le chien
Merveille, Anne-Christine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Les dyskinésies ciliaires primaires (DCP) sont des maladies génétiques rares regroupant des pathologies respiratoires liées à une anomalie constitutionnelle des cils dits “mobiles” (Leigh, 2006). Ces cils ... [more ▼]

Les dyskinésies ciliaires primaires (DCP) sont des maladies génétiques rares regroupant des pathologies respiratoires liées à une anomalie constitutionnelle des cils dits “mobiles” (Leigh, 2006). Ces cils jouent un rôle important dans l’organisme, notamment au niveau du tractus respiratoire, où ils entrent dans la composition de l’escalator mucociliaire. Ils jouent également un rôle au niveau du système reproducteur et durant l’embryogénèse. Chez l’homme, la prévalence des DCP est estimée à 1 :10.000 (Afzelius et Stenram, 2006). Chez le chien, il existe une trentaine de cas décrits dans la littérature dans 20 races différentes. Les deux espèces partagent des manifestations cliniques similaires, directement liées à la dysfonction de la mobilité ciliaire. La plupart des individus touchés présentent des signes dès leur plus jeune âge. Parmi ces signes, on retrouve une atteinte des voies respiratoires comprenant des infections récidivantes des voies hautes (rhino-sinusites) et basses (bronchites et bronchopneumonies qui mènent à de la bronchiectasie), mais aussi de l’infertilité et, dans la moitié des cas environ, des défauts de latéralité que l’on appelle situs inversus (Leigh, 2006). La structure des cils mobiles est hautement conservée entre les différentes espèces et se caractérise par un agencement de neuf paires de microtubules périphériques organisées autour d’une paire centrale de microtubules. A cette structure, se rajoutent des complexes protéiques qui permettent de stabiliser les différents composants comme les crêtes radiales ou le complexe régulateur des dynéines, mais aussi des protéines motrices qui permettent au cil de se mouvoir comme les bras de dynéine. Cet agencement est perturbé dans la grande majorité des DCP qui présentent différents types de défauts ultrastructuraux en fonction des différents gènes impliqués (Papon et al., 2010) (Jorissen et al., 2000b). Chez l’homme, comme chez le chien, le défaut ultrastructurel le plus fréquent est une atteinte des bras de dynéine externes. La plupart des DCP se transmettent selon un mode autosomique récessif et plusieurs gènes causals ont été identifiés (Zariwala et al., 2011). Toutefois, les bases moléculaires d’un certain nombre de cas chez l’homme restent à ce jour indéterminées et chez le chien aucun gène responsable n’avait été identifié avant cette présente étude. Le chien représente un modèle spontané de DCP qui pourrait être utile dans la découverte de nouveaux gènes impliqués dans cette pathologie. Les différents objectifs de ce travail étaient d’une part, d’étudier le phénotype clinique d’une DCP ségrégant au sein d’une race de chien, le bobtail, et d’autre part, d’identifier le mode de transmission génétique ainsi que les bases moléculaires de cette DCP. Nous avons également voulu étudier la fréquence de la mutation identifiée dans cette race. Une fois le gène identifié chez le bobtail, nous avons voulu déterminer si celui-ci pouvait être responsable de cas de DCP humaines présentant un phénotype ultrastructurel similaire à celui des bobtails atteints. Ensuite, nous avons voulu évaluer les conséquences qu’une dysfonction de ce gène pouvait entraîner, afin de gagner en compréhension sur le rôle de la protéine impliquée et pour confirmer que les mutations identifiées étaient bien à l’origine du phénotype clinique observé. Enfin, nous avons voulu déterminer si ce gène pouvait être impliqué dans d’autres ciliopathies. Nous avons tout d’abord obtenu des données cliniques sur une dizaine de chiens atteints. Tous appartenaient au même pedigree et présentaient un phénotype clinique caractéristique apparu très tôt dans la vie de l’animal. Ce phénotype se caractérisait par un jetage nasal bilatéral, une toux productive, une leucocytose neutrophilique et des infections respiratoires récurrentes dont les séquelles étaient visibles sur les radiographies thoraciques avec des lésions de bronchopneumonie touchant les lobes crâniaux et moyen droit ainsi que des lésions de bronchiectasie. L’analyse du sperme d’un de ses chiens mettait en évidence une réduction de la mobilité des spermatozoïdes et un pourcentage important de formes anormales en microscopie optique. Un situs inversus était également présent dans environ un tiers des cas. Les anomalies ciliaires observées en microscopie électronique chez ces chiens révélaient un phénotype ultrastructurel peu commun, associant une atteinte des bras de dynéine internes et des anomalies de la paire centrale de microtubules. L’analyse du pédigree de ces chiens était en faveur d’un mode de transmission autosomique récessif. L’étude d’association génome entier réalisée chez 5 atteints et 15 contrôles a permis d’identifier une région contenant 151 gènes candidats. Une sélection des gènes décrits comme impliqués dans la structure et/ou la fonction des cils (Gherman et al., 2006; Inglis et al., 2006) a permis une réduction drastique des gènes candidats. Le séquençage de ceux-ci a permis d’identifier un codon stop prématuré au sein de CCDC39, un gène codant pour une protéine enrichie en domaine « coiled-coils ». Tous les chiens atteints possédaient cette mutation à l’état homozygote tandis que leurs parents étaient tous hétérozygotes, confirmant ainsi le mode de transmission autosomique récessif. Après avoir mis au point un test génétique rapide basé sur la technologie Taqman, plus de 500 bobtails ont été génotypés afin d’estimer la fréquence de la mutation au sein de cette race. L’allèle muté se retrouvait plus fréquemment dans la population européenne avec une fréquence d’hétérozygotes autour de 19%. Les hétérozygotes étaient plus rares chez les chiens provenant d’Amérique du nord avec une fréquence d’hétérozygotes de 7%. Plusieurs éléments étaient en faveur du fait que cette mutation était bien la mutation causale. Premièrement, le séquençage d’une population de 80 chiens issus de 9 races différentes, n’a pas permis d’identifier une seule fois cette mutation. De plus, en étudiant l’expression de CCDC39 au sein de l’épithélium respiratoire de chiens porteurs, nous avons mis en évidence un phénomène de dégradation de l’ARNm non-sens. Une nette diminution de l’expression de CCDC39 était visible chez les atteints par rapport aux sains et la protéine était absente des cellules ciliées respiratoires des atteints, contrairement aux chiens contrôles. Nous avons également pu démontrer que CCDC39 était principalement exprimé dans les tissus ciliés chez la souris et chez l’homme. Enfin, pour confirmer définitivement que CCDC39 joue un rôle important dans la mobilité ciliaire, nous avons supprimé son expression à l’aide de morpholinos dans des embryons de zebrafish. L’injection provoquait l’apparition de défauts de latéralité, dose-dépendants. Ce phénotype était spécifique car il disparaissait lorsque les embryons étaient co-injectés avec de l’ARNm sauvage. Vu son implication dans une DCP canine, il était légitime de suspecter que CCDC39 pouvait être à l’origine de cas humains. Nous avons sélectionné une cinquantaine de patients présentant un phénotype ultrastruturel identique à ceux des bobtails atteints. Le séquençage de ces patients a permis d’identifier quinze mutations différentes. Chez la plupart des atteints, ces mutations étaient, soit à l’état homozygote, soit à l’état d’hétérozygote composite. Par contre, nous n’avons pas mis en évidence de mutation au sein de CCDC39 pour une vingtaine de patients atteints de DCP avec un phénotype ultrastructurel différent ou chez plus de 200 patients ne présentant que des défauts de latéralité. Afin de mieux comprendre la fonction de CCDC39 et l’impact de sa dysfonction sur la structure cilaire, nous avons analysé son expression au niveau protéique, en examinant des cellules épithéliales nasales prélevées par frottis brosse. Comme chez le chien, la protéine était absente des cellules épithéliales respiratoires des patients atteints, alors qu’elle était présente chez les contrôles. En utilisant des techniques d’immunofluorescence à haute résolution, nous avons pu démontrer que CCDC39 se localisait principalement au niveau de l’axonème ciliaire chez l’individu sain mais pas chez l’individu atteint. Afin de caractériser l’impact d’une déficience de CCDC39, nous avons étudié les autres composants de l’axonème ciliaire en utilisant des anticorps dirigés spécifiquement sur des sous-unités de l’axonème ciliaire. Nous avons ainsi pu démontrer que l’absence de CCDC39 est responsable d’une absence de certains constituants axonémaux comme les bras de dynéine internes ou le complexe régulateur des dynéines. Enfin, l’analyse du battement ciliaire de certains sujets atteints a permis de mettre en évidence un pattern dyskinétique, caractérisé par une amplitude réduite et des axonèmes rigides. Cette étude a permis d’identifier un nouveau gène impliqué dans les DCP tant dans la race bobtail que chez l’homme. Nous avons pu mettre en évidence que ce gène code pour une protéine axonémale dont l’absence est responsable d’une atteinte des bras de dynéine internes et d’une désorganisation axonémale, ce qui a pour conséquence un battement ciliaire dyskinétique. Le phénotype clinique présenté par les chiens atteints est remarquablement similaire à celui de l’homme, avec une atteinte sévère des voies respiratoires, mais également des anomalies spermatiques chez le mâle et l’existence de défaut de latéralité chez certains atteints. Comme dans la grande majorité des DCP, les individus ne présentent la maladie que s’ils recoivent deux copies défectueuses de CCDC39, puisque nous avons pu montré que tous les chiens atteints étaient homozygotes pour la mutation et que la plupart des patients humains atteints possédaient soit une mutation à l’état homozygote, soit deux mutations différentes. Toutes les mutations identifiées au sein de ce gène sont associées à une perte de fonction et sont vraisemblablement responsables d’une absence de production de la protéine, secondaire à un phénomène de dégradation de l’ARNm, comme nous avons pu le mettre en évidence chez le bobtail. Par la suite, d’autres études ont confirmé cette hypothèse en identifiant de nouvelles mutations au sein de CCDC39, pratiquement toutes liées à une perte de fonction (Blanchon et al., 2012) (Zariwala et al., 2013) (Antony et al., 2013). Les mutations identifiées étaient systématiquement associées à un phénotype ultrastructurel bien particulier représentant environ 12% des cas de DCP (Jorissen et al., 2000b) (Chilvers et al., 2003a) (Papon et al., 2010) (Shoemark et al., 2012). Simultaménent à la découverte de CCDC39, un autre gène, CCDC40, a été identifié comme étant responsable d’un phénotype ultrastrucurel identique. Ces deux gènes sont étroitement liés, puisque l’absence de CCDC40 affecte la localisation axonémale de CCDC39 au sein de la cellule ciliée (Becker-Heck et al., 2010). Ces deux gènes expliquent à eux seuls une grande proportion des patients présentant ce phénotype particulier (Blanchon et al., 2012) (Antony et al., 2013). Nous avons pu démontrer, par différentes méthodes, que ce gène jouait un rôle important dans la structure et la fonction des cils mobiles en observant que son expression était principalement localisée dans les organes présentant des cils mobiles et que la protéine était absente chez des individus porteurs de mutation. De plus, en inactivant l’expression de ce gène dans des embryons de zebrafish, nous avons observé l’apparition de défaut de latéralité ce qui suggère une atteinte des cils mobiles de la vésicule de Kupffer, responsable de l’asymétrie droite gauche. L’identification de ce gène est particulièrement intéressante car CCDC39 a été la première protéine enrichie en domaine « coiled-coils » a être impliquée dans une DCP et a permis de souligner l’importance de ces motifs pour la fonction du cil mobile. Depuis lors, plusieurs autres gènes possédant ces structures particulières ont été associés avec d’autres cas de DCP humaines (Becker-Heck et al., 2010) (Hjeij et al., 2014) (Horani et al., 2013a) (Knowles et al., 2013a) (Panizzi et al., 2012) (Wirschell et al., 2013). Le rôle exact de ces protéines riches en des domaines « coiled-coils » reste à préciser, mais elles semblent jouer un rôle dans la structure du complexe régulateur des dynéines et dans l’ancrage des bras de dynéine aux microtubules adjacents. Cette étude a permis d’identifier le premier gène responsable de DCP dans l’espèce canine. Le génotypage de plus 500 bobtails a permis d’établir que la mutation semble plus fréquente en Europe, ce qui pourrait être lié à l’usage intensif de certains grands champions dans les années 80. La disponibilité de ce test permettra aux éleveurs de dépister les porteurs asymptomatiques et évitera l’apparition de nouveaux atteints. Enfin, cette étude permet de mettre en lumière l’intérêt du chien en tant qu’organisme modèle pour identifier les origines génétiques de certaines pathologies humaines. En effet, le chien représente un modèle unique à bien des égards (Lequarré et al., 2011). Le chien bénéficie de soins médicaux de plus en plus poussés et chaque race de chien représente un isolat génétique, ce qui a pour conséquence une concentration de certains allèles morbides responsables de pathologies similaires à celles de l’homme. On peut ajouter que le chien possède un répertoire génétique très proche de celui de l’homme et que la strucure de son génome est particulièrement intéressante pour disséquer génétiquement des caractères mendéliens, mais aussi des caractères complexes (Lindblad-Toh et al., 2005). Enfin, ou peut imaginer que les bobtails atteints de DCP pourraient représenter une opportunité unique pour tester de nouvelles thérapies et éventuellement pour mettre au point une thérapie ciblée contre le défaut génétique responsable. [less ▲]

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See detailA geometric local frame approach for flexible multibody systems
Sonneville, Valentin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The notion of frame is ubiquitous in the kinematic description of flexible multibody models. In this work, a differential-geometric framework is selected to describe frame operations in a rigorous and ... [more ▼]

The notion of frame is ubiquitous in the kinematic description of flexible multibody models. In this work, a differential-geometric framework is selected to describe frame operations in a rigorous and systematic way. A frame transformation is thus seen as an element of the special Euclidean group $SE(3)$, which is represented by a four by four transformation matrix, and frame operations, such as spatial interpolation or time integration, rely on non-linear but analytical expressions in which translation and rotation contributions are inherently coupled. Based on this formalism, this thesis develops geometrically exact formulations of many classical components used in flexible multibody system modelling, which includes the formulation of a rigid body, several kinematic joints, a flexible beam, a flexible shell and a superelement. As opposed to most popular techniques in the literature, a local frame representation of the equations of motion is adopted in this work. This means that the unknown kinematic variables such as the motion increments, the velocities and the accelerations, as well as the generalized forces are all expressed in a local frame attached to the body. After spatial semi-discretization, the equations of motion of a multibody system take the form of differential-algebraic equations on a Lie group which can be conveniently solved in a global parametrization-free approach using a Lie group integration scheme. This thesis presents numerous arguments to recommend this framework for the development of efficient codes for the numerical simulation of flexible multibody systems. On the one hand, the proposed framework leads to novel and interesting theoretical aspects. For instance, it features a naturally singularity-free description of large rotations and it leads to inherently shear-locking free beam and shell finite elements. On the other hand, the formulation leads to unprecedented computational properties. The geometric non-linearities are naturally filtered out of the equilibrium equations such that non-linearities are significantly reduced, as compared to classical formulations. In particular, the iteration matrix, which is used in implicit integration schemes, is insensitive to overall large amplitude motions and is only affected by local relative transformations, such as deformations in flexible elements and relative motions in kinematic joints. This property can be exploited to strongly reduce computational costs, as compared to classical formulations. [less ▲]

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See detailExperimental study and modeling of the quasi-static mechanical behavior of Ti6Al4V at room temperature
Gilles, Gaëtan ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The work aims to characterize the quasi-static mechanical behavior of the Ti6Al4V titanium alloy at room temperature and to describe it by a phenomenological model. The thesis is divided in four parts ... [more ▼]

The work aims to characterize the quasi-static mechanical behavior of the Ti6Al4V titanium alloy at room temperature and to describe it by a phenomenological model. The thesis is divided in four parts. The first one presents a literature review of the basic properties of titanium and its alloys (crystal structure, classification, deformation mechanisms), then it focuses on the specific mechanical features of Ti6Al4V. It also proposes a state of art in the field of the phenomenological constitutive laws used to model the mechanical behaviors of metals. The second part deals with the experimental campaign conducted on a 0.6 mm thick Ti6Al4V sheet. The devices and the tests are first described before giving the test results. The campaign includes experiments with monotonic and complex strain paths (tension, compression, simple shear, plane strain, Bauschinger tests, deep-drawing processes, layer compression tests). The experimental results show that the material displays anisotropy in yield stress, r-ratios and hardening, as well as a strength differential effect between tension and compression. The third part describes the implementation of the yield criteria CPB06exn in the non-linear finite element code LAGAMINE developed in MSM team. These criteria are selected to model the yield locus of Ti6Al4V since they are able to take into account both the anisotropy and the tension-compression asymmetry exhibited by the alloy. Several parameter identifications are performed using the classical simulated annealing algorithm. They determine that CPB06ex2 is required to represent the yield surface. The criterion is next associated to different hardening formulations: (1) Voce isotropic law; (2) mixed Voce isotropic – Armstrong-Frederick kinematic law; (3) model taking into account the evolution of the yield locus shape with the deformation. The identification of the hardening parameters is achieved from the monotonic and Bauschinger tests either by inverse method, or by the simulated annealing method. The last part of the thesis proposed a validation of the different modelings in the case of the layer compression tests and the deep-drawing processes. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation des systèmes de management de la sécurité et de la qualité de l’aquaculture du tilapia du Nil "Oreochromis niloticus" dans l’Ouest algérien.
Dergal, Nadir Boudjlal ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Cette thèse a été entreprise afin d’élaborer et de développer le premier modèle HACCP spécifique pour la gestion de la qualité ante et post mortem du tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) produit au niveau de ... [more ▼]

Cette thèse a été entreprise afin d’élaborer et de développer le premier modèle HACCP spécifique pour la gestion de la qualité ante et post mortem du tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) produit au niveau de la ferme continentale "Fat-Steppes" (Ouest algérien). Pour ce faire, différents points critiques (PCC) ont été déterminés et maitrisés tout au long de la phase d’élevage et de commercialisation. Durant la phase d’élevage, les résidus d’antibiotiques, les résidus de la 17α-méthyle testostérone et la qualité microbiologique et physicochimique de l’eau et de l’aliment d’élevage ont été évalués. Une stratégie analytique pertinente a été développée basée sur une première technique microbiologique de screening qui a été améliorée et partiellement validée pour l’identification des tétracyclines et des fluoroquinolones. Suivie d’une seconde technique LC-UV-MS qui a été spécialement optimisée pour l’identification et la quantification de l’acide oxolinique. Une nouvelle méthode d’extraction, compatible avec un test immuno-enzymatique ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), a été optimisée pour la détection des résidus de 17α-méthyle testostérone (MT) dans la chair du poisson, dans l’eau et l’aliment d’élevage. Le profil nutritionnel du tilapia produit à Fat Steppes a été caractérisé en déterminant sa composition en macronutriments, son profil en acides gras et en acide aminés. Par la suite, l’évolution temporelle de la qualité hygiénique, du tilapia conservé à 4°C et 30°C, a été évaluée par une approche sensorielle, microbiologique (Flore Mésophile Aérobie Totale et Entérobactéries) et biochimique. L’analyse des diènes conjuguées, des hydroperoxydes et des TBARS "Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances" a servi pour évaluer l’oxydation lipidique. L’analyse d’azote basique volatil totat "ABVT", la triméthylamine "TMA" et les amines biogènes a servi pour évaluer la protéolyse bactérienne et enzymatique. Les résultats obtenus ont démontrés des performances satisfaisantes des deux techniques d’analyse des résidus d’antibiotiques. La capacité de détection (CCß) du test de screening est de 0,75 fois la limite maximale de résidus (LMR) de l’acide oxolinique (OXO) et la limite de la quantification chromatographique LC/UV est de LMR/20. Le délai d’attente de l’OXO est estimé à 8 jours après un traitement de six jours successifs avec une dose de 12 mg/ kg de poids vif. La nouvelle méthode d’extraction des résidus d’MT est acceptable en termes de rendement d’extraction (55 % pour la chair et 85 % pour l'eau) et de linéarité (R2 = 0,998). Le délai d’attente des résidus de la MT est estimé à deux mois après un traitement avec une dose ≤ 65 mg MT/kg d’aliment, pendant 28 jours, à partir du 10ème jour post-éclosion. Des seuils microbiologiques de 103 ufc/100 ml de coliformes fécaux et de 3 x 106 ufc/g de flore mésophile aérobie totale (FMAT) sont retenus comme critères de bonne qualité microbiologique de l’eau et de l’aliment d’élevage respectivement. Le tilapia algérien est considéré comme un poisson maigre (± 0,33 % de lipide) et riche en protéines (± 17,3 %). Son profil en acides aminés essentiels et en acides gras polyinsaturés est relativement intéressant. Les paramètres de performance de la nouvelle méthode HPTLC "High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography", développée pour le screening et la quantification de six amines biogènes d’intérêt, sont satisfaisants en termes de linéarité (R2 > 0,98), de justesse (> 84 %), de fidélité. La limite de détection (LOD) de la méthode HPTLC est de l’ordre de 5 µg.g-1 de chair de poisson. Les résultats de l’analyse organoleptique, microbiologique et biochimique sont fortement et positivement corrélés et révèlent que la date d’utilisation optimale du tilapia est limitée à 12 heures et à 5 jours de conservation à 30°C et à 4°C respectivement. Après ces délais, le poisson est rejeté par l’appréciation organoleptique et tous les seuils critiques établis dans ce travail sont dépassés. Des valeurs de l’ordre de : 6 log cfu g-1 pour les FMAT et les entérobactéries, 0,85 mg MDA kg-1 de poids humide, 35 mg ABVT-N 100 g-1 de chair, 8 mg TMA-N 100 g-1 de chair, 100 µg.g-1 de putrescine et de cadavérine sont retenus comme critères microbiologiques et biochimiques respectivement. [less ▲]

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See detailLa jurisprudence de la Cour constitutionnelle en procédure pénale : le Code d'instruction criminelle remodelé par le procès équitable ?
Michiels, Olivier ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

INTRODUCTION GÉNÉRALE Ma dissertation doctorale porte sur une question simple qui peut succinctement se résumer de la manière suivante : la Cour constitutionnelle développe-t-elle un modèle de procédure ... [more ▼]

INTRODUCTION GÉNÉRALE Ma dissertation doctorale porte sur une question simple qui peut succinctement se résumer de la manière suivante : la Cour constitutionnelle développe-t-elle un modèle de procédure pénale ? Cette question me paraissait intéressante dès lors que l’extension du socle de compétence de la Cour constitutionnelle au titre II de la Constitution a considérablement renforcé la « constitutionnalisation » du droit pénal sensu lato et que le catalogue constitutionnel belge des droits fondamentaux a subi un véritable bouleversement à la suite de l’évolution des droits et libertés garantis par les instruments internationaux, dont la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme. Afin de disposer des bases nécessaires pour appréhender ce sujet d’étude, il convenait, d’une part, de déterminer les possibilités d’action de la Cour constitutionnelle dès l’instant où sa saisine se réalise par voie de questions préjudicielles ou de recours en annulation et de cerner l’éventuelle ingéniosité juridique que la doctrine prête à la Cour pour étendre son analyse au delà de la vision manichéenne de la constitutionnalité. D’autre part, il était nécessaire de procéder à une recension des arrêts prononcés par la Cour constitutionnelle, dans le but toujours de vérifier si, et, le cas échéant, comment la Cour s’inscrit ou non dans une logique définie de la procédure pénale. J’ai, dès lors, après avoir rappelé le socle de compétence de la Cour constitutionnelle, la manière dont cette dernière est saisie et les techniques récurrentes auxquelles la Cour recourt dans la construction de ses arrêts, procédé à un inventaire des principaux arrêts prononcés par la Cour constitutionnelle en procédure pénale. Sciemment, j’ai pris comme point de départ de cette recension l’année 1998 qui a vu entrer en vigueur la loi du 12 mars 1998, dite Franchimont, dont le but était de donner un cadre légal et résolument actuel à l’information et à l’instruction. Une fois ce travail réalisé, j’ai entrepris de déterminer s’il était possible de dégager des prises de position répétées de la Cour qui s’imposeraient comme autant de « fondamentaux » qui jalonnent la procédure pénale. QUELS SONT LES FONDAMENTAUX DE LA COUR CONSTITUTIONNELLE EN PROCEDURE PENALE ? De la jurisprudence de la Cour constitutionnelle, il me paraît qu’il est possible de dégager 7 fondamentaux qui balisent la procédure pénale. 1. LA DISTINCTION ENTRE LES PARTIES AU PROCES PENAL ET LES PHASES PROCEDURALES 1. L’on sait que la Cour constitutionnelle estime qu’il existe une différence fondamentale entre le ministère public, d’une part, et l’inculpé et la partie civile, d’autre part. Pour la Cour, cette distinction repose sur un critère objectif : le premier accomplit, dans l’intérêt de la société, les missions de service public relatives à la recherche et à la poursuite des infractions ; les seconds défendent leur intérêt personnel . Cette différence justifie raisonnablement que, tout particulièrement au long de l'instruction, le ministère public jouisse de prérogatives dont la constitutionnalité ne peut être appréciée en procédant à une comparaison de sa situation avec celle de l'inculpé. 2. Lors de la phase du jugement, la différence tend à s’amenuiser. Il serait toutefois hasardeux de soutenir que le ministère public devient une partie comme les autres. En effet, par la Cour de cassation – dans un arrêt du 19 décembre 2012 discuté dont l’analyse m’éloignerait de mon sujet – retient que « la mission impartie au ministère public ne se réduit pas à celle d’un accusateur. Il intervient aussi au procès pour proposer au juge une solution de justice ». La Cour constitutionnelle insiste pareillement sur le rôle imparti au ministère public qui ne se cantonne pas à celui d’une simple partie au procès pénal au regard des missions qui sont les siennes. Cependant, si la distinction entre les différentes parties au procès répressif repose sur un critère objectif, la Cour constitutionnelle m’admettrait pas que cette seule différence puisse porter atteinte au principe de l’égalité des armes ce qui l’amènerait inévitablement à rétablir l’égalité. 2. LE DROIT D’ACCES AU JUGE 3. L’approche de la Cour constitutionnelle quant au droit d’accès à un tribunal est tout en nuance. Pour la Cour, ce droit peut ne pas être absolu et peut souffrir de limitations. Ainsi, la Cour insiste sur le fait que si le droit d’accès au juge peut être soumis à des conditions de recevabilité, celles-ci ne peuvent aboutir à restreindre le droit de manière telle qu’il s’en trouve atteint dans sa substance même. Une telle motivation n’est pas sans rappeler la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme sur le sujet. En effet, pour la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, « ce droit d’accès au tribunal se trouve atteint lorsque sa réglementation cesse de servir les buts de la sécurité juridique et de la bonne administration de la justice et constitue une sorte de barrière qui empêche le justiciable de voir son litige tranché au fond par la juridiction compétente ». On aperçoit immédiatement que, la question du droit d’accès au juge est, sous certains aspects, intimement liée à celle du formalisme procédural. 3. LE FORMALISME PROCEDURAL 4. Par l’examen des règles de forme, la Cour renforce le contrôle qu’elle porte sur le droit d’accès au juge. En effet, la Cour en réalisant une distinction entre les règles de fond – entendues comme le droit garanti ou protégé – et de forme –qui déterminent les manières de procéder –elle confère un volet substantiel à certaines règles procédurales. Ce faisant, la Cour garantit l’effectivité du droit revendiqué qui est souvent dépendante de la protection procédurale qui l’encadre. 4. LA NON-INTERFERENCE DANS LES CHOIX D’OPPORTUNITE DU LEGISLATEUR 5. La Cour constitutionnelle ne se prononce pas sur le caractère approprié ou non du choix opéré par le législateur. Elle n’est pas le juge de « l’opportunité législative ».Son contrôle porte, en fait, sur l’adéquation d’une mesure au but recherché et l’existence d’un rapport raisonnable entre les moyens employés et l’objectif visé. Cependant, à nouveau, la Cour s’autorisera à sanctionner le choix du législateur s’il était porté atteinte, sans justification raisonnable, aux droits d’une catégorie de citoyens. 5. LE RESPECT DES DROITS DE LA DEFENSE 6. Au fil de sa jurisprudence, la Cour constitutionnelle se montre intensément attentive au respect des droits de la défense et au droit à un procès équitable qui, à vrai dire, sont l’essence même de la procédure pénale. La Cour veille, au stade du jugement, à assurer l’égalité des armes entre l’accusation et la défense à laquelle le droit à la contradiction est étroitement lié. Pour la Cour constitutionnelle, l’effectivité des droits de la défense passe encore par la protection de la relation de confiance qui doit se créer entre le justiciable et l’avocat qui le conseille et le défend. Le secret professionnel de l’avocat constitue « l’un des principes fondamentaux sur lesquels repose l’organisation de la justice dans une société démocratique ». 7. De manière globale, on notera que la notion de droits de la défense garantie par la Cour constitutionnelle est viscéralement marquée du sceau de la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme mais il lui revient d’intégrer ces données dans le système procédural belge en ayant égard aux choix réalisés par le législateur. 6. LA DIFFERENCIATION ENTRE LES PROCEDURES JUDICIAIRES 8. La Cour semble, a priori, rejeter une comparaison d’office entre les règles de la procédure civile et celles de la procédure pénale quand bien même la première constitue le droit commun. La Cour rappelle que vouloir établir un parallélisme entre les règles de la procédure civile et celles de la procédure pénale n’est pas nécessairement pertinent. En effet, l’application de règles procédurales différentes dans des circonstances différentes n’implique pas en soi l’émergence d’une discrimination. 7. LA PREVISIBILITE 9. Certains arrêts prononcés par la Cour constitutionnelle permettent de mettre en lumière l’importance que cette dernière accorde à la condition de prévisibilité. En droit pénal, sensu stricto, la Cour a pu rappeler qu’il découle de l’article 12, alinéa 2, de la Constitution que la loi pénale doit être formulée en des termes qui permettent à chacun de connaître, au moment où il adopte un comportement, si ce comportement est punissable ou non et la peine éventuellement encourue. Les principes de légalité et de prévisibilité ne se cantonnent toutefois pas au droit pénal, sensu stricto, mais sont applicables à l’ensemble de la procédure pénale en ce compris aux stades de l’information et de l’instruction. Ces principes entendent exclure tout risque d’intervention arbitraire de la part du pouvoir exécutif ou du pouvoir judiciaire dans l’établissement et l’application des peines. En somme, l’exigence de prévisibilité de la procédure pénale garantit à tout citoyen qu’il ne pourra faire l’objet d’une information, d’une instruction et de poursuites que selon une procédure établie par la loi et dont il peut prendre connaissance avant sa mise en oeuvre. CHAPITRE 3. VERS LA RECOMPOSITION DE LA PROCEDURE PENALE ? 10. Si, pour ma part, la Cour constitutionnelle dégage des « principes constants » qu’elle s’astreint à respecter, peut-on nécessairement en déduire que la Cour entend s’inscrire dans un modèle précis de procédure pénale ? Pour appréhender cette question, il convient naturellement d’apprécier si la Cour constitutionnelle, par les orientations qu’elle confère à ses arrêts, ouvre au juge judiciaire des perspectives qui lui permettront de se libérer d’une interprétation traditionnelle de la norme pour satisfaire aux exigences d’aujourd’hui envisagées sous l’angle du respect de la personne et de ses droits fondamentaux ? Il me paraît que la Cour y parvient par le recours au dialogue des jurisprudences. 1. LE DIALOGUE DES JURISPRUDENCES 11. Le dialogue des jurisprudences se caractérise par l’emprunt de motivations émanant de juridictions nationales ou de juridictions étrangères ou internationales qui deviennent décisoires dans les arrêts de la Cour constitutionnelle. 12. La Cour constitutionnelle s’est résolument et immédiatement positionnée en faveur du dialogue des jurisprudences. Nombre des arrêts que nous avons répertoriés se réfèrent expressément à la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme dont elle fait sien les enseignements. Au fil des années, les emprunts à la jurisprudence strasbourgeoise se sont accentués et non plus seulement en termes de référence mais encore en termes de contenu. La suprématie, selon la Cour constitutionnelle, de notre Charte fondamentale sur la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme n’enraie nullement ce dialogue. Par ces emprunts, la Cour constitutionnelle renforce, selon moi, ces « principes fondamentaux », et par là même leur autorité persuasive, en s’appuyant sur la notoriété et le rayonnement international de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme. Un tel dialogue contribue à promouvoir le caractère universel des garanties fondamentales inhérentes au procès pénal et oblige à la confrontation des idées entre les juridictions ce qui doit permettre, me semble-t-il, de surmonter les tensions entre elle et la Cour de cassation. Il est vrai que ces deux hautes juridictions s’affrontent sur certains points, mais ces divergences ne doivent pas être exagérées car je persiste à penser que ces deux Cours doivent avoir l’intelligence stratégique de coordonner leur interprétation, dès lors que de telles divergences de jurisprudence en procédure pénale le sont toujours au détriment du justiciable alors que le but premier des règles de procédure est d’assurer la protection des droits fondamentaux de ce dernier. Ceci étant ce dialogue des jurisprudences ne va-t-il pas faire craindre l’émergence d’une « oligarchie » des juges et à plus forte raison que des juges pourraient s’émanciper par rapport à la loi en saisissant d’autres juges qui pourraient mettre le législateur « hors jeu »? 2. L’ « OLIGARCHIE » DES JUGES 13. Je crois qu’il ne faut pas amplifier le phénomène car la Cour constitutionnelle privilégie l’interprétation téléologique et rappelons-le elle n’entend pas, en règle, substituer son appréciation à celle du législateur si le choix est raisonnable. Par ailleurs, pour faire très bref, la Cour constitutionnelle devient le lieu de débats et d’échanges d’arguments où le travail légistique est réexaminé au regard des droits et libertés garantis par la Constitution couplés bien souvent à la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme. Si bien que les juges constitutionnels belges et, par ricochet le législateur, lorsqu’il obtempère aux injonctions qui lui sont faites par ces derniers, s’alignent sur l’appréciation de l’équité du procès telle qu’elle se dégage des positions adoptées par la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme. Mais le pouvoir du dernier mot appartient au législateur. 14. A l’inverse ne pourrait-on penser que de facto en raison de la composition de la Cour qui contient en son sein d’anciens mandataires politiques, le pouvoir législatif ne garde-t-il pas une certaine mainmise sur le contrôle de la constitutionnalité des lois ? 3. LA COMPOSITION DE LA COUR CONSTITUTIONNELLE Répondre à cette question relève du divinatoire et poserait en postulat que le juge, ancien parlementaire, serait un défenseur de la norme critiquée ce qui ne peut scientifiquement être démontré. Il ne paraît, dès lors, qu’il s’agit là d’une crainte infondée. Un dernier point doit, en revanche, être souligné : le pragmatisme et le conséquentialisme de la Cour. CHAPITRE 4. PRAGMATISME ET CONSEQUENTIALISME DE LA COUR CONSTITUTIONNELLE 15. Une autre grande tendance se dégage des arrêts analysés, le pragmatisme dont fait preuve la Cour dans le but d’assurer une véritable praticabilité à la procédure. 16. En parallèle au pragmatisme, le moyen conséquentialiste ne peut être négligé. Bien évidemment, tous les arrêts prononcés par la Cour ont nécessairement une conséquence dans leur sphère d’application. En l’espèce, par conséquentialisme il faut entendre plus précisément les positions adoptées par la Cour qui sont teintées de réalisme « politique » qui répond à des impératifs budgétaires ou de sécurité nationale ou encore à une volonté populaire. Ces données réelles et par toujours facile à identifier peuvent évidemment constituer autant des contraintes susceptibles de limiter la liberté d’appréciation par la Cour d’un modèle de procédure pénale. CONCLUSIONS 17. Alors, en définitive, est-il possible de répondre à ma question initiale : la Cour constitutionnelle développe-t-elle un modèle de procédure pénale ? A l’examen, il paraît illusoire, voire naïf, de vouloir répondre à cette interrogation de manière catégorique. Une telle réponse manquerait de nuances et prêterait nécessairement le flanc à la critique. Il faut donc procéder par touches successives et observer que le critère phare du raisonnement de la Cour constitutionnelle devient celui de l’équité du procès. La Cour n’en garde pas moins à l’esprit qu’elle doit maintenir la cohérence du système juridique dans lequel elle se meut et que ses interventions sont, somme toute, conditionnées par les recours et les questions qui lui sont adressés et qui dépendront, pour ces dernières, de l’attitude adoptée par le juge a quo. Par ailleurs, la Cour ne manque pas de souligner que la procédure pénale reste encadrée par le principe de légalité sans que la marge de manœuvre du pouvoir judiciaire – et de la Cour constitutionnelle elle-même – ne puisse jamais aller au-delà d’une interprétation raisonnablement prévisible des règles de procédure fixées par le seul législateur. Enfin, l’argument conséquentialiste, qu’il n’est pas toujours aisé de distinguer dans le raisonnement de la Cour, peut complètement chambouler la grille de lecture que l’analyste tenterait de dresser. En conclusion, s’il ne fallait retenir qu’une chose de ma thèse c’est que la si la Cour constitutionnelle ne développe pas un modèle de procédure pénale, il n’en est pas moins vrai, qu’à l’aulne du procès équitable, dont il ne paraît guère possible de cerner le périmètre d’action, elle refaçonne résolument cette procédure. [less ▲]

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See detailSatellite Orbits in the Atmosphere: Uncertainty Quantification, Propagation and Optimal Control
Dell'Elce, Lamberto ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

From the massive international space station to nanosatellites, all space missions share a common principle: orbiting an object requires energy. The greater the satellite's mass, the higher the launch ... [more ▼]

From the massive international space station to nanosatellites, all space missions share a common principle: orbiting an object requires energy. The greater the satellite's mass, the higher the launch cost. In astrodynamics, this translates into the motto ``use whatever you can''. This concept encompasses a broad spectrum of missions, e.g., the Earth's oblateness is exploited for sun-synchronous orbits and the kinetic energy of a planet is used to accomplish fly-by maneuvers. Nowadays, the same paradigm is coming on stream in the context of distributed space systems, where complex missions are envisaged by splitting the workload of a single satellite into multiple agents. Orbital perturbations -- often regarded as disturbances -- can be turned into an opportunity to control the relative motion of the agents in order to reduce or even remove the need for on-board propellant. This thesis is an attempt to combine uncertainty quantification, analytical propagation, and optimal control of satellite trajectories in the atmosphere for effectively and robustly exploiting the aerodynamic force. Specifically, by means of a probabilistic estimation and prediction of the aerodynamic force and an efficient and consistent propagation of low-Earth orbits, a robust reference trajectory for the realization of relative maneuvers between two satellites in a realistic environment can be generated. [less ▲]

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See detailGraded-commutative nonassociative algebras: higher octonions and Krichever-Novikov superalgebras; their structures, combinatorics and non-trivial cocycles.
Kreusch, Marie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This dissertation consists of two parts. The first one is the study of a series of real (resp. complex) noncommutative and nonassociative algebras $\bbO_{p,q}$ (resp. $\bbO_{n}$) generalizing the algebra ... [more ▼]

This dissertation consists of two parts. The first one is the study of a series of real (resp. complex) noncommutative and nonassociative algebras $\bbO_{p,q}$ (resp. $\bbO_{n}$) generalizing the algebra of octonion numbers $\bbO$. This generalization is similar to the one of the algebra of quaternion numbers in Clifford algebras. Introduced by Morier-Genoud and Ovsienko, these algebras have a natural $\bbZ_2^n$-grading ($p+q =n$), and they are characterized by a cubic form over the field $\bbZ_2.$ We establish all the possible isomorphisms between the algebras $\bbO_{p,q}$ preserving the structure of $\bbZ_2^n$-graded algebra. The classification table of $\bbO_{p,q}$ is quite similar to that of the real Clifford algebras $\cC l_{p,q}$, the main difference is that the algebras $\bbO_{n,0}$ and $\bbO_{0,n}$ are exceptional. We also provide a periodicity for the algebras $\bbO_n$ and $\bbO_{p,q}$ analogous to the periodicity for the Clifford algebras $\cC l_{n}$ and $\cC l_{p,q}$. In the second part we consider superalgebras of Krichever-Novikov (K-N) type. Krichever and Novikov introduced a family of Lie algebras with two marked points generalizing the Witt algebra and its central extension called the Virasoro algebra. The K-N Lie (super)algebras for more than two marked points were studied by Schlichenmaier. In particular, he extended the explicit formula of $2$-cocycles due to Krichever and Novikov to multiple-point situation. We give an explicit construction of central extensions of Lie superalgebras of K-N type and we establish a $1$-cocycle with values in its dual space. In the case of Jordan superalgebras related to superalgebras of K-N type, we calculate a 1-cocycle with coefficients in the dual space. [less ▲]

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See detailPhotochemical generation of reactive oxygen species using plasmonic nanoparticles
Lismont, Marjorie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

During his lecture entitled “ There is plenty of room at the bottom ”, Richard Feyn- man foresaw the possibility of manipulating material at the scale of individual atoms and molecules. Although Feynman’s ... [more ▼]

During his lecture entitled “ There is plenty of room at the bottom ”, Richard Feyn- man foresaw the possibility of manipulating material at the scale of individual atoms and molecules. Although Feynman’s conceptual idea of a nanoworld was evoked in 1959, the nanoscience and nanotechnology revolution began 30 years later with the ability to see at the atomic scale with the invention of electronic microscopy and related tools. The size range that has attracted so much attention over these last 30 years is typically from 100 nanometers down to the atomic level. Subsequently, nanomaterials were defined as materials, which have structured components with at least one dimension in this size range. For instance, material with three nanometric dimensions defines a nanoparticle. Among the variety of core materials available to synthesize nanoparticles, noble metal nanoparticles, i.e. gold and silver, have fascinated people for centuries owing to their bright and intense colors, used in particular as decorative pigments in cathedral stained glasses and artworks. The red and yellow colors displayed by gold and silver nanoparti- cles arise from their interaction with light, which one induces collective oscillations of free electrons at the nanoparticle surface in resonance with the light field. This phenomenon is commonly known as the localized surface plasmon resonance. Their remarkable optical properties and the intense electric field generated by plasmonics nanoparticles have brought these nanomaterials in the forefront of nanotechnology research, ranging from photonics to medicine. Shining light on plasmonic nanoparticles to push back limitations of light-activated therapy and so taking part to the societal challenge of cancer treatment improvement defines the global framework of the thesis. Falling within the nanomedicine topic, this one more precisely deals with the development of efficient plasmonic nano-drugs using light to cure diseases. Clearly, nanoplasmonics, which explores how electromagnetic field can be confined over dimension on the order or smaller than the wavelength of light, has come a long way since the stained glass of Roman times. [less ▲]

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See detailNonparametric and bootstrap techniques applied to financial risk modeling
Hambuckers, julien ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

For the purpose of quantifying financial risks, risk managers need to model the behavior of financial variables. However, the construction of such mathematical models is a difficult task that requires ... [more ▼]

For the purpose of quantifying financial risks, risk managers need to model the behavior of financial variables. However, the construction of such mathematical models is a difficult task that requires careful statistical approaches. Among the important choices that must be addressed,we can list the error distribution, the structure of the variance process, the relationship between parameters of interest and explanatory variables. In particular, one may avoid procedures that rely either on too rigid parametric assumptions or on inefficient estimation procedures. In this thesis, we develop statistical procedures that tackle some of these issues, in the context of three financial risk modelling applications. In the first application, we are interested in selecting the error distribution in a multiplicative heteroscedastic model without relying on a parametric volatility assumption. To avoid this uncertainty, we develop a set of model estimation and selection tests relying on nonparametric volatility estimators and focusing on the tails of the distribution. We illustrate this technique on UBS, BOVESPA and EUR/USD daily stock returns. In the second application, we are concerned by modeling the tail of the operational losses severity distribution, conditionally to several covariates. We develop a flexible conditional GPD model, where the shape parameter is an unspecified link function (nonparametric part) of a linear combination of covariates (single index part), avoiding the curse of dimensionality. We apply successfully this technique on two original databases, using macroeconomic and firm-specific variables as covariates. In the last application, we provide an efficient way to estimate the predictive ability of trading algorithms. Instead of relying on subjective and noisy sample splitting techniques, we propose an adaptation of the .632 bootstrap technique to the time series context. We apply these techniques on stock prices to compare 12,000 trading rules parametrizations and show that none can beat a simple buy-and-hold strategy. [less ▲]

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See detailPolyphosphate-based amphiphilic copolymers: synthesis and application to drug nanocarriers
Vanslambrouck, Stéphanie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Thanks to their biocompatibility and degradability properties, polyphosphates are appealing polymers for biomedical applications, especially for drug delivery systems. In contrast to aliphatic polyesters ... [more ▼]

Thanks to their biocompatibility and degradability properties, polyphosphates are appealing polymers for biomedical applications, especially for drug delivery systems. In contrast to aliphatic polyesters, such as poly(?-caprolactone) and poly(lactide), the pentavalency of phosphorus atom allows the easy modification of the polyphosphate properties by simply adjusting the nature, the length and the functionality of the polyphosphate pendants groups. The goal of this thesis focused on the design of drug nanocarriers based on amphiphilic block copolymer micelles well-suited for the encapsulation of poorly soluble drugs. For that purpose, novel diblock copolymers composed of a water-soluble poly(ethylene oxide) block and a polyphosphate block bearing a variety of alkyl side-groups were synthesized. Firstly, n- butyl, i-butyl and n-heptyl cyclic phosphate monomers were synthesized and used for the organo-catalyzed ring-opening polymerization providing a range of PEO-b-polyphosphate amphiphilic copolymers varying by the architecture and length of the polyphosphate pendant group. Then, post-polymerization thiol-ene click reactions on preformed PEO-b- polybutenylphosphate copolymer was used to graft dodecyl or tocopherol side-chains on the polyphosphate block.The micellization of these amphiphilic block copolymers in aqueous medium was then investigated and a comparative study of the encapsulation and release of a poorly soluble model drug, i.e. ketoconazole, was carried out. Ultimately, the synthesis of a triblock copolymer was investigated to prepare shell- crosslinked core-shell-corona micelles to improve the nanoparticles stability. [less ▲]

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See detailThe System for Adressing Personal Problems-From medicalisation to Socialisation: Shifts in Belgian Psychiatric and Mental Health Institutions
Thunus, Sophie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

My PhD thesis related the growth of a large social system devoted to the treatment of personal problems; i.e. problems successively labelled as madness, mental illness and mental health problems, from the ... [more ▼]

My PhD thesis related the growth of a large social system devoted to the treatment of personal problems; i.e. problems successively labelled as madness, mental illness and mental health problems, from the early fifties to the present days. That system involved heterogeneous networks of actors, including scientific experts, established professions, social movements, policy makers, services users and international organisations; instruments and knowledge ranging from psychoanalytical theories to biological knowledge and models of governance. It meant to explain how institutional change happened in that complex social system, by studying past and ongoing reforms, considered as interrelated steps towards complete paradigm shift, including shifting policy means, policy objectives and social organisation. By relying on in-depth analyses of five past reforms, it conceptualised the system as composed of interrelated ecologies, corresponding to different kinds of knowledge of personal problems, whose development was directed by protective and expansion strategies used by two coalitions of actors, holding different kinds of resources to influence the change process. The traditional coalition was embedded in the Belgian institutional system; it referred to medical knowledge of personal problems; and held many institutions delivering residential treatments. By contrast, the reformist coalition was connected to international professional and policy networks stimulating change in OECD-mental health systems; it referred to practical knowledge of social psychiatry and evidence produced by international organisations as the World Health Organisation; and it held non-profit associations delivering community treatments. Cross-regulations exerted through joint-participation of those coalitions in successive reforms caused rapid changes in the system’s structural configuration while hindering change in its social organisation. Thus, we suggested thinking of the issue of change in the system as consisting in setting conditions in which the reformist coalition might extensively use its resources in conducting a new reform starting in 2010. By relying on that assumption, I presented three case studies analysing the devising of that reform at the policy level and its implementing through local networks. Those case studies drew attention to the kinds of knowledge used by key actors and to the way in which they used it in joint-attempts to take the leadership of the reform. Three main findings resulted from those case studies. First, the designing of the policy guide framing the reform consisted in assembling different kinds of knowledge together, including policy learning achieved through past changes in the system and knowledge of alternative care models implemented in OECD-countries, in a way that encouraged sustained enactments of knowledge specific to the reformist coalition, while decreasing the relevance of resources specific to the traditional coalition. Second, local meetings caused by the implementing of the reform enabled adaptations of knowledge embodied by the participants, i.e. multiple actors representing different ecologies and members of one of the two coalitions, to enacted knowledge, i.e. knowledge collectively produced by thinking about concrete means to implement the reform locally. Third, enacted knowledge caused, in turn, adaptations of the care model inscribed in the policy guide to local particularities. Those adaptations did not prevent, however, the global philosophy of the new reform, inspired by social psychiatry, from pervading in local networks, among other by being inscribed in operational documents resulting from meetings. Thus, by following the policy guide through local networks where it was translated into concrete practices, I have been able to indicate new directions in the global process of change in the system, towards a complete paradigm shift, from medical to social psychiatry, and to highlight social and learning processes making it possible. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalyse des propriétés anti-tumorales des exosomes endothéliaux dans le cancer du sein suite au transfert du microARN miR-503
Bovy, Nicolas ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

L’angiogenèse est un processus essentiel au développement tumoral ainsi qu’à la dissémination des métastases. De plus, il a été démontré ces dernières années que les miARN, des ARN non codant d'une ... [more ▼]

L’angiogenèse est un processus essentiel au développement tumoral ainsi qu’à la dissémination des métastases. De plus, il a été démontré ces dernières années que les miARN, des ARN non codant d'une vingtaine de nucléotides régulant l’expression des gènes au niveau post-transcriptionnel, jouent un rôle important dans divers processus tumoraux. Ils ont en outre été détectés dans plusieurs fluides biologiques, protégés de la dégradation dans des microvésicules, les exosomes. Cependant, à l’heure actuelle, aucune information n’est connue sur le rôle des exosomes endothéliaux et des miARN qu’ils contiennent sur la croissance tumorale. Au cours de ce travail, nous avons pour la première fois mis en évidence l’existence d’un transfert de miARN des cellules endothéliales vers les cellules tumorales par l’intermédiaire d’exosomes. Nous avons ensuite identifié un miARN, miR-503, dont l’export dans ces microvésicules est modifié en conditions tumorales. L’analyse de la fonction du miARN dans les cellules tumorales de cancer du sein montre qu’il possède des propriétés anti-tumorales en réduisant la prolifération et l’invasion. Nous avons également observé que le miR-503 d’origine endothéliale génère les mêmes effets. Pour expliquer ces résultats, deux cibles du miARN ont été identifiées, CCND2 et CCND3. De plus, l’inhibition de ces dernières conduit au même phénotype qu’une surexpression de miR-503. Nous avons ensuite voulu déterminer si le niveau plasmatique de ce miARN était modulé chez des patientes atteintes de cancer du sein. Nos analyses révèlent une augmentation du niveau sanguin de miR-503 à la suite d’un traitement par chimiothérapie néoadjuvante. Nous avons de plus observé que des cellules endothéliales soumises aux mêmes agents chimiothérapeutiques sécrètent activement du miR-503 dans leurs exosomes. Il semble également que le changement phénotypique induit par miR-503 sur les cellules tumorales modifie leur production en facteurs angiogènes ce qui mène, en retour, à une inhibition de l’angiogenèse. Ces résultats montrent que miR-503 est un miARN anti-tumoral sécrété dans les exosomes de cellules endothéliales. Celui-ci provoque l’inhibition de la prolifération et de l’invasion de cellules tumorales du cancer du sein en ciblant CCND2 et CCND3. Ce processus pourrait être complémentaire des effets directs générés par la chimiothérapie sur la tumeur et favoriser la réponse de l’hôte dans le traitement de la maladie. [less ▲]

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See detailDispositifs de conservation écorégionale et droits indigènes dans l’Amazonie Bolivienne: Les cas des Peuples du Madidi et Pilón Lajas
Marquez Guerra, José Francisco ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The apparatus of conservation at the ecoregional scale integrating natural landscape and cultural landscapes in the Amazon basin has been introduced by international conservation NGOs since the beginning ... [more ▼]

The apparatus of conservation at the ecoregional scale integrating natural landscape and cultural landscapes in the Amazon basin has been introduced by international conservation NGOs since the beginning of the 90s when the term hotspot was invented to designate the importance of "mega-diversity "of tropical forests for the survival of humanity. The representation of environmental problems in the Amazon region as serious threats to life on the planet entered the political agenda of the international community becoming a matter of priority attention. To find solutions to this expanding threat, scientists, activists and interested parties have reflected on some formulas, innovative programs and strategies in order that cooperation and international aid could favor the action of effective conservation and sustainable development. The problem of resource degradation of biodiversity, and the loss of the values of cultural diversity of Amazonian peoples is since then conceived as a challenge that goes beyond national political interests, becoming a global issue. Bolivia was a breeding ground for these pioneering efforts, they have made a pragmatic view of international aid with new tools and effective techniques to combat emerging threats, one of them are financial mechanisms for conservation planning. These have entered the Bolivian legal system from the 80 which coincides with the modernization of the state, an ambitious development plan supported by the implementation of neoliberal measures to promote economic growth, administrative decentralization as a new form to exercise power by delegating powers to the departmental and municipal levels, popular participation, as legitimacy methodology, defining local actors and regional planning policy as a useful management of natural resources for sustainable development. International actors of conservation, a group of scientific elite and environmental activists in the country and leaders of local indigenous movements have played an important role before and after this neoliberal modernization in the implementation of an ecorregional conservation apparatus in the Bolivian Amazon. The objective of this transdisciplinaria research, is an ethnographic description, based on the theoretical and methodological repertoire of legal anthropology and sociology of ANT Translation, of how the practices and strategies of conservation at the ecoregional scale through its technical, financial and legal instruments configure the territories, affect social relations and transform representations and practices of the nature of Amazonian peoples Mosetene, Tsimane' Tacana, Quechua-Tacana and Leco. The traditional spaces of these peoples are in total or partially overlapping with the current Natural Park and Integrated Management Area Madidi and Biosphere Reserve and Indigenous Territory Pilón Lajas implemented as protected areas during the 90 In this context, challenges and current controversies looming over the planning and use of space at different scales between actors of the policies of sustainable development and conservation, local political elites and indigenous peoples. [less ▲]

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See detailUncoupled and coupled hydrogeophysical inversions of seawater intrusion and geothermal hydrologic models
Beaujean, Jean ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Most of humans live in coastal and alluvial plains. Sustainable water supply systems are essential for drinking water production while long-term groundwater access ensures its geothermal use. Owing to ... [more ▼]

Most of humans live in coastal and alluvial plains. Sustainable water supply systems are essential for drinking water production while long-term groundwater access ensures its geothermal use. Owing to climate change and anthropogenic activities, groundwater resources will be increasingly threatened throughout the twenty-first century. In the context of over-development, any effort to overcome groundwater mining at the expense of better understanding groundwater management problems may be misguided. A combination of robust measuring technologies and reliable predictions based on numerical models are necessary to estimate better hydrogeological parameters. Sparse and continuous data are increasingly being used conjunctively in hydrogeological modeling and inverse calibration to alleviate extrapolation and subjective interpretation. In hydrogeology, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) gives quantitative and qualitative information on salinity and temperature distribution. ERT offers a means for mapping the subsurface hydrogeological structures and the hydrologic process dynamics in both space and time. The integration of ERT data to hydrogeological calibration is particularly suited to define the hydrogeological models quantitatively and qualitatively. In a deterministic framework, hydrogeophysical inversion methods may be particularly useful for predictive analysis and assessment of groundwater pre-emptive management strategies. This work focuses on calibrating physically-based and spatially distributed groundwater flow and transport models with non-to minimally invasive electrical tomography. The general objective is to provide better estimates of hydrogeological parameters on two relevant problems: seawater intrusion in coastal areas and geothermal energy in shallow environments. We compare methods to integrate quantitatively ERT data, possibly other hydrologic or geological data, with existing information to hydrogeological models. Two hydrogeophysical inversion schemes are developped and a thorough comparison of an uncoupled and a coupled quantitative approach based on the use of surface ERT only is performed. The uncoupled hydrogeophysical inversion involves constraining hydraulic parameters using geophysically-derived data and first requires a geophysical inversion, after which the geophysical parameters are converted to hydrologic data through a petrophysical relationship. The inverse hydrological calibration is then performed on these inferred hydrological data. The coupled hydrogeophysical inversion involves constraining hydraulic parameters using geophysical data through a forward hydrogeophysical model in which the hydrologic data are converted to resistivities through a petrophysical relationship. A geophysical forward problem is then solved for the geophysical data. The inverse hydrological calibration is performed on the inferred geophysical observations. In both schemes, we show that an independent geophysical inversion is required to delineate heterogeneous bodies. In this context, we study how to derive informative content of ERT images and therefore ERTderived hydrologic data and ERT-derived geometry. We show that a quantitative appraisal (the cumulative sensitivity) must be used as a proxy for filtering areas correctly resolved. Our developments are demonstrated on several benchmark SWI models (numerical and analytical), a thermohydrologic model and a field test. We show that the reliability of estimated SWI model parameters with the uncoupled approach depends on ERT image appraisal, on geophysical data collection strategy and hydrogeological model conceptualization. The ERT image appraisal plays a key role in retrieving high quality ERT-derived data and helps discriminate different measurement arrays. It is particularly useful in preventing the integration of noise-related artefacts in the conceptualization. We endeavor to quantify the modeling error by a thorough comparison of different strategies to assess the effect of decreasing model conceptual errors to hydrogeological calibration. In the SWI analytical models, we highlight the subjectivity of the uncoupled approach due to the nature of the required hydrologic data (sharp interface). We demonstrate that the conjunctive use of an image appraisal tool with the well-known Ghyben-Herzberg solution is needed to infer reliable ERT-derived observation data. We further demonstrate that a SWI analytical solution may be used to calibrate an equivalent hydraulic parameter based on an ERT dataset generated from a density-dependent groundwater flow model. In the thermohydrologic model, we show that the effectiveness of the uncoupled scheme in calibrating heat transport parameters may be hampered due to the regularization constraint in the geophysical inversion. We demonstrate the importance of a noise level-related filter on the time-lapse ERT images aimed at properly quantifying the spatio-temporal ERTderived temperature changes. We also advocate the use of a physically-based constraint on the ERT-derived temperatures to account for spatial mixing of waters and to cope indirectly with the smoothing effect in the ERT images. In each application, the coupled approach significantly prevails over the uncoupled scheme in terms of reliability of the parameter estimates when no model conceptual error exists. [less ▲]

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See detailLa dynastie belge et la science, 1909-1959
Pirot, Pascal ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The project consists in investigating the role of the Belgian dynasty in scientific development since the beginning of the reign of king Albert I (1909), until the establishment of the National Council ... [more ▼]

The project consists in investigating the role of the Belgian dynasty in scientific development since the beginning of the reign of king Albert I (1909), until the establishment of the National Council for Science Policy (CNPS) in 1959, during king Baudouin's reign, following the publication of the work of the "National Commission on Science" which released its conclusions in the same year. The study deals with the action of the sovereign and the networks he formed with his entourage (the queen, the crown prince, the advisers of the court, some close relations of the king, the ministers in charge of scientific affairs) in the field of science, along various research themes; how these people saw the role of science in society; what influence they had in the development of science (institutions, initiatives, projects); what relationships existed between the dynasty and the scientific institutions; what the relationships between the dynasty and the Congo were in the realm of science. This perspective, which focuses on three Belgian sovereigns of the twentieth century, should make it possible to assess the development and progressive implementation of the "science policy". To date, no study has been specifically devoted to this topic. [less ▲]

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See detailLa simulation thermo-aéraulique du bâtiment : Validation et développement d’une approche couplée CFD-Multizone pour l’étude de la modélisation du phénomène de surchauffe estivale en Belgique
Barbason, Mathieu ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

For decades, growing interests in environmental and buildings energy performance concerns lead architects and building engineers to develop new skills and to get used to advanced simulation tools. Among ... [more ▼]

For decades, growing interests in environmental and buildings energy performance concerns lead architects and building engineers to develop new skills and to get used to advanced simulation tools. Among them, Multizone models and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models are increasingly used to solve problems of building physics. This Thesis reports the development of a new and optimized tool based on the coupling of these two tools and its application to a typical Belgian two-storey house. Indeed, separately, these two tools have significant advantages and disadvantages : • Multizone models are based on the hypothesis that the temperature is uniform in every simulated zone which implies that they are not suited for large spaces. However, in small spaces, Multizone models generate accurate results in a small amount of time. • CFD models are very accurate, independently of the size of the room or the type of physical phenomena encountered. However, it is also well known that CFD simulation are time and resources consuming. Consequently, it is not possible to use it for a long term study. This Thesis will first introduce these approaches and discuss their validity field. In order to do this, a validation process has been developed to assess the ability of CFD to model accurately physical phenomena at different study scales. This Thesis will then discuss the coupling scheme developed in this study, based on experimental results of a two-storey house in Belgium. Different coupling level will be studied in order to understand deeply needs of such approach. Eventually, it will be shown that coupling approach can drastically improve overheating prediction for buildings even for a long term simulation. Thanks to this new tool, building actors may design optimized cooling strategies while maximizing occupants comfort. [less ▲]

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See detailDroit du travail congolais face à l'usage des technologies de l'information et de la communication: la problématique de nouveaux défis
Mbungu Tsende, Lievin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

La thèse s’intéresse, d’une part, aux bouleversements entraînés par les technologies de l’information et de la communication dans le monde du travail congolais et, d’autre part, aux solutions qu’ils ... [more ▼]

La thèse s’intéresse, d’une part, aux bouleversements entraînés par les technologies de l’information et de la communication dans le monde du travail congolais et, d’autre part, aux solutions qu’ils appellent compte tenu du contexte socioculturel, économique, psychologique et technologique propre à la R.D.Congo. Il s’agit d’une étude qui tend non seulement à démontrer que le contexte actuel, marqué par l’emprise irréversible des TIC sur les relations de travail, remet partiellement en cause le cadre juridique et le modèle classique ou traditionnel congolais de réglementation des rapports entre employeur et travailleur, mais aussi à proposer, de lege ferenda, les aménagements susceptibles de remédier à cette situation. [less ▲]

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See detailDetection of past and future atmospheric circulation changes over the North Atlantic region with the help of an automatic circulation type classification
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Future projections of the atmospheric circulation over the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, especially the North Atlantic, have high uncertainties and some of the projected changes are opposed to ... [more ▼]

Future projections of the atmospheric circulation over the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, especially the North Atlantic, have high uncertainties and some of the projected changes are opposed to circulation changes that have been observed since the 2000s. In this thesis, we focus on three particular aspects of the past and projected future summertime atmospheric circulation over the broader North Atlantic region. First, we analyse whether the 2007-2012 summertime anticyclonic anomaly over the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland might rather be due to global warming or to the internal variability of the atmospheric circulation by putting it in perspective with the circulation variability over the last 150 years given by five reanalysis datasets. Then, this analysis is extended for the future circulation projected towards 2100 by CMIP3 and CMIP5 General Circulation Models (GCMs) over Greenland. Finally, we evaluate the impact of the uncertainties of the future atmospheric circulation projections on the mitigating or enhancing influence of the summertime circulation changes on temperature and precipitation over Europe. We use an automatic circulation type classification to analyse in detail the atmospheric circulation changes by grouping similar daily SLP (mean sea level pressure) or Z500 (500 hPa geopotential height) fields into homogeneous circulation types. It appears that the choice of the index, on the basis of which the days are grouped together, strongly influences the characteristics of the circulation types and the kinds of circulation changes that can be detected. In comparison with Euclidean distance and pressure gradient-based indices, correlation-based indices, especially the Spearman rank correlation, are the most suitable indices when focusing on the circulation pattern. Over the Arctic region, four periods with circulation anomalies similar to that of 2007-2012 (i.e. a summertime anticyclonic anomaly over the western Arctic region) have been detected over the last 150 years, despite a higher uncertainty of the circulation given by the reanalyses due to the scarcity of observational data before 1940. Nevertheless, the 2007-2012 anomaly appears to be exceptional and several connexions with other variables, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation index and sea ice loss, suggest that it could be part of a major climatic anomaly extending beyond the Arctic region. However, the occurrence of similar periods in the past and the influence of several external and internal forcings do not allow us to attribute it to global warming. The future summertime atmospheric circulation projected by GCMs over Greenland confirms this conclusion. In fact, no significant circulation pattern changes are simulated towards 2100, besides a generalised Z500 increase caused by the projected warming. Since GCMs are able to simulate atmospheric circulation changes over other regions and since the atmospheric circulation itself is influenced by other variables, such as sea ice or snow extent, which are already impacted by long-term changes, we conclude that the 2007-2012 anomaly could rather be attributed to the internal variability of the climatic system. Finally, we evidence that projected future atmospheric circulation changes impact on the SLP and precipitation changes simulated over Europe towards 2100 for summer. Over north-western Europe, these circulation changes could mitigate the SLP decrease by around 50 % and cancel out the precipitation increase. Nevertheless, high uncertainties among the GCMs on the magnitude and even on the sign of these changes cast doubt on the reliability of these projections. On the other hand, future atmospheric circulation changes are not projected to affect significantly the warming and drying simulated for the next decades over the Mediterranean region and eastern Europe. [less ▲]

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See detailLes plus anciens livres latins de poésie: étude codicologiue, paléographique et contextuelle des manuscrits datés du Ier siècle avant notre ère au VIe siècle.
Macedo, Gabriel ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Codicological, paleographic and contextual study of the 34 oldest manuscripts and fragments containing latin poetry.

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See detailFrom photons to biomass in green microalgae: fluorimetric and oxymetric studies on the regulation of photosynthetic electron transport
de Marchin, Thomas ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Analyzing the photosynthetic performances of microalgae has become an important topic in view of the ecological importance of these microorganisms and of the growing field of their biotechnological ... [more ▼]

Analyzing the photosynthetic performances of microalgae has become an important topic in view of the ecological importance of these microorganisms and of the growing field of their biotechnological applications. In this thesis, we developed methods which allow effective use of fluorescence and oxygen experimental signals for a more complete analysis of the functioning of the photosynthetic apparatus of green microalgae under different conditions. We applied these methods to analyze the adaptations of the photosynthetic apparatus under selected conditions, especially regarding CO2 supply. In the first part of this work, we applied a fluorescence-based method for determining the PSII antenna size based on the kinetics of the fast chlorophyll a fluorescence transient in presence of DCMU (or DCMU Fluorescence Rise). We then performed a detailed analysis of the different phases of this transient which are associated with different types of PSII formerly described as PSIIalpha and PSIIbeta (PSII heterogeneity). Our results on PSII heterogeneity during a transition from state 2 to state 1 in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii showed for the first time in vivo that this transition correlates with a conversion of PSIIbeta to PSIIalpha. We also discuss the possible relationships between PSIIalpha and PSIIbeta and the PSII mega-, super- and core- complexes described by biochemical studies. In photoautotophic atmospheric conditions, microalgae often have to deal with limited CO2 availability. The unicellular green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can adapt to low CO2 concentration with the inorganic carbon concentration mechanism (CCM). This has been extensively studied in the past. However, other functional adaptations of the photosynthetic apparatus to CO2 limitation have been much less studied. In the second part of this work, we used combined fluorescence-based electron transport and oxygen measurements to evaluate the responses to low and high CO2 in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii grown in photobioreactors at different light intensities. We developed a method to rationalize the relationship between the apparent quantum yields of oxygen evolution and of electron transport at PSII while taking into account the variations in the proportion of energy absorbed by PSII. We used this relationship as a tool to evidence a significant O2-dependent alternative electron transport in low CO2 acclimated cells. We showed that this alternative electron transport can represent up to 60% of the total electron transport in low CO2 cells even upon removal of the CO2 limitation by bicarbonate addition. In contrast, no significant alternative electron transport was detected in high CO2 cells. We suggest that the alternative electron transport to O2 observed in low CO2 cells represents an adaptation that could help to meet the higher ATP demand for the concentration of CO2 by the CCM. In contrast, in high CO2 conditions, the absence of the CCM would reduce the need for ATP and thus the need for electron transport to O2. Using mutants and inhibitors, we studied the involvement of known O2-dependent electron sinks such as the mitochondrial cytochrome and alternative oxidase pathways and also of chlororespiration in this light-dependent O2 uptake and we found no evidence for the involvement of any of these processes. The alternative electron transport was even higher in a mitochondrial mutant devoid of complexes I and III and we suggest that this alternative electron transport could compensate for the absence of mitochondrial ATP synthesis in this mutant. By elimination, our results suggest that the alternative electron transport to O2 evidenced here could be driven by a Mehler-type reaction although we did not find direct evidences for increased Mehler-type activity in low CO2 cells. Additionally from fluorescence measurements performed directly in the cultures, we concluded that low CO2 cells had a lowest PSII photosynthetic efficiency and developed strong qE NPQ. Our results indicate that Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is capable to induce an ample thermal dissipation of excitation energy and the extent of this process is influenced essentially by the CO2 availability. In contrast with results obtained in previous studies, low temperature fluorescence spectra showed that in high light, high CO2 cells were characterised by a higher proportion of light energy absorbed by PSI compared to low CO2 cells. This was accompanied by a decrease of PSII antenna size as shown by DCMU-FR measurements. These findings are discussed in relation with the conflicting theories concerning the role of state transitions in the regulation of the cyclic electron transport around PSI. Our results support the idea that CEF is regulated by the redox state of the chloroplast rather than by state transitions. Over the last decades, microalgae have been increasingly studied because of their potential applications in industry. Despite a growing interest in microalgae mass cultures, the majority of studies on microalgae have been carried out at a laboratory scale and only few studies have addressed the question of photosynthetic adaptations in mass cultures. It is well known that CO2 addition increases the growth rate of microalgae and for this reason, some mass microalgae cultures are CO2 supplemented. Among the studies on microalgae mass culture, as far as we know, none directly compared high CO2 (CO2 supplemented air) and low CO2 (air) conditions. In the last part of our work, two outdoor open thin-layer cascade systems operated as batch cultures with the alga Scenedesmus obliquus were used to compare the productivity and photosynthetic adaptations in control and CO2 supplemented cultures in relation with the outdoor light irradiance. We found that the culture productivity was limited by CO2 availability beyond a threshold of daily irradiance. In the CO2 supplemented culture, we obtained a productivity of up to 25 g dw.m-2.day-1 and found a photosynthetic efficiency of 2.6%. Fluorescence and oxygen evolution measurements showed that ETR and oxygen evolution light saturation curves, as well as alternative electron transport were similar in algal samples from both cultures when the CO2 limitation was removed. In contrast, we found that CO2 limitation conducted to a decreased PSII photochemical efficiency and an increased light-induced heat-dissipation in the control culture compared to the CO2 supplemented culture. These features may contribute to the lower productivity observed in absence of CO2 supplementation in outdoor mass cultures of Scenedesmus obliquus. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling the dynamics of European ecosystems from the early Holocene to the end of the 21st century with the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model
Dury, Marie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

With the current climate change as background, we worked with the dynamic vegetation model CARAIB (CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) to study the functioning and dynamics of European ecosystems under ... [more ▼]

With the current climate change as background, we worked with the dynamic vegetation model CARAIB (CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) to study the functioning and dynamics of European ecosystems under changing climatic conditions from the beginning of the Holocene to the end of the 21st century. Originally designed to study the role of vegetation in the global carbon cycle and to reconstruct steady state vegetation distributions under current, past and future climatic conditions, we adapt the CARAIB model to perform transient simulations in order to assess vegetation response to changing climate. For this, we improved the demographic processes represented in the model: the conditions for plant establishment, the response to stresses, the competition between species, the species migration, etc. This new version of the model is first described and its main outputs are evaluated using site-based observations, but primarily remote sensing products. The first study carried out with the new version of CARAIB assessed the response of European forest ecosystems to 21st century climate. The classification of the European vegetation in Bioclimatic Affinity Groups (BAGs, Laurent et al., 2008), based on species traits and climatic tolerances and requirements, as well as the fire module recently implemented were for the first time used in future transient projections. The model was first driven by the ARPEGE/Climate model to illustrate and analyse the potential impacts of climate change on forest productivity and distribution as well as fire intensity over Europe under forcing from different IPCC emission scenarios (B1, A1B and A2). The vegetation model projects for the future more frequent and severe droughts in southern Europe. In these areas, the model indicates that interannual variability of net primary productivity might strongly increase as well as wildfire frequency and intensity, which may have large impacts on vegetation density and distribution. In northern Europe and in the Alps, with reduced temperature variability and positive soil water anomalies, NPP variability tends to decrease. The potential CO2 fertilizing effect was studied assuming constant and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration in the vegetation model. To quantify the uncertainties in the climate projections and in their potential impacts on ecosystems, the vegetation model was also driven by three regional climate models (KNMI-RACMO2, DMI-HIRHAM5 and HC-HadRM3Q0 RCMs) from the European Union project ENSEMBLES. We continued further the analysis representing the European vegetation at the scale of individual species. A set of 99 species (47 herbs, 12 shrubs and 40 trees) have been prepared in such a way that each BAG of plants used in the first part of this work is represented by several of these species. This ensures to provide a full set of species with the major ecosystem functions represented. Like for the BAGs, the bioclimatic limits of the species were obtained by overlapping species distribution from the Atlas Florae Europaeae (AFE) with climatic data. Since the first study highlighted the importance of climatic variability on plant functioning, we used here a 30-yr time series (and not average climate as usually) to determine species establishment and survival conditions. The comparison between the modelled distributions obtained with new climatic thresholds and observed species distribution reveals that taking a longer climatic time series into account improves the predictions of species spatial pattern. Using this improved representation of current species requirements, we projected potential shifts in species distributions for the end of the century. We spatially evaluated the suitability for species establishment and stresses conditions as well as the disappearance and the potential appearance of species. 18% of tree species and 22% of herb and shrub species (respectively 30% and 64% if the CO2 fertilization effect on species is not taken into account) might experience a loss of 30% or more of their current distribution. Finally we combined different model outputs in an original index evaluating the risk of ecosystem disruption to assess the vulnerability of species and ecosystems to future climate change. The highest values of the index are found in southern Europe indicating that the amplitude of the expected ecosystem changes largely exceeds current interannual variability in this area. If climate is one of the main drivers of species dynamics, rapid climate changes as projected for the 21st century might prevent species to track suitable climatic conditions and fill their potential ranges impeded by dispersal capacity. To assess the actual response of vegetation to climate change, we introduced a species migration module in the dynamic vegetation model. Its calibration and evaluation have been performed on the Holocene period considered as an interesting homologue to current climate change, even if the change rate must have been lower. With the module, we studied the postglacial re-colonization of Europe by two tree species Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies. Using maximum potential migration rates (381 and 450 m yr-1 for beech and spruce) calculated by a species distribution model dealing with demographic and dispersal traits, we evaluated with the dynamic vegetation model the involvement of inter-specific competition but also of high climatic variability on species spatio-temporal dynamics. Considering these abiotic and biotic variables in the migration processes resulted in mean migration rates of 91 (± 38) and 131 (± 73) m yr-1 respectively for Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies. If the comparison with palaeorecords demonstrates the ability of such an approach to reasonably replicate the regional features of the species spatio- temporal progressions, the objective was not to reproduce accurately postglacial species history (still not well known and understood) but rather to determine the relative role of some environmental variables on the migration of the two species through different migration scenarii. It appeared that Holocene beech migration might have been strongly affected by interspecific competition while it is climatic conditions and their variability that might have conditioned the spruce migration. With the different scenarios, we showed that mono-causal explanations cannot however explain the observed timing and pattern at the European scale and we rather give preference to a combination of climate, dispersal and competitive factors, the potential role of anthropogenic disturbances being not studied here. [less ▲]

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See detailGreen strategies applied to the synthesis of polymer particles for protein delivery
Alaimo, David ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

With the recent progresses in biotechnology that enable the production of various peptides and proteins, there is a growing interest for their use as therapeutic agents. Indeed, since the introduction of ... [more ▼]

With the recent progresses in biotechnology that enable the production of various peptides and proteins, there is a growing interest for their use as therapeutic agents. Indeed, since the introduction of the first recombinant therapeutic protein, human insulin, 30 years ago, the interest for pharmaceutical proteins have increased remarkably for various therapeutic purposes. Nevertheless, several challenges still remain such as the preservation of the quite fragile complex protein structure of these proteins to warrant their therapeutic activity after storage and administration into the body. Protecting them against chemical/enzymatic degradation from the environment is a prerequisite to efficiency. To reach this goal and prolong/trigger the release of therapeutic proteins in the body, different carriers were developed and investigated. Among them, polymer nanogels and microcpasules appear as quite promising systems. The thesis focuses on the preparation of novel carriers for protein delivery while using “green” strategies. More precisely, protein carriers are produced by two approaches. The first one investigates the preparation of hydrophilic nanogels by free radical dispersion polymerization of hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) in supercritical carbon dioxide. The development of dedicated stabilizers efficient in this green medium is thus first considered particularly focussing on the study of the influence of the stabilizer architecture. Then, the optimized candidate is used for the size- controlled nanogels preparation. A strategy allowing the removal of the hydrophobic component of the stabilizer is then investigated based on the synthesis of a photocleavable copolymer. The performances of these as-obtained novel nanogels to load and release proteins is then investigated. In a second approach, the synthesis of protein-loaded microcapsules offering a tunable permeability in response to the external glucose concentration is investigated. For that purpose, the layer-by-layer assembly of dedicated copolymer polyelectrolytes including glucose-sensitive diol/boronic acid bonds was performed on the surface of protein-loaded calcium carbonate particles. After dissolution of the calcium salt, microcapsules able to tune the release of the encapsulated protein in response to glucose concentration are obtained. [less ▲]

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See detailEpidemiology of brucellosis in humans and domestic ruminants in Bangladesh
Rahman, Anisur ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Background Brucellosis is an ancient and one of the world’s most widespread zoonotic diseases affecting both, public health and animal production. It is endemic in many developing countries of Asia ... [more ▼]

Background Brucellosis is an ancient and one of the world’s most widespread zoonotic diseases affecting both, public health and animal production. It is endemic in many developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America including Bangladesh. Since the first report in 1970, a lot of brucellosis seroprevalence reports are available in cattle, goats, sheep and humans in Bangladesh. Most of the previously reported prevalence studies were based on non-random samples, which may not give a true representation of the status of the disease in respective populations. Some authors also investigated the risk factors in cattle. The tests used for the diagnosis of brucellosis in domestic ruminants and humans are imperfect and their performance was not evaluated in Bangladesh. The true prevalence of brucellosis in domestic ruminants is not known and is essential for analyzing the impact of this disease in domestic ruminants in Bangladesh. Indeed, when diagnostic tests are used without evaluating their performance in a context usually generate unreliable results, which in turn may lead to wrong epidemiological inferences. In addition, information on risk factors of brucellosis in humans and animals is also scarce. Moreover, the different species of Brucella prevalent in animals is scarce and not known in humans in Bangladesh. The overall objective of this thesis was to investigate the epidemiology of brucellosis in humans and domestic ruminants in Bangladesh in terms of the evaluation of commonly used diagnostic tests, estimation of true prevalence, identification of risk factors and detection of Brucella species in order to provide information that will guide the selection of appropriate control strategies. Study design and data analysis Sampling To collect random samples of animals a system of map digitization and selection of one geographical point from selected unions (Sub-Upazilla) using a hand held GPS machine was used. Blood (milk also where applicable) samples were then collected from livestock farmers and their animals within 0.5 km of the selected points. A convenient blood sample of butchers, dairy hands and veterinary practitioners were collected from Dhaka and Mymensingh districts. The sera of pyretic humans were collected from Mymensingh Medical College hospital randomly once in a week. Random milk samples were collected from Sirajgonj and Chittagong districts. Systematic random milk and blood samples of cattle including breeding bulls (semen also) of central cattle breeding and dairy farm (CCBDF) were also collected. Milk and blood samples of gayals of a herd in regional Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute at Naikhonchari, Bandarban were also collected. Convenient samples of placenta and vaginal swabs were also collected from Mymensingh district. Data collection and Analysis Data on serology was generated by using Rose Bengal test (RBT), Slow Agglutination test (SAT) /Standard tube agglutination test (STAT) (animals/humans) and indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA). Animal, their herd level data and human data on potential risk factors were collected using a pretested questionnaire. The data was stored in Microsoft Excels worksheets and transferred to respective software for analysis. To estimate true prevalence and evaluate three conditionally dependent serological tests, Bayesian latent class models were used. Random effect and Firth’s logistic regression analyses were used to determine the risk factors of human brucellosis. The STATA, R and OpenBUGS softwares were used for data analyses. Staining, culture, genus and species-specific real time PCR assays were applied to isolate and to detect Brucella Spp./DNA in seropositive human sera and animal samples. Main results: Only 0.29% (95% CI: 0.06-0.86) cattle were acutely infected whereas 0.49% (95% CI: 0.16- 8 1.1) were chronically infected with brucellosis in Mymensingh. On the other hand, in CCBDF 15.58% (95% CI:11.89-19.89) cattle were acutely infected with brucellosis and only 3.2%(95%CI: 1.63-5.72) were chronically infected. The true prevalence of brucellosis among cattle in Mymensingh and CCBDF were 0.3% (95%CI: 0.03-0.7) and 20.5% (95% CI: 16.4-26.3) respectively. The performance of iELISA was best in both Mymensingh and CCBDF with the sensitivity of 90.5% and 91.3% and specificity of 99.3% and 99.2% respectively. The performance of RBT was better in Mymensingh than CCBDF with 81.0% and 76.1% sensitivity and 99.0% and 95.6% specificity respectively. Similar to RBT, the performance of SAT was also better in Mymensingh than CCBDF with 63.5% and 79.7% sensitivity and 98.6% and 95.3% specificity respectively. Through this test validation study, a new cut-off of 5 IU/ml for iELISA was recommended both in low (as at Mymensingh) and high prevalence scenarios in cattle populations (as at CCBDF) for routine screening. It was recommended to do nothing for the control of bovine brucellosis under small-scale dairy and subsistence management systems in Bangladesh. However, vaccination should be applied in herds where the prevalence is very high as like CCBDF. The true prevalence of brucellosis in goats and sheep were estimated as 1% (95% CI): 0.7–1.8) and 1.2% (95% CI: 0.6–2.2) respectively. The sensitivity of iELISA was 92.9% in goats and 92.0% in sheep with corresponding specificities of 96.5% and 99.5% respectively. The sensitivity and specificity estimates of RBT were 80.2% and 99.6% in goats and 82.8% and 98.3% in sheep. The sensitivity and specificity of SAT were 57.1% and 99.3% in goats and 72.0% and 98.6% in sheep. The prevalence of brucellosis in occupationally exposed people (HROG) using three tests was observed to be 4.4% based on a parallel interpretation. The results of the multiple random effects logistic regression analysis with random intercept for district revealed that the odds of brucellosis seropositivity among individuals who had been in contact with livestock for more than 26 years was about 14 times higher as compared to those who had less than 5 years of contact with livestock. In addition, when the contact was with goats, the odds of brucellosis seropositivity were about 60 times higher as compared to when contact was with cattle only. The seroprevalence of brucellosis among patients with pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO) was estimated to be 2.7% (95% CI: 1.2-5.2). The age, residence, type of patient, contact with animals, type of animal handled, arthralgia and backache were found to be significantly associated with a positive serological result in bivariable Firth’s logistic regression. Brucella abortus was detected from seropositive pyretic patients. Conclusion: The true exposure prevalence of brucellosis in cattle under small-scale dairy and subsistence/backyard management systems is very low (0.3%; 95% CI: 0.03-0.7). The active/acute infection is also very low (0.29%: 95% CI: 0.06-0.86) and similar to true exposure prevalence. The brucellosis in cattle under such management system is naturally controlled and further control program is not recommended considering the poor socioeconomic conditions. The true exposure prevalence of brucellosis in CCBDF is very high (20.5%; 95% CI: 16.4-26.3). The acute infection in this farm is also very high (15.58%; 95% CI: 11.89-19.89). Immediate control measures by initiating calf hood (female calf) vaccination are recommended to protect a valuable herd which also provides frozen semen for artificial insemination all over the country. The SAT and iELISA may simultaneously be applied to know the stage of brucellosis infection in domestic ruminants in high prevalence scenarios. The true exposure prevalence of brucellosis in goats and sheep are also low and around 1%. Due to lower positive predictive value, these test results should be interpreted with caution to avoid misleading information. Breeding bulls used for artificial insemination all over the country were found to be infected with brucellosis. Brucellosis is not a serious problem for the general population in Bangladesh as drinking raw milk and milk products is unusual and not a risk factor. The apparent prevalence of brucellosis in high risk occupationally exposed people (4.4%; 95% CI: 2.8-6.6) and in pyretic patients (2.7%; 95% CI: 1.2-5.2) are also low. The RBT may be applied as a screening test in humans having signs and symptoms of brucellosis along with the history of animal contact. In case of suspicion, genus or species specific rt PCR may be applied for confirmation. Only B. abortus DNA was amplified from 19 seropositive human samples (both HROG and PUO) and six animal samples (3 cows milk, one goat milk, one gayal milk and one bull semen). No Brucella like organism was observed under microscope in stained smears. Similarly, no Brucella organism was isolated from any of the clinical samples. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude sur la sexualité en milieu carcéral belge: De l'enfermement de la sexualité à la liberté d'adaptation des comportements sexuels.
Francois, Axelle ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

En Belgique, la question de la sexualité des personnes incarcérées a rarement fait l’objet de recherches de la part des chercheurs en sciences humaines, particulièrement des criminologues. A partir ... [more ▼]

En Belgique, la question de la sexualité des personnes incarcérées a rarement fait l’objet de recherches de la part des chercheurs en sciences humaines, particulièrement des criminologues. A partir d’informations obtenues auprès de 530 hommes incarcérés au sein de dix établissements pénitentiaires belges francophones, nous avons réalisé une étude de la sexualité en milieu carcéral perçue et vécue par les personnes détenues. S’appuyant ainsi sur le modèle de la privation tel que développé par Sykes (1958), notre recherche se fonde sur l’hypothèse principale suivante : « la privation de relations hétérosexuelles en prison engendre chez le détenu un sentiment de frustration et en réponse à ce sentiment, l’individu incarcéré cherche à s’adapter. Cette adaptation suit différentes trajectoires allant de pratiques sexuelles plus solitaires à des pratiques sexuelles de substitution impliquant un rapport à l’autre. Elle porte également sur les discours et les comportements des personnes dans un contexte carcéral particulier et est influencée non seulement par leurs perceptions mais aussi par leur vécu ». Considérant cette hypothèse générale, notre étude entendait ainsi dresser un portrait actualisé de la sexualité incarcérée qui dépasse les apparences et les discours officiels. Grâce à la mise en œuvre d’une méthodologie d’analyse quantitative, six objectifs plus spécifiques ont été investigués. Pour étudier les représentations et le vécu de la sexualité en milieu carcéral de notre échantillon, nous nous sommes d’abord appuyée sur les apports théoriques et scientifiques de la littérature spécifique. Ensuite, au moyen de traitements statistiques appliqués à notre base de données, nous avons cherché pour chaque axe des corrélations entre d’une part, les variables relatives aux représentations et vécus sexuels des détenus et d’autre part, des variables caractéristiques comme par exemple l’âge, la durée d’incarcération, l’existence d’un partenaire affectif extérieur, le bénéfice de visites en prison et la participation aux activités en détention,…. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact de la dynamique foncière dans la lutte contre l’insécurité foncière et la pauvreté des femmes dans la région de Tahoua au Niger
Moussa dit Kalamou, Mahamadou ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

In Niger Republic land issue is a concern to all parties acting in the rural area. The drought cycles of the last decades and the rapid increase of the population that doubles every ten years are ... [more ▼]

In Niger Republic land issue is a concern to all parties acting in the rural area. The drought cycles of the last decades and the rapid increase of the population that doubles every ten years are determinant factors of degradation of the agricultural land of culture with as consequence the land and food insecurity of the households in particular in the region of Tahoua. Despite efforts by the government and its partners through the village land management programs and natural regeneration, land access difficulties persist particularly for women households. The objective being to assess and analyze the impact of land dynamics induced by the recovery of land in order to find some solutions to the problems of land insecurity and access and control of natural resources by households, a survey was conducted in two phases. The first in 2010 for a sample of 420 households in twenty villages selected through a stratified sampling. The second in 2012 for a sample of 84 households with 42 female heads of household from the first sample being associated with a group of 42 male heads of households for a specific gender analysis. It appears from this study that men households have an average land area about twice as large as that of female households .It was also found that the land is usually concentrated in the hands of older householders over 60 years. It is noticed that the inheritance is also one of the most dominant modes of access to land. The fragmentation and the expansion of croplands favor the emergence of fields beyond the northern boundary of crops dedicated to breeding. Finally, the last three years, agricultural production has generally fallen. The results of the analysis also show that unlike men, women household heads have less inputs, on the one hand, and little income, on the other hand. These female households derive their main income from the sale of animal products. This proves that women are the poorest households with limited access to natural resources. To fight against tenure insecurity and poverty of households recommendations and perspectives have been identified for the establishment of good governance of land resources, intensification of anti-erosion works by households with substantial resources and initiation of other additional research for sustainable development of the region. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution à l’étude de la dynamique de l’élevage pastoral au Niger : cas de la région de Diffa
Laouali, Abdoulkadri ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

In the Sahelian countries where extensive pastoral breeding is practiced, livestock plays an essential role in the socio-economic and dietary balance of the households. However, throughout the literature ... [more ▼]

In the Sahelian countries where extensive pastoral breeding is practiced, livestock plays an essential role in the socio-economic and dietary balance of the households. However, throughout the literature, this activity was submitted to various controversies including its contribution to the degradation of the environment; greenhouse gas emissions; its weak economic performance; etc. But other studies have noted the importance and efficiency of pastoral practice in a precarious natural environment such as the Republic of Niger, great stockbreeding country in the heart of the Sahel, with a herd of over 37 million heads. Thus, this research has tried to reposition the debate by emphasizing the role and importance of pastoral breeding in the Sahelian countries in general, particularly in Niger and specifically in the region of Diffa. Located between the desert zone in the North and the Sahelian zone in the South, the Region of Diffa is a pastoral area par excellence in Niger. Breeding, with a highly diversified livestock, is the dominant economic activity in the region. It concerns 95% of the population and contributes annually to 55% of the regional gross domestic product. However, this activity is submitted to various constraints, particularly biophysical and anthropogenic. In order to understand the pastoral dynamics in this region, a research work was initiated starting in 2010 and following a systemic approach. The work was built around three poles: Man-Natural Resources-Animals. A survey of 300 households (150 households with a sedentary herd and 150 with a mobile herd) was conducted during the first semester of 2012. Investigations were made on the basis of the prior identification of three agro-ecological zones (pastoral bowls, Komadougou River, Lake Chad) based on 100 households for each zone. The research results revealed that pastoral breeding in the region of Diffa is mutating. Herds (sedentary and mobile) are relatively small sized and increasingly composed in majority by small ruminants. The reproduction is carried out by a core of female spawners more or less stable and dominated by younger ones. Data cross analysis highlights the occurrence of recurrent fodder deficits, attributable to a series of annual rainfall deficits as well as animal diseases as the main causes of changing pastoral breeding in the region of Diffa. To deal with these problems the pastoral and agro-pastoral populations have built and developed a set of adaptive strategies to resist shocks and to mitigate their effects and to ensure the survival of households and livestock. However, over the years and the recurrence of shocks, traditional strategies for managing risks and uncertainties are being weakened with socio-economic consequences in pastoral and agro-pastoral households. An Intervention of the State, NGOs and / or associations and other development partners, would boost these strategies and strengthen the capacity of households to manage risk in the long term. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantifying landscape anthropisation patterns: concepts, methods and limits
Vranken, Isabelle ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Since human beings began to use and shape the land, their influence on their environment has kept on growing so that little or no ecosystem in the world is now considered as untouched. This induces ... [more ▼]

Since human beings began to use and shape the land, their influence on their environment has kept on growing so that little or no ecosystem in the world is now considered as untouched. This induces pressures on ecosystem health and land scarcity. Africa is of particular concern because it still presents broad undisturbed zones and key ecosystem services, despite being submitted to increasing anthropogenic pressures. Landscape ecology appears suitable for the study of such phenomena, thanks to its spacebased integrative nature and geographical level of focus. It studies the impact of spatial pattern transformation — especially heterogeneity and its components — on ecological processes and provides powerful analytical tools of landscape anthropisation. The main objective of this thesis is to organise the concepts and methods, from landscape ecology and related disciplines, into a consistent logic, to pinpoint missing analytical frameworks for response-oriented anthropisation assessment, and to apply them to African cases to explore the spatial patterns of anthropisation. In order to address landscape anthropisation, we assemble diverse disciplines into a logical network (DPSIR). The new theoretical framework is tested on Lubumbashi (DRC). In order to address spatial patterns, we first evaluate the thermodynamic connection of the term entropy in landscape ecology: spatial heterogeneity, unpredictability and scale influence. Then, based on 20 landscapes, we highlight the complex relationship between spatial heterogeneity and landscape anthropisation. We finally use the modelled relationships to test the anthropogenic origin of the spatial pattern of a land cover class in Lubumbashi. The main results of this research show that several concepts are used to describe different aspects of anthropisation and that its quantification strongly depends on the reference states. Data formats can be combined into a new assessment method ensuring more precision and comparability, but a good field knowledge is required. As for heterogeneity, the existing definitions of landscape entropy follow the logic of thermodynamics or information theory, that are not compatible. Only unpredictability could be properly interpreted in thermodynamic terms if energy transfer measurements were performed at the appropriate level. The anthropogenic effects on heterogeneity completely diverge depending on the amount of already anthropised surface, on the land cover type (natural or anthropogenic), and on the heterogeneity components. The aforementioned findings could be adapted to include functional aspects and better address the relationship between spatial pattern and ecological processes. Such integration would help designing response actions that can recommend human activities and spatial patterns that could optimise the use of land to ensure ecological functioning while supporting human development. [less ▲]

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See detailFermentation du kivuguto, lait traditionnel du Rwanda: mise au point d’un starter lactique
Karenzi, Eugène ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Résumé Une recherche pour la production industrielle du kivuguto, lait caillé traditionnel du Rwanda a été entreprise par la sélection de micro-organismes responsables de la fermentation de ce lait ... [more ▼]

Résumé Une recherche pour la production industrielle du kivuguto, lait caillé traditionnel du Rwanda a été entreprise par la sélection de micro-organismes responsables de la fermentation de ce lait normalement produit artisanalement. Pour ce faire, il fallait une mise au point d’un starter lactique à partir des isolats issus des échantillons de lait artisanal kivuguto. Au terme de quatre échantillonnages, un dénombrement, un isolement et une purification ont abouti à conserver dans la Collection du CWBI 390 souches pures. Par des analyses phénotypiques (microscopiques, biochimiques), associées à des tests de résistance aux conditions extrêmes et à une analyse préliminaire des propriétés technologiques, 7 souches ont été pré-sélectionnées pour la poursuite du screening. Une caractérisation moléculaire par la méthode de 16S ADNr associé ou non à l’ITS 16S-23S ADNr a assimilé ces souches à deux Lactococcus lactis, deux Leuconostoc mesenteroides et trois Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides. Des essais de formulation de laits fermentés par des mélanges de souches et leur conservation pendant 24 jours ont permis de formuler un lait fermenté semblable au lait artisanal kivuguto par l’association d’un Lactococcus lactis, d’un Leuconostoc mesenteroides et d’un Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides. En effet, lors d’une analyse sensorielle discriminative, un jury de dégustation constitué de huit personnes est parvenu à identifier ce lait formulé parmi deux autres laits fermentés commercialisés aussi sur le marché à des différences significatives de p=0.05 dans une première série et p=0.01 dans une deuxième série. Des analyses technologiques proprement dites ont montré que ce lait formulé fermente après 14 heures avec une acidification de 73°D à pH4.6 et à 19°C, présente des caractéristiques d’un fluide visco-élastique. Son activité protéolytique est moyenne pour ne pas développer des peptides responsables de l’amertume en stockage. Son profil aromatique comporte cinq composés principaux 3-méthylbutan-1-ol, pentan-1-ol, acide acétique, furanméthan-2-ol et furan-2(5)H-one clairement identifiés par GC-MS. L’étude de la production et de la conservation de trois souches sélectionnées a montré une bonne stabilité sur trois mois à 4°C avec des viabilités cellulaires >90%, mais moins bonne à 20°C. [less ▲]

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See detailEntre national et local: Louis Jacquinot, archétype du notable modéré
Bour, Julie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Louis Jacquinot was born in Gondrecourt-le-Château, a common South Meuse in 1898 and died in 1993 in Paris. It remains an unknown figure in the political history. However, it exercises governmental ... [more ▼]

Louis Jacquinot was born in Gondrecourt-le-Château, a common South Meuse in 1898 and died in 1993 in Paris. It remains an unknown figure in the political history. However, it exercises governmental functions under the Third Republic and became a minister under the Fourth and the Fifth Republic. In total, Louis Jacquinot is minister almost twenty times, including Minister of Marine (1943-1945 and 1947), Veterans Affairs (1949-1951), or Overseas (from 1951 to 1954 and 1961 1966). In parallel, the local quarry is important: MP for Meuse from 1932 to 1973, conseiller général and président du Conseil général de la Meuse from 1945 to 1973. The career of this moderate is placed under the sign of longevity. This thesis traces his life, his career and his local and national career. But this biography is devoted to the study and analysis of the recommendation of the elected job. Indeed, the Meuse MP archives contain 17 000 letters of recommendations that support this work. A general analysis of the practice in the department for nearly a century is realized through other sources of archival Meuse elected, including its predecessors (Raymond Poincaré, Jules Develle, André Maginot) and his successors (Jean Bernard). [less ▲]

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See detailVolatile Organic Chemicals in the Rhizosphere of Barley, and their Role on the Foraging Behavior of Wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae)
Barsics, Fanny ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Many species of wireworms, the larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are known as worldwide belowground pests of a large range of crops including cereals. Pesticide based agricultural ... [more ▼]

Many species of wireworms, the larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are known as worldwide belowground pests of a large range of crops including cereals. Pesticide based agricultural practices seem to have allowed significant population reduction in the past, but there is an increasing need for alternative control methods. In the first Chapter of this work, we review the current knowledge concerning 1) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of wireworms and 2) their chemical ecology. These reviews shed light on promising approaches to develop new management strategies, as well as gaps of knowledge to be filled in that purpose. One of them is investigated here. The research aim of this PhD thesis (detailed in Chapter II) is the identification of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) released by the roots and used by wireworms to locate their food source. To achieve this goal, we defined three objectives: 1) developing a behavioral assay suitable for the study of wireworm orientation behavior under exposure to root-produced VOC; 2) profiling VOC released in the rhizosphere, according to different growth conditions; and 3) evaluating the role of the identified VOC on wireworm foraging behavior. Our experimental model involved Agriotes sordidus Illiger wireworms and Hordeum distichon L. (spring barley). In Chapter III, we report on the developmental steps of an adequate olfactometric method for wireworms. This includes an initial setup, the “Y-shaped” olfactometer, and dual-choice pipes gathering the necessary upgrades to efficiently observe the behavior of wireworms exposed to a VOC source. By resorting to live roots in a variety of features, we attempted to highlight appropriate abiotic and biotic experimental parameters, as well as the limits to the use of our olfactometric devices. The bioassays confirmed the attraction of wireworms towards VOC emitted by live roots. With a first sampling method on excised roots, Solid – Phase Micro – Extraction (SPME – semi-quantitative), coupled to Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), we detected a high number of molecules that might act as semiochemicals on wireworms, notably in our bioassays. In the fourth Chapter, the bioassays were performed with selected VOC, detected during the chemical profiling. Firstly, we assessed if wireworms were attracted towards 2 pentylfuran, the main VOC highlighted with SPME. The molecule was submitted to the larvae by encapsulation in alginate beads. An adequate formulation allowed reaching an emission rate matching quantification estimates. In the aim to improve the VOC profiling, we also used Dynamic Head-Space Sampling (DHS), on roots ground in liquid nitrogen. It highlighted four volatile aldehydes. Their biological activity on wireworms was evaluated thanks to glass wool/triacetin-based dispensers, inserted in the dual-choice pipes. Through this work, we show that VOC produced by barley roots carry information useable by foraging wireworms. The two sampling methods indicate two different modalities of root-VOC production and are encouraging for further understanding of belowground VOC production and emission. The developed olfactometric method and related results open new perspectives to increase knowledge on wireworm ecology. Combined to other developments in research on their management, they could lead to interesting, innovative and ecological management practices. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of Hyphenated Methods for the Comprehensive Analysis of Complex Biological Samples
Brasseur, Catherine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The successful analysis of complex mixtures requires the combination of highly efficient separation techniques with advanced detection technologies to provide individual structural information. The ... [more ▼]

The successful analysis of complex mixtures requires the combination of highly efficient separation techniques with advanced detection technologies to provide individual structural information. The coupling of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry was one of the first steps in hyphenated method development. Nowadays, due to continuous hardware improvement, the term hyphenation has been extended to multidimensional separations and/or multiple detectors. The objective of the thesis is to develop hyphenated methods to extend the range of applications and propose solutions to improve the characterization of specifically selected complex samples. The main hyphenated technique that was used is comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). Three thematic areas, presenting different levels and types of complexity were investigated: Forensic geotaphonomy with grave soil samples, lignocellulose biomass valorization with termite gut microbiota samples, and human monitoring for emerging organohalogen contaminants with blood samples. Data processing strategies were also developed in order to extract the relevant information from the large quantities of data produced. The different strategies included retention time alignment, comparative data processing, multivariate analysis using unsupervised learning algorithm such as principal component analysis (PCA), univariate analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA), and scripting for automated filtering of mass spectra. All developed methods allowed to successfully improve the characterization of samples originating from the different areas. For the first time, and because of the high level of specificity of GC×GC-TOFMS, the presence of methyl-branched alkane compounds was highlighted in grave soil samples, allowing to develop a screening method that has the capacity to differentiate between soils at proximity of buried decaying pig carcasses and control soils. This strategy could complement other approaches and contribute to aid forensic geotaphonomy investigators. In the biomass valorization area, more than 300 compounds were isolated and partly identified in the 1µL fluid volume available from the termite gut. A comparative study demonstrated that the adaptation of the termite system to non-optimal carbon sources is reflected in the metabolite profile. These results demonstrated the potential interest to investigate metabolite profiling with state-of-the-art separation science tools, to contribute to a better understanding of how termites efficiently degrades lignocellulose. In the human monitoring area, the analysis of serum samples using GC×GC-TOFMS and scripting allowed the efficient reduction of the data matrix from thousands of detected signals to a few important dozens, including the environmental contaminants of interest present in human blood plasma. Such an approach reduced data processing and reviewing time by several orders of magnitude while maintaining a high degree of identification power. This exploratory approach could result in the identification of emerging toxicants and help regulation bodies to gather better information before they rule on emerging issues. GC with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) was also used, using a selective approach to evaluate human exposure to dechloranes, a family of emerging halogenated flame retardants recently reported as significantly present in the environment. A comprehensive approach was also developed using GC×GC coupled to high resolution TOFMS (HRTOFMS). The developed methodology will facilitate the monitoring of these emerging dechlorane contaminants and analogues in future exploratory studies. [less ▲]

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See detailImaging the mechanisms involved in abdominal aortic aneurysms rupture; a step towards patient-specific risk assessment
NCHIMI LONGANG, Alain ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Introduction The general context of this dissertation is to evaluate patient-specifi c approaches to the risk of rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), using imaging techniques with ability to assess ... [more ▼]

Introduction The general context of this dissertation is to evaluate patient-specifi c approaches to the risk of rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), using imaging techniques with ability to assess biological processes. Following a thorough description of available imaging techniques, our work is divided in two main research objectives, namely: (i) to provide greater clinical value to existing but unproven imaging concepts, and (ii) to suggest new concepts for improved AAA risk of rupture assessment. Methods The fi rst research objective evaluated how far imaging biological activities using 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and modeling wall stress using fi nite element simulations (FES) may help clinical decisionmaking in patients with AAA, and what would be their incremental value as compared to diameter-based patient management algorithms. On a patient basis, clinical outcomes were evaluated with regard to FDG PET and FES signaling. Further, the concept of AAA risk-equivalent diameter using FES was described and retrospectively validated using data from large multicenter trials. The second research objective included the assessment of the biological activities of the intraluminal thrombus (ILT) and the demonstration of its deleterious role in AAA using multimodality imaging. A special emphasis was put on the ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor the biological activities of ILT without exogenous contrast, by evaluating its iron content. Results Increased FDG uptake was a diameter-independent marker of AAA-related events over 2 years. Missing dichotomy prevented such a fi nding for increased wall stress, although its correlation with increased FDG uptake indicates a potentially comparable value in terms of risk management. Wall metabolism is infl uenced by patient-specifi c susceptibility factors, indicating hereditary or acquired alteration of the biological responses to wall stress. The concept of risk-equivalent diameters on FES links biomechanical estimates to basic conclusions drawn from large diameter-based clinical AAA trials. Our retrospective and diameter-adjusted validation analysis verifi ed that biomechanical risk indicators are higher in ruptured than non-ruptured AAAs. Part of the FDG uptake is associated with biological activity along the luminal surface of the ILT, where we experimentally demonstrated phagocytosis of superparamagnetic iron oxide on MRI , both ex vivo and in vivo. This phagocytosis is correlated with the abundance of leukocytes and proteolytic activity. In addition, unenhanced MRI appearances resulting from the endogenous iron distribution within ILT also relate to these biological activities. Lastly, multimodality imaging was used to confi rm the concept of the deleterious role of the ILT in AAA growth in a model of AAA by infusion of elastase in the rat. Conclusion MRI and FDG PET are capable of evidencing and quantifying in vivo some of the notoriously deleterious biological processes taking place in the aneurysmal sac, especially related to the entrapped phagocytes and red blood cells in ILT and the periadventitial infl ammatory response. The central role played by ILT and its biological activities was demonstrated in vivo using several imaging techniques. The clinical value of imaging these biological activities is epitomized by a diameterindependent 2-year increased risk of event in AAA with increased wall metabolism. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la reconstitution immunitaire après greffe de cellules souches hématopoïétiques : focus sur la fonction thymique et les lymphocytes T régulateurs
HANNON, Muriel ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

L’allogre e de cellules souches hématopoïétiques, après conditionnement myéloalbatif ou non, est devenue une option de choix dans le traitement des maladies hématologiques malignes ou génétiques ... [more ▼]

L’allogre e de cellules souches hématopoïétiques, après conditionnement myéloalbatif ou non, est devenue une option de choix dans le traitement des maladies hématologiques malignes ou génétiques. Malheureusement le succès de ce traitement se trouve trop souvent entaché par des complications majeures telles que les infections ou la maladie du greffon contre l’hôte (GVHD), dans laquelle les cellules du donneur attaquent l’organisme du receveur. La reconstitution d’un système immunitaire fonctionnel, notamment via le thymus, est une étape clef dans la résolution de ces deux complications et l’utilisation de lymphocytes T régulateurs semble très prometteuse dans la lutte contre la GVHD. Le présent travail vise donc à étudier la reconstitution du système immunitaire après allogreffe sous trois angles différents, en nous focalisant sur la fonction thymique et l’influence des lymphocytes T régulateurs (Treg). Dans la première partie, nous évaluons la reconstitution immunitaire à long terme après greffe non-myéloablative et montrons que la néo-génération de lymphocytes T par le thymus s’effectue à partir du jour 100 chez les patients de moins de 60 ans alors qu’au delà de cet âge, elle est quasiment absente. Nous établissons également que la GVHD chronique (cGVHD) sévère possède des effets extrêmement délétères sur le thymus. Étant donné l’impact de la cGVHD sur le thymus et la reconstitution immunitaire, nous avons voulu comparer l’impact, sur ces deux paramètres, d’un conditionnement nonmyéloalbatif censé réduire la GVHD et composé d’une irradiation lymphoïde totale et d’anticorps anti-thymocytes (TLI-ATG) par rapport au conditionnement classique consistant en une irradiation corporelle totale associée à de la fludarabine (TBI-Flu). Il ressort de cette étude que, bien que réduisant de manière significative l’incidence de cGVHD, le conditionnement TLI-ATG altère fortement la reconstitution du système immunitaire et impacte négativement le taux de rechute/progression chez les patients traités. Enfin, toujours dans le but de réduire le taux de GVHD post-greffe, nous avons choisi d’examiner l’impact des Treg comme traitement de la xGVHD. Dans ce but, nous montrons qu’une sélection de Treg humains, sur CliniMACS par déplétion CD8/19 et sélection CD25, fournit une population de cellules enrichies en Treg capable de retarder de manière statistiquement significative l’apparition d’une GVHD xénogénique induite par injection de PBMC humains (autologues aux Treg) dans un modèle pré-clinique chez la souris NSG. De plus, lorsque injectée sans les PBMC, cette population enrichie n’induit pas par elle-même de GHVD. [less ▲]

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See detailGeräusch, Gerücht, Gerede. Formen und Funktionen der Fama in Erzähltexten Theodor Storms und Arthur Schnitzlers
Leyh, Valérie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Dans sa représentation allégorique de Fama, le poète latin Ovide évoque trois phénomènes précis : son aspect acoustique (le bruit), sa forme discursive (les racontars) et son lien au récit (la rumeur ... [more ▼]

Dans sa représentation allégorique de Fama, le poète latin Ovide évoque trois phénomènes précis : son aspect acoustique (le bruit), sa forme discursive (les racontars) et son lien au récit (la rumeur). Alors que ces phénomènes ont très souvent fait l'objet d’études sociologiques et anthropologiques, il s’agit ici de les étudier en tant qu’objets d’un processus d’esthétisation. La thèse vise ainsi à décrire une « poétique de Fama » par l’analyse d’un choix de textes narratifs des auteurs germanophones Theodor Storm (1817 – 1888) et Arthur Schnitzler (1862 – 1931). En effet, les recherches récentes sur l’anticipation de la psychologie et sur les questions de perception chez Storm soulignent l’importance de stratégies narratives au caractère indirect, voilé et mettant à mal la plausibilité ; elles révèlent la nécessité d’étudier la rumeur comme élément thématique mais aussi structurel et formel. Les nombreux aspects de Fama intimement liés aux processus narratifs (polyphonie, psychologisation, contournement de la censure) permettent ensuite de confronter les textes de Storm à ceux de Schnitzler et d'y préciser les interactions subtiles entre bruit, racontars et rumeur. Dans ce traitement littéraire de Fama, il s’avère en outre primordial de mettre en lumière ses multiples fonctions selon les différents niveaux textuels (personnages, narrateur, auteur) et d’accorder une place au lecteur qui, dans une approche interactionnelle du récit, prend souvent part à la communication rumorale. Ces distinctions permettent de mettre en exergue la dimension poétologique de Fama dans ses différentes formes : si celle-ci participe à la création d’effets paradoxaux et de structures équivoques au sein des textes, c’est parce que la rumeur, en tant que forme de narration à caractère ambivalent et protéiforme, est fortement autoréflexive. L’instabilité et la contingence, l’indétermination de seuils et de frontières sont autant de traits qui caractérisent non seulement la rumeur et les racontars mais aussi les textes d’une époque marquée par de grandes mutations et par la mise en doute de valeurs et données acquises jusque-là. [less ▲]

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See detailSimplified analytical methods for the crashworthiness and the seismic design of lock gates
Buldgen, Loïc ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The PhD dissertation aims to provide simplified tools based on analytical formulations in order to ease the pre-design of lock gates. The first part of the thesis is devoted to ship collisions. The ... [more ▼]

The PhD dissertation aims to provide simplified tools based on analytical formulations in order to ease the pre-design of lock gates. The first part of the thesis is devoted to ship collisions. The resistance of the impacted gate is evaluated by combining global and local deforming modes. In the second part of the dissertation, an analytical solution is proposed to estimate the total hydrodynamic pressure acting on a lock gate during a seism, with due consideration for the fluid-structure coupling. Numerical validations are proposed for both ship collisions and earthquakes. [less ▲]

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See detailGESTION TECHNIQUE DE L'ENVIRONNEMENT D'UNE VILLE (BEMBEREKE AU BENIN): Caractérisation et quantification des déchets solides émis; connaissance des ressources en eau et approche technique
Ngahane, Emilienne Laure ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

La sauvegarde de l’environnement, l’un des piliers du développement durable, ne s’intègre que timidement dans les plans de développement communaux en Afrique. A Bembéréké, comme dans la plupart des ... [more ▼]

La sauvegarde de l’environnement, l’un des piliers du développement durable, ne s’intègre que timidement dans les plans de développement communaux en Afrique. A Bembéréké, comme dans la plupart des communes en Afrique subtropicale, on note parmi les problématiques environnementales majeures : un amenuisement des facteurs de production en milieu rural et une insalubrité alarmante en milieu urbain. En effet, le centre urbain de Bembéréké s’est avéré insalubre au terme de deux études (DCAM, 2005 et Ngahane, 2010) ; le paludisme, les infections respiratoires, les anémies, etc. sont le quotidien des populations. Le projet « Gestion des Déchets solides » veut résorber cet épineux problème et pour ce faire, nous avons mis sur pied une méthode de caractérisation rapide, simple, peu coûteuse et flexible permettant de disposer, au préalable, de données de base fiables. Ainsi, à Bembéréké, en 2011, la production moyenne des ordures ménagères est de 0,94 +/- 0,10 kg/j.hab, soit 1,9 +/- 0,3 l/j.hab ; cette production est dominée par les gravats/fines et la matière organique biodégradable. Alors que, la production des ordures ménagères n’y est significativement liée ni aux saisons, ni aux quartiers et ni aux standings ; leur composition présente des variations très significatives entre et au sein même des saisons, des quartiers et des standings. Donc, gérer les déchets solides à Bembéréké, c’est gérer à 99 % les ordures ménagères ; soit 6 050 T (12 107 m3) pour 2011 : 55 % d’Inertes, 40 % de fermentescibles, 6 % de combustibles et 1% de déchets dangereux. Parce qu’elle est performante, l’alternative D1 « 75% Prévention-25% Elimination » a été retenue pour la gestion de ces déchets ; toutefois, sa mise en œuvre doit être progressive. A Bembéréké l’agriculture et l’élevage sont le moteur économique. Jadis complémentaires, ces deux activités ont connu des ajustements/adaptations après la période de grande sécheresse (1970-1980) : l’agro-pastoralisme naît, les moyens et les systèmes de production convergent, une concurrence s’établit dès lors sur les ressources désormais communes que sont la terre et l’eau. Cette concurrence est accrue dans les bas-fonds offrant encore simultanément ces ressources en saison sèche. Les rares retenues d’eau, mais vitales, de plus en plus convoitées, doivent subvenir aux besoins que sont l’abreuvage bovin (40 l/j.tête) et le maraîchage (100 m3/j.ha), essentiellement. Par ailleurs, pour le développement socio-économique de Bembéréké comme du Bénin en général, les ressources en eau ne constituent pas un facteur limitant. Pour le site de Guessou-Sud dont le réservoir a une capacité actuelle d’environ 13 000 m3, l’ensemble des besoins considérés a été estimé à 40 000 m3/an ; tandis que, le site recevrait du bassin versant en moyenne 8 000 000 m3/an. En plus de l’urgence d’un triplement de la capacité de stockage de la cuvette de la retenue de Guessou-Sud, l’état de dégradation avancée du site suggère une restauration, une préservation voire un rehaussement de son potentiel et de ses richesses floristiques et faunistiques afin, de sécuriser ses conditions hydriques. La pérennisation de cette ressource et la réplication de cette expérience sur d’autres sites donneraient une dynamique nouvelle dans ce contexte très local, mais traduisant une réalité régionale, qu’est la commune de Bembéréké. [less ▲]

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See detailLattice dynamics and magnetic properties in selected functional iron compounds
Herlitschke, Marcus ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The presented thesis reports about to the investigation of four different materials with respect to their magnetic properties and their lattice dynamics. The carbodiimide FeNCN, which was recently ... [more ▼]

The presented thesis reports about to the investigation of four different materials with respect to their magnetic properties and their lattice dynamics. The carbodiimide FeNCN, which was recently synthesized for the first time and can be considered as an non-oxidic analogue to FeO, is discussed in chapter 2. The NCN 2− group bridges two iron and exhibits a double negative charge, similar to the oxygen in FeO. This material exhibits an increased magnetic order temperature as compared to FeO. FeNCN was investigated with magnetometry, Mössbauer spectroscopy and nuclear inelastic scattering, revealing an unusual behaviour of the hyperfine parameters below the ordering temperature. This observation is discussed with respect to the crystal field and the d-orbital level population with temperature. The investigation of the magnetocaloric material Mn5−x FexSi3 is reported in chapter 3 with focus on the interaction of magnetism and lattice dynamics. Among the Mn5−xFe x Si3 compounds, MnFe4 Si3 is the most interesting one due to the possible application as a room temperature refrigeration material. The investigation reveals that a direct measurement of the influence of the magnetocaloric effect on the density of iron phonon states is not possible, however, the elasticity was observed to be strongly influenced by this effect. The studies on the spin orientation in nanospheres and a NANOPERM alloy are discussed in chap ter 4 and chapter 5. Two approaches were followed in order to investigated the spin orientation, nuclear forward scattering and nuclear resonant small-angle X-ray scattering. In the first part, maghemite nanospheres are analysed with in-field nuclear forward scattering, revealing that the spins orient only partially along the direction of the applied magnetic field. A modeled magnetization calculated from the observed degree of spin orientation matches excellently the macroscopic magnetometry data and literature values. Though revealing the amount of oriented spins, nuclear forward scattering is not sensitive to their position in the nanoparticles. Thus, the nuclear forward scattering was combined with small-angle X-ray scattering, leading to small-angle patterns in dependence of the local spin orientation in the aforementioned samples. [less ▲]

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See detailRaymond M. Lemaire (1921-1997) et la conservation de la ville ancienne. Approche historique et critique de ses projets belges dans une perspective internationale
Houbart, Claudine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The specialised centre for conservation of the KU Leuven wears his name. Raymond M. Lemaire (1921-1997), art historian, is unanimously and internationally considered as one of the key figures of heritage ... [more ▼]

The specialised centre for conservation of the KU Leuven wears his name. Raymond M. Lemaire (1921-1997), art historian, is unanimously and internationally considered as one of the key figures of heritage conservation in the second half of the twentieth century. His name is immediately associated to the writing of the Venice charter, the foundation of ICOMOS or Unesco missions such as the restoration of the Acropolis or the Borobudur temples. But his work in Belgium, in the field of urban renovation is to a great extend ignored, with the exception of the Great beguinage of Leuven. Starting from Lemaire's personal archives, handed over to the KU Leuven after be became professor emeritus in 1991, our study aims at revealing his vision of urban rehabilitation, on the basis of microhistorical case-studies mostly situated in Brussels and of his contributions to the elaboration of an appropriate doctrine for the renovation of city centres. Considering this vision in relation with his practice in the field of urbanism, well illustrated by the planning of Louvain-la-Neuve, has lead us to see in Raymond M. Lemaire an updating of the "integral architect", an essential concept formulated by Gustavo Giovannoni at the beginning of the twentieth century. [less ▲]

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See detailImproving the performance of μ-ORC systems
Declaye, Sébastien ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This thesis contributes to the knowledge and the characterization of micro Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC). It is based on experimental data and simulation models. An oil-free scroll expander is tested in a ... [more ▼]

This thesis contributes to the knowledge and the characterization of micro Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC). It is based on experimental data and simulation models. An oil-free scroll expander is tested in a wide range of operating conditions in order to better characterize its performance. Particular attention is paid to the tightness of the machine which is obtained using a magnetic coupling. The measured isentropic efficiency reaches 75% which is higher than typical values reported in the literature. From the experimental results, a performance map of the expander is generated. This performance map can be used to provide fast and accurate calculation of the volumetric and isentropic performance of the expander in a wide range of operating conditions. Five displacement pumps adapted to μ-ORC systems are also tested. These pumps are diaphragm, piston, plunger and gear types. The measured values include the overall efficiency, the volumetric efficiency and the NPSH. A deep analysis of the performance is performed to quantify the losses of each pump, of their electric motor and of their frequency drive. This analysis shows that the weakness of the overall effectiveness (max. 46%) of the pumps tested is mainly due to the low efficiency of the electric motor. A semi-empirical model of the diaphragm pump is proposed and validated based on manufacturer data. This model can predict the mechanical power of the pump and the flow delivered with a good accuracy. The simulation models developed for the expander and the pump are used to simulate a configuration including the pump, the generator and the expander on a single shaft. This configuration aims to avoid the use of a motor and a frequency drive whose performance is poor in the range of power consumed by the pump of a μ-ORC system. The results show a significant increase in the net power produced using the integrated configuration Finally, performance of a prototype of μ-ORC suitable for recovering heat from a two-stage screw compressor are measured and analyzed. The prototype allows generating maximum 3.9% of the electrical power consumed by the compressor. Several optimization options of the prototype are evaluated numerically, showing that the power generation could be increased up to 5.4% of the compressor consumption. These options include using the integrated configuration and optimizing the intercooler boiler design. [less ▲]

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See detailManaging the carnivore comeback: assessing the adaptive capacity of the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) to cohabit with humans in shared landscapes
Bouyer, Yaëlle ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Conflicts between humans and large carnivores are one of the most visible examples of the challenges that arise when seeking to achieve coexistence between humans and wildlife. With their large spatial ... [more ▼]

Conflicts between humans and large carnivores are one of the most visible examples of the challenges that arise when seeking to achieve coexistence between humans and wildlife. With their large spatial requirements and predatory behavior, large carnivores are among the most difficult species to preserve in our modern day landscapes. Although large carnivores are usually considered as the epitomes of wilderness, because of human population growth and habitat fragmentation they are inexorably and increasingly faced with the need to live in human-modified landscapes. As a direct consequence, conflicts over depredation on livestock, competition for game species and sometimes over human injury or death will only increase if clear management measures are not taken. This is particularly true in Europe, where, after many decades of absence, large carnivores are recolonizing areas where millions of people are present and where landscapes have been drastically modified. Two approaches to integrating wildlife into a human-dominated world have been proposed at an international scale. The first solution is called land sparing, in which wildlife lives exclusively in protected or wilderness areas where contact between animals and humans will be reduced to the minimum. The second solution, called land sharing, proposes to integrate human activities and wildlife in the same landscapes in non-protected interface zones in what is often called a coexistence approach. In a context of scarce true wilderness areas and a continuum of human-modified habitats, land sharing (i.e. the coexistence approach) is seen as the only possible approach valid for Europe. While a coexistence approach can be readily implemented with smaller species, it can represent a major challenge for species with large space requirements and with predatory behavior. To help manage these species in a long-term conservation vision and to predict where potential conflicts could arise between humans and carnivores, information on large carnivores and their habitat use in anthropogenic landscapes is a pre-requisite. With the return of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in Western Europe, the most densely populated areas of the continent_ information on the species tolerance to human land use will help predict where it is likely to occur in anthropogenic landscapes. Data collected in Scandinavia over 15 years were used to assess the use of landscape by lynx. In this study, we explored the effect of anthropogenic and environmental factors on Eurasian lynx habitat use in Scandinavia. The work was developed along two main axes. The first axis aims to explore large scale potential patterns of lynx distribution through transferability of results obtained from habitat modelling to geographically different areas. Transferability of results was tested in two steps. Firstly, transferability success (i.e. predictive ability of the map) was tested at a regional scale using data on roe-deer, the main prey of lynx, to create a map of relative distribution and abundance of prey in southeastern Norway (Chapter 1). Secondly, transferability success was assessed at a larger extent and using data obtained from different sampling method (Chapter 2). A habitat suitability map for Eurasian lynx was produced to be used in management planning in geographically differentiated lynx management zones in Scandinavia. The results indicated that transferability of results from one region to an ecologically different region must be taken with caution. Nevertheless, the habitat suitability maps we constructed on the basis of extrapolation are a valuable asset to help management of the Scandinavian lynx population. The second axis deals with lynx habitat use in relation to anthropogenic and environmental predictors. Lynx tolerance to human presence was first explored by looking at the orientation of home range in the landscape, taking into account proxies of human presence (Chapter 3). Values of these proxies were compared both inside home ranges and within a buffer surrounding the home ranges for several lynx inhabiting an anthropogenic gradient going from near-wilderness to urban periphery. Results showed a high diversity in the extent to which individual lynx are exposed to human influence, indicating that lynx are highly adaptable in terms of living space. Lynx seemed to be able to orientate their home range in order to avoid highest human impacts and select for areas of medium human impacts. Building on these results, finer scale information on lynx habitat use in an anthropogenic landscape were obtained taking into consideration different types of behavior (day-beds, moving and killing) displayed by adult lynx, as well as the effect of cumulative anthropogenic pressures on habitat selection (Chapter 4). Our results showed that lynx select for areas with medium levels of human modification, avoiding both the areas with highest and least modification. Females in general appear to be less tolerant to human modification than males, especially for day-beds. Our study shows that Eurasian lynx can be considered as a species that is adaptable to human- induced changes in landscape even if its motivation to tolerate human presence is clearly linked to the presence and density level of its main prey, the roe deer. Our work shows that, contrary to much of the public and many conservation professionals’ opinions, land sharing with large carnivores in Europe may be possible – even in the immediate proximity to urban centers. However, it is important to bear in mind that these results were obtained from countries with a relatively low human population density; even though some individuals observed lived in the periphery of large cities, the level of habitat fragmentation is less severe than in most of Western Europe. In order to properly assess the capacity of Eurasian lynx to live in highly populated areas, such as the Benelux, more detailed information on lynx distribution from continental European will be needed. However, our results underline the value of combining both correlational and mechanistic studies, and the need for caution in extrapolating data too far from its original context. As large carnivore recovery continues to progress in Europe we may not yet have seen the limits of these species' abilities to adapt. [less ▲]

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See detailContributions to combinatorics on words in an abelian context and covering problems in graphs
Vandomme, Elise ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This thesis dissertation is divided into two (distinct but connected) parts that reflect the joint PhD. We study and we solve several questions regarding on the one hand combinatorics on words in an ... [more ▼]

This thesis dissertation is divided into two (distinct but connected) parts that reflect the joint PhD. We study and we solve several questions regarding on the one hand combinatorics on words in an abelian context and on the other hand covering problems in graphs. Each particular problem is the topic of a chapter. In combinatorics on words, the first problem considered focuses on the 2-regularity of sequences in the sense of Allouche and Shallit. We prove that a sequence satisfying a certain symmetry property is 2-regular. Then we apply this theorem to show that the 2-abelian complexity functions of the Thue--Morse word and the period-doubling word are 2-regular. The computation and arguments leading to these results fit into a quite general scheme that we hope can be used again to prove additional regularity results. The second question concerns the notion of return words up to abelian equivalence, introduced by Puzynina and Zamboni. We obtain a characterization of Sturmian words with non-zero intercept in terms of the finiteness of the set of abelian return words to all prefixes. We describe this set of abelian returns for the Fibonacci word but also for the Thue--Morse word (which is not Sturmian). We investigate the relationship existing between the abelian complexity and the finiteness of this set. In graph theory, the first problem considered deals with identifying codes in graphs. These codes were introduced by Karpovsky, Chakrabarty and Levitin to model fault-diagnosis in multiprocessor systems. The ratio between the optimal size of an identifying code and the optimal size of a fractional relaxation of an identifying code is between 1 and 2 ln(|V|)+1 where V is the vertex set of the graph. We focus on vertex-transitive graphs, since we can compute the exact fractional solution for them. We exhibit infinite families, called generalized quadrangles, of vertex-transitive graphs with integer and fractional identifying codes of order |V|^a with a in {1/4,1/3,2/5}. The second problem concerns (r,a,b)-covering codes of the infinite grid already studied by Axenovich and Puzynina. We introduce the notion of constant 2-labellings of weighted graphs and study them in four particular weighted cycles. We present a method to link these labellings with covering codes. Finally, we determine the precise values of the constants a and b of any (r,a,b)-covering code of the infinite grid with |a-b|>4. This is an extension of a theorem of Axenovich. [less ▲]

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See detailIchtyofaune du bassin du fleuve Mono (Bénin et Togo): diversité, écologie et impacts anthropiques
Lederoun, Djiman ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This study has three main objectives: (1) to obtain an inventory of the ichthyofauna of the Mono River that is as complete as possible; (2) to study the ecology of this ichthyofauna; and (3) to document ... [more ▼]

This study has three main objectives: (1) to obtain an inventory of the ichthyofauna of the Mono River that is as complete as possible; (2) to study the ecology of this ichthyofauna; and (3) to document the impact of fishing on the exploited stocks based on two targeted species. The inventory was made by compiling the literature, by studying collections of museums and of other institutions and by several sampling campaigns, conducted between February 2011 and March 2014. This resulted in an inventory of 91 fish species belonging to 67 genera, 42 families and 14 orders. The Perciformes (31 species), Siluriformes (18), Osteoglossiformes (10), Cypriniformes (9) and Characiformes (9) are the most diverse families in the Mono River Basin. The most species-rich families are the Cichlidae (9 espèces), Cyprinidae (9), Mormyridae (7), Clariidae (7) and Alestidae (6). Twenty-nine species, of which 7 of freshwater and 22 of marine or estuarine origin have been added to the ichtyofauna as known before this study. Nine species present in museum collections and three species only known from the literature have not been collected again. Several taxonomic problems have been encountered. Two of these cases were studied in depth. Foremost, the taxonomic status of Brycinus leuciscus and B. luteus (Alestiidae, Characiformes) was revised based on specimens originating from the complete distribution range of the two nominal species. This allowed us to synonymise the two species, with Brycinus leuciscus as senior synonym. The latter has been erroneously mentioned from the Mono River. Our results, however, confirmed the presence of two phenotypes, i.e. one with and one without a pre-dorsal hump, which was mentioned in the literature as intra-specific variation in B. leuciscus. A comparative study comparing specimens belonging to 'Barbus' nigeriensis (Cyprinidae, Cypriniformes) of the Mono Basin with those originating from the basins of the Volta, the Ogun et the Niger revealed the presence of a new species, described as Barbus "Vandewalle", a Volta Basin endemic. An indentification key of the different families, genera and species from the Mono Basin is presented. For the ecological study, two seasonal sampling campaigns were performed (from December to mid-March and from mid-July to mid-September) in 2012 and 2013 using gill nets of different mesh-size (10, 12, 17, 20 et 22 mm knot to knot). Sampling was performed at 10 sampling sites that were located upstream and downstream of the Adjarala Falls (the site of a planned hydroelectric plant, 100 km upstream of that of Nangbéto) and upstream and downstream of the dam at Nangbéto. Seventeen physico-chemical and environmental variables were taken at these sites. The ordination of the sampling sites in relation to their values for the physico-chemical, environmental variables and to their fish assemblages was studied using a non-linear method: the self organising map (SOM). The samples were scattered in four groups in function of their physico-chemical and environmental variables. The distance to the source, height of the canopy, rocks, coverage of the canopy, altitude, gravel, mud, sand, water velocity and dissolved oxygen were the most discriminating factors for the obtained groups. The zone of the Adjarala, where a new dam will be constructed, differs by its rocky substrate, the velocity of the water and the relatively high amount of dissolved oxygen. For the ichthyofauna, the SOM suggest a structuring in three groups. Our results oppose the tendency to homogeny in the middle course of rivers, which is probably due to the presence of the dam at Nangbéto. A significant correlation was found between the distribution of the species and the physico-chemical and environmental parameters. The distance to the source, altitude, forested river banks, height of the canopy, velocity of the water, conductivity, transparency and pH were the parameters that explained the distribution of the fish community best. The level of disturbance of the ecosystem, which was studied using the Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) showed that the zones at and near the dam at Nangbéto were the most stressed. A length-weight and length-length key was designed for the first time for the 37 species that were the most abundant in the catches. This was done in order to improve the quality of the fisheries statistics collected by fisheries officers on the scale of the basin. The analysis of the allometric coefficient b of the length-weight relation showed that the majority of the fishes had an allometric growth. The condition factor calculated in order to estimate the amount of flesh on the fish showed that the environment was heavily disturbed. To conclude, from the results of the study on the impact of the fisheries on targeted species, it became clear that the population of Sarotherodon melanotheron melanotheron is over-exploited at Lake Toho. At Lakes Doukon and Togbadji, on the other hand, an under-exploitation of the population of S. galilaeus galilaeus was observed. The latter illustrates the possibility of sustainable management even in the presence of intensive fishing pressure. As, in this thesis, several cases of anthropogenic impacts were identified, a regular surveillance programme will be paramount in order to preserve the ichthyological diversity of the Mono River Basin. [less ▲]

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