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See detailIdentification of the bacterial symbionts of the banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa and characterization of their roles
De Clerck, Caroline ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Les insectes sont caractérisés par une incroyable capacité d’adaptation à de nombreux environnements et modes d’alimentation, qui est liée au fait que la majorité des insectes (voire tous) hébergent des ... [more ▼]

Les insectes sont caractérisés par une incroyable capacité d’adaptation à de nombreux environnements et modes d’alimentation, qui est liée au fait que la majorité des insectes (voire tous) hébergent des symbiontes intra ou extracellulaires. Ces associations symbiotiques sont très diverses et peuvent aller d’un mutualisme obligatoire à un parasitisme facultatif. Les pucerons, en particulier, sont connus pour vivre en symbiose avec au moins une bactérie obligatoire qui leur fournit les nutriments essentiels absents du phloème dont ils se nourrissent : Buchnera aphidicola. La plupart des symbiontes d’insectes étant incultivables, les technologies moléculaires modernes se sont avérées des outils puissants dans la compréhension des interactions hôte-microorganisme et la caractérisation du rôle joués par ces symbiontes. Les études génomiques ont mené à la découverte des plus petits génomes bactériens jamais observés, et ont permis une étude plus poussée des symbiontes secondaires et de leur évolution. Pentalonia nigronervosa, le puceron noir du bananier, lest le vecteur principal du virus des sommets touffus du bananier, l’un des virus les plus dommageables en culture bananière. Très peu d’études sont néanmoins disponibles sur ce vecteur et rien n’était connu sur la population symbiotique hébergée par cet insecte jusqu’à cette étude. Dans cette thèse, nous avons découvert que le puceron du bananier contient deux symbiontes : B. aphidicola (BPn) et Wolbachia sp. (wPn); et cela dans tous les pucerons testés, quelle que soit leur origine géographique. La présence de Buchnera était attendue (99,9% de toutes les espèces de pucerons contiennent ce symbionte), mais la détection systématique de Wolbachia nous fait nous interroger sur le rôle que cette bactérie pourrait jouer pour l’insecte hôte, ainsi que sur la raison de sa présence. Wolbachia n’est en effet que rarement détectée chez les pucerons et est surtout connue pour être un parasite qui manipule le système reproducteur de ces hôtes. Malgré tout, des études ont montré que cette bactérie pouvait agir comme mutualiste pour certains insectes, ce qui pourrait expliquer sa présence dans le puceron du bananier. Le second objectif de cette étude a donc été de mieux comprendre le rôle joué par les deux symbiontes de P. nigronervosa. Pour ce faire, différentes techniques complémentaires ont été utilisées. La microinjection d’antibiotiques a été utilisée afin d’éliminer sélectivement wPn et de voir l’effet de cette élimination sur l’hôte. Nous avons observé que l’élimination de wPn donnait systématiquement lieu à la mort du puceron. Un séquençage haut débit de l’hémolymphe (contenant des bacteriocytes) d’un puceron a été réalisé et nous a permis d’identifier et d’annoter 587 et 250 gènes pour wPn et BPn respectivement. L’analyse de ces gènes nous permet d’émettre l’hypothèse que les deux bactéries collaborent pour la production de plusieurs nutriments essentiels pour l’hôte. La situation est surtout frappante dans le cas de la lysine et de la riboflavine, qui sont habituellement produits uniquement par Buchnera chez les autres espèces de pucerons. Dans le cas du puceron du bananier, les gènes impliqués dans les voies de production de ces métabolites sont répartis entre les génomes des deux bactéries, les rendant ainsi toutes les deux essentielles à la survie du puceron hôte. Enfin, une localisation par fluorescence in situ des deux symbiontes a montré qu’ils étaient tous deux localisés dans les bacteriocytes, rendant les échanges de précurseurs et métabolites possibles. En conclusion, nos résultats suggèrent que le puceron du bananier héberge une co-symbiose obligatoire entre B. aphidicola et Wolbachia, les deux bactéries agissant de concert dans l’approvisionnement de l’hôte en nutriments essentiels. [less ▲]

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See detailHistoire Evolutive de Rongeurs Holarctiques: Approche micro- & macroévolutive
Pisano, Julie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

La biodiversité n’est pas stable dans le temps et l’espace. Elle évolue en réponse à différents facteurs. A l’échelle macroévolutive, les moteurs de diversité sont essentiellement les changements ... [more ▼]

La biodiversité n’est pas stable dans le temps et l’espace. Elle évolue en réponse à différents facteurs. A l’échelle macroévolutive, les moteurs de diversité sont essentiellement les changements tectoniques majeurs, climatiques globaux et environnementaux. Ils sont connus pour avoir façonné les patrons évolutifs de groupes d’espèces sur de grandes échelles spatiales et temporelles. A l’échelle microévolutive, les moteurs de diversité sont majoritairement liés à des forces évolutives telles que la mutation, la dérive génétique, la sélection ou la dispersion. Ils rythment l’évolution de la biodiversité populationnelle à une plus petite échelle spatiale et temporelle. Dans le cadre de cette thèse, le but a été de construire un cadre évolutif stable permettant de nous éclairer sur les processus évolutifs et/ou les facteurs qui ont rythmé l’histoire évolutive d’espèces et de populations de rongeurs. Pour étudier l’évolution de la biodiversité à l’échelle macroévolutive, nous avons pris comme modèle biologique la superfamille des Dipodoidea (Rongeurs : Myodonta). Groupe frère des Muroidea, la superfamille des Dipodoidea comprend trois grands groupes d’organismes : les sicistes (Sicistinae), les souris-sauteuses (Zapodinae) et les gerboises (Allactaginae, Cardiocraniinae, Dipodinae et Euchoreutinae). Dans la littérature, la superfamille des Dipodoidea comprend 51 espèces réparties dans 16 genres de six sousfamilles, toutes de la famille des Dipodidae mais cette classification basée essentiellement sur des données morphologiques est très controversée. Avant cette thèse, aucune phylogénie moléculaire des Dipodoidea n’avait été reconstruite. De plus, les Dipodoidea sont particulièrement intéressants pour tester divers scénarios biogéographiques étant donné certaines distributions disjointes dans l’Holarctique et les nombreuses espèces réparties dans les déserts d’Asie et d’Afrique. Il est donc intéressant de comprendre comment ces patrons de distribution disjoints sur l’Holarctique (e.g. Afrique du Nord, Amérique du Nord) ont été mis en place et ‘quand et où’ ces différents groupes sont apparus. Lors de cette thèse, pour la première fois, une phylogénie moléculaire comprenant 20 des 51 espèces de Dipodoidea a été reconstruite à partir de quatre gènes nucléaires (BRCA1, GHR, IRBP, RAG1). Cette phylogénie moléculaire a ensuite été comparée à une phylogénie morphologique reconstruite sur base des caractères de la dentition, de la bulle auditive, du gland du pénis et des glandes reproductives accessoires. Cela a permis de comprendre que les nombreuses controverses autour de la taxonomie et de la systématique des Dipodoidea étaient dues à des homologies qui brouillaient le signal phylogénétique. Ainsi, une nouvelle taxonomie des Dipodoidea a pu être proposée. La superfamille des Dipodoidea est dorénavant constituée de 3 familles (Sminthidae, Zapodidae, Dipodidae) et de 19 genres. Ensuite, pour étudier l’histoire évolutive biogéographique de la superfamille des Dipodoidea, l’échantillonnage taxonomique a été augmenté. La phylogénie moléculaire la plus complète à ce jour incluant 34 espèces de Dipodoidea a pu ainsi être reconstruite sur base du gène mitochondrial du cytochrome b et des mêmes gènes nucléaires utilisés précédemment. Lors de cette seconde étude, nous avons pu montrer que la radiation des Dipodoidea modernes a L eu lieu au Paléocène supérieur dans la région d’Asie Centrale et de l’Himalaya-Plateau Tibétain et que, de façon générale, leur histoire évolutive a été rythmée par les grands bouleversements climatiques et environnementaux engendrés par la surrection de l’Himalaya et du Plateau Tibétain. Pour étudier l’évolution de la biodiversité à l’échelle microévolutive, nous avons pris comme modèle biologique le campagnol roussâtre (Myodes glareolus). Les populations de campagnol roussâtre sont réparties en plusieurs lignées mitochondriales distribuées sur une large zone de la région Paléarctique. L’une d’elles, caractérisée par le génome mitochondrial du campagnol de la Taïga (Myodes rutilus), se distribue de la moitié supérieure de la Suède à travers la Finlande jusqu’au centre de la Russie. En Finlande, cette lignée introgressée (mitotype RUT) vient au contact d’une autre lignée du campagnol roussâtre (mitotype GLA). Il a été proposé que cette zone de contact en Finlande soit le résultat d’un contact secondaire. Cependant, étant donné qu’aucune différenciation nucléaire n’a été observée entre les mitotypes GLA et RUT, il n’est pas clair si cette zone de contact résulte bien d’un contact secondaire (deux évènements de recolonisation de la Finlande). Une autre hypothèse suggérant un seul événement de recolonisation de la Finlande pourrait également expliquer ce patron de discordance mito-nucléaire. Lors de cette thèse, nous avons étudié la zone de contact entre les mitotypes GLA et RUT située au centre de Finlande sur base de 17 marqueurs microsatellites et du cytochrome b. Notre but était d’estimer si la Finlande a connu un ou deux évènements de recolonisation postglaciaire et donc, de mieux comprendre si la zone de contact résulte ou non d’un contact secondaire entre les deux mitotypes. Les approches classiques de génétique des populations et de « clustering » ne nous ont pas permis de valider l’une ou l’autre des hypothèses du fait que la dispersion était limitée dans l’espace et que la différenciation génétique nucléaire entre les campagnols de Finlande était faible. Par conséquent, pour valider définitivement une des deux hypothèses, nous avons dû utiliser des analyses de clines de fréquences alléliques de marqueurs neutres. Celle-ci a montré que le cytb et 16 des 17 microsatellites présentaient des changements de fréquences alléliques entre les mitotypes GLA et RUT et que, par conséquent, la zone de contact entre les mitotypes GLA et RUT correspondait bien à une zone de contact secondaire résultant de deux évènements de recolonisation indépendants. En conclusion, cette thèse m’a permis de mieux comprendre comment la biodiversité évolue en réponse à différents facteurs. Etudier la biodiversité en utilisant des approches macroévolutives et microévolutives est très intéressant car cela permet d’avoir un regard large sur la manière avec laquelle les espèces, les populations et leurs génomes évoluent. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessment of Non-Lethal Projectile Head Impacts
Oukara, Amar ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Anti-personnel Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) are used to impart sufficient effect onto a person in order to deter uncivil, suspect or hazardous behaviour with a low prob- ability of permanent or fatal injury ... [more ▼]

Anti-personnel Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) are used to impart sufficient effect onto a person in order to deter uncivil, suspect or hazardous behaviour with a low prob- ability of permanent or fatal injury. They appear to be suitable for many law enforcement missions and to a certain extent to the military forces. In fact, in many situations of conflict, where the army and civil police are involved, the use of such weapons can ensure a minimal risk of collateral damage. The most used NLW are Kinetic Energy Non-Lethal Weapons (KENLW) that involve the shooting of a de- formable or breakable projectile with masses between 5 g to 140 g at initial velocities between 70 m/s and 160 m/s. Practically, KENLW are not used without risk for the targeted persons. The head zone represents the most critical part of the human body regarding non-lethal projectile impacts. The inflicted injuries can be severe and sometimes lead to death. The experts in the field should identify the limits in which KENLW should be effective without causing permanent or fatal injuries. Therefore, assessment methods should be developed in order to predict the injury risk of non-lethal head impacts. The present thesis proposes the development of three different approaches allowing the assessment of the non-lethal head impacts. The first approach named FW (Force wall) method has been developed at DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) - France. For a benchmark projectile, this method links the maximum impact head force to the maximum impact force mea- sured on a supposedly infinitely rigid structure, equipped with a piezoelectric force sensor. Three lesional thresholds: unconsciousness, meningeal damage and bone damage with coma are used. The FW method proposes the extension of the bench- mark projectile results to other projectiles using the assumption: two different pro- jectiles producing the same force on a rigid structure, will have the same effects on the head. This method is applied in the present thesis for different projectiles using a specific experimental setup. Different improvements have been achieved regarding the frequency analysis of the rigid structure and the quantification of uncertainties of the FW method. These improvements represent some original contributions of the present thesis.The second approach concerns the use of a mechanical surrogate in order to predict the maximum impact head force. The mechanical surrogate involved in the present study is BLSH (Ballistics Load Sensing Headform). Different tests have been performed using no less than eight commercial projectiles. The third approach uses numerical simulations with a validated FEHM (Fi- nite Element Head Model). SUFEHM (Strasbourg University Finite Element Head Model) is considered in the present thesis. The model offers the possibility to pre- dict head injuries using other parameters than the maximum impact head force: the strain energy and the Von Mises stress. A specific method is proposed in order to develop the FE (Finite Element) models of non-lethal projectiles. Six FE models of projectiles are used for the numerical simulations. Results show a good agreement between the three methods for the benchmark projectile. The extension of the FW method for other projectiles can be performed with some limitations mentioned in the present document. Moreover, there is a good agreement between BLSH and SUFEHM for all studied projectiles. Different correlations between the maximum impact head force and other criteria are also proposed in order to include them in the non-lethal head impact injury prediction. Ultimately, the present work proposes assessment methods for non-lethal projec- tile head impacts. The different details of these methods are given in the present document. [less ▲]

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See detailStudy of the Direct Borohydride Fuel Cell anode
Olu, Pierre-Yves ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

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See detailMort Cellulaire et Développement chez Streptomyces coelicolor
Tenconi, Elodie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

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See detailOptimalisation de la production d’énergie par des procédés biochimiques à partir de substrat d’origine tropicale : Application à la biomasse lignocellulosique du bananier représentée par le cultivar Williams Cavendish (Groupe Triploïde Musa AAA)
Kamdem, Irenée ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

In a context where the need to find sustainable alternatives to fossil energies are necessary, this thesis highlights the socio-economic, environmental and energy benefits that banana-producing countries ... [more ▼]

In a context where the need to find sustainable alternatives to fossil energies are necessary, this thesis highlights the socio-economic, environmental and energy benefits that banana-producing countries can draw from the energy conversion of the residual lignocellulosic biomass (BLC) of banana plant. It also highlights the molecular and elemental factors influencing the production of methane (CH4) through the anaerobic digestion (AD) of the banana lignocellulosic biomass (BLB). The experiments carried out for the thesis showed that this substrate of tropical origin requires pretreatment to improve its digestibility and to optimize the production of CH4. A developing country like Cameroon, that produces and exports dessert and cooking bananas, generates annually approximately 4.5 million tons of fresh untapped BLB. The potential biotransformation of this waste into bioethanol, biomethane and pellets, constitutes new opportunities that could provide an important source of income for both banana producers and the whole country. These benefits are related to theoretical studies which required experimental studies for its validation. By its chemical composition, BLB is energetically more adapted to the biochemical processes of transformation, and particularly to AD. Therefore AD was investigated on BLC of Williams Cavendish cultivar (WCLB), one of the most commercialized in Cameroon. The analysis of the cumulative production of biogas from each of the six morphological parts (MPs) that constitute this biomass (bulb, leaf sheaths, petioles–midribs, leaf blades, rachis stem, and floral stalk) showed that the leaf blades and the rachis stem achieved respectively the lowest and the highest production yields i.e. 98 and 162 mL CH4 g-1 dry matter (DM of MP). The biogas conversion efficiency of all the combined six MPs was 50% lower than the theoretical potential (based on the total carbon content).These results therefore justified the need to deconstruct this organic matter through pretreatment operation since the lignin appears as one of the main factors limiting the accession of enzymes to the fermentable substrates. Biochemical composition of the BLC from all the combined six MPs of WCLB were compared before and after two different physicochemical pretreatments selected for their socio-economical and techno-ecological advantages i.e. steam cracking (SC) and steam explosion (SE). These pretreatments were carried out at pilot-scale with different severity factors namely regarding temperature since SC was tested at 150 °C (SC150), 180 °C (SC180) and 210 °C (SC210), and SE was tested at 210 °C. The results suggest that SC180 and SC210 are the most lignin-destabilizing pretreatments. The enzymatic degradation of the solid fractions (SFs) and the liquid fractions (LFs) recovered after the pretreatments confirmed the presence of oligomers in the LFs and the improvement of the digestibility of SFs. This digestibility improvement was confirmed by a supplementary AD. Indeed the weighted cumulative production of methane from SF and LF during 135 days shows that the SC210 and SE improved the production of biomethane by 28% and 5% respectively. A simplified schematic model of mass distribution during AD of a complex fermentable organic matter such as WCLB was proposed. Along with the existing models, this schematic model will contribute to the predictive evolution of the initial biomass, the bacterial and archaebacterial biomass, the soluble organic metabolites (such as acetic acid), and the CH4 and CO2 biogas. Forecasts related to the installation and operation of a family sized anaerobic digester in Cameroon have a return on investment period of about 8.5 years (with an estimated life term of 25 years for the biodigester built in reinforced concrete). Moreover, the simulation of an integrated industrial production of biogas and bioethanol from 1 ton DM of WCLB subjected to SC210 showed that 284 L of ethanol would be produced from 800 kg DM of SF for a production cost of 85 €. This cost was calculated regardless of energy from the combustion of biogas produced during the AD of 200 kg DM of LF. Net income after tax for the integrated production was valued to 239 € t-1 DM WCLB. This study showed that BLB should now be taken into account within the energy recoverable BLC and that it is more adapted to the AD process. However, a better assessment of the energetic, socio-economical and environmental benefits that banana-producing countries can draw from the BLB, would require a pilot-scale investigation of the AD process where the bio-physico-chemical parameters prevailing in the industrial biodigesters can be reproduced. [less ▲]

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See detailFrom some obscurity to clarity in Boom clay behavior: Analysis of its coupled hydro-mechanical response in the presence of strain localization
Salehnia, Fatemeh ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Deep disposal of the high-level and high-lived radioactive wastes in the potential geological formations is envisaged as a possible solution in the framework of long-term management of these wastes. The ... [more ▼]

Deep disposal of the high-level and high-lived radioactive wastes in the potential geological formations is envisaged as a possible solution in the framework of long-term management of these wastes. The argillaceous materials, namely Boom Clay, are potential to constitute the natural barrier aimed at confining the nuclear waste and protecting the biosphere from it. Around galleries excavated at depth in these media, the creation of a damaged zone with significant irreversible deformation is generally unavoidable. A considerable change in the host rock properties could be likely resulted in this zone, which may potentially be important with respect to the long-term evolution and the performance of the system. In this context, a paramount interest addresses characterization of the so-called Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ), predicting its extent, and development of localized fracturing during and after the underground excavation in the host rock. This constitutes the foundation of this work, focusing on the Boom Clay formation as the reference potential host rock in Belgium. Dealing with this purpose, providing a state of knowledge on the hydro-mechanical behavior of Boom Clay, and validating a set of parameters which could realistically reproduce its response through the numerical modelings are firstly addressed as the requisites. Moreover, a special focus is made on the dilatation factor of the rock, commonly described through the dilatancy angle parameter. Correct estimation of the dilatant behavior of a rock has an essential role in a realistic simulation of its volumetric behavior, fracturing threshold during the rock deformation process and its post-failure response. Therefore, a new formula is developed for consideration of the variable dilatancy angle, incorporated into an internal frictional elasto-plastic hardening/softening model, within the LAGAMINE finite element code. This development overcomes the inconveniences associated to using a constant dilatancy angle, for instance encountered in our numerical simulations of some laboratory small-scale tests as well as a large-scale excavation. This study then focuses more particularly on simulation of EDZ extension at the large scale excavation, around the Connecting gallery (in the HADES URL, Mol, Belgium), through analyzing the evolution of strain localization in shear bands mode. The modeling takes into account of the initial anisotropic stresses, mechanical cross-anisotropy, anisotropic permeabilities, and gravity effects. As a result, an eye-shape extension of EDZ accompanied by an anisotropic convergence of the rock is predicted. A coupled analysis addresses the pore water pressure distribution during the excavation period and in long-term while no more evolution of the localized shear bands is predicted. To assess the reliability of the numerical results, some available in-situ measurements and observations, within the clay, during the gallery's construction and afterwards are precisely analyzed, and then compared with the corresponding numerical predictions. As a result, a good agreement is found between the in-situ data and simulated results. Moreover, the above study is integrated with a particular analysis of the contact mechanism on the interface between the clay and the gallery's lining. Thence, the coupled interface element is introduced to deal with the contact phenomenon. The obtained results reveal some interesting features regarding the development of contact pressure on the interface linked to the evolution pattern of strain localization within the clay around the gallery. Furthermore, with regard to the own lining behavior, a development of the modeling with the aim of consideration of a discontinuous lining (made of the segments as the real case) is performed. We propose an approach to realistically reproduce the response of the lining's segments and their contact phenomena in the course of a long-term simulation. Defining the interface elements between the neighboring segments, with respect to the real installation procedure of the lining during the gallery construction, this process is aimed to be simulated through some evolution of the contact pressure on the segments' interfaces. As a result, a considerable improvement is achieved in reproducing the in-situ measurements provided in the lining. The numerical and measured evolution of strain and displacement are in a good agreement. [less ▲]

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See detailAspects malacologiques du cycle de Fasciola hepatica en Belgique et en Equateur
Caron, Yannick ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Fasciolosis is a zoonotic disease of ruminants and other herbivorous due to two parasite species of the genus Fasciola. If Fasciola gigantica is a tropical species, F. hepatica has a much wider geographic ... [more ▼]

Fasciolosis is a zoonotic disease of ruminants and other herbivorous due to two parasite species of the genus Fasciola. If Fasciola gigantica is a tropical species, F. hepatica has a much wider geographic distribution. Fasciola hepatica is responsible for important economic losses such as a marked reduction of milk yield and liver condemnation at the slaughterhouse. The life cycle of this platyhelminth involves an intermediate host, a gastropod mollusc belonging to the Lymnaeidae family. In temperate Europe, Galba truncatula acts as the main intermediate host of F. hepatica. A wide network project called MANSCAPE allowed the implementation of a sampling campaign conducted in more than 125 ponds throughout Belgium which revealed that other lymnaeid snails (belonging to the genus Radix) could act as secondary or alternative intermediate hosts. Some experimental infections of snails and rats permited to study the host-parasite relationships in some of these species (Radix balthica, R. labiata). Sibling species very similar to « R. peregra » seem to contain several potential candidates. Several techniques are available to detect the parasite in the snail: they are based either on microscopy or on molecular biology. A very sensitive (100 pg parasite DNA still detectable) and specific technique based on molecular biology (Multiplex PCR) was developed. This technique was used qualitatively and quantitatively to determine the intermediate host species involved in the life cycle of the liver fluke in Belgium. This study was performed in the frame of the PONDSCAPE project and prevalences of 1.31% (30/2747) and 0.16% (7/4629) were recorded for G. truncatula and R. balthica respectively. This technique was then used in Ecuador to bring some information on the intermediate host species involved in the life cycle of F. hepatica. Galba schirazensis, an invasive species in South America, was identified as a lymnaeid that could harbour a part of the life cycle of the parasite as 8.15% (86/1055) of the collected snail contained parasite DNA and 2.46% (26/1055) living larvae. These studies showed that R. balthica could have an impact on the epidemiology of F. hepatica in Belgium and that the role of G. schirazensis in Ecuador needs to be clarified. This will be discussed in this work and specially in term of co-evoultion and adpatation way. [less ▲]

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See detailEFFECTS OF AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AND HEAVY METAL CONTAMINATION ON THE COMMUNITY DYNAMICS OF EARTHWORMS IN RELATION TO SOIL PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL FACTORS IN AGRICULTURAL FIELDS (BELGIUM)
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

We investigated the effect of different agricultural practices on the abundances, biomass, and species diversity of earthworms. Specifically, we aimed to identify the relationship between certain soil ... [more ▼]

We investigated the effect of different agricultural practices on the abundances, biomass, and species diversity of earthworms. Specifically, we aimed to identify the relationship between certain soil physico-chemical properties and earthworm communities in agricultural soils. Two tillage systems and crop residue management were investigated. After conducting the study over four years, we found that the abundance, biomass, and diversity of earthworms were negatively affected by tillage application and the removal of crop residues. All ecological groups were negatively affected by conventional tillage system and crop residues exportation. However, crop residues removal had a greater impact than the conventional tillage system. In this study area, the earthworm community was dominated by the endogeic species A. c. caliginosa (64%), while few epigeic and anecic species were observed (5%). Endogeic and epi-anecic (L. terrestris) species appeared to be highly influenced by tillage and of crop residues exportation. When crop residues were exported from the field, the concentrations of chemical elements were low, particularly P and K nutrients. Earthworm activity contributed to nutrient dynamics and soil structure after four years of incorporating of crop residues to the fields and reduced tillage application. No consistent relationship was detected between soil and earthworm variables, even though different soil properties responded differently with respect to the tillage systems, crop residues removal and the presence of certain earthworm species. The number of years that our field was managed might have also affected our results.On the basis of the primarily research focused on understanding how earthworms participate and contribute towards improving soil quality (structure, nutrient dynamics and fertility), we subsequently focused on investigating how two plants (Vicia faba and Zea mays) and the Eisenia fetida earthworm contribute to uptake of different metals: Cd, Zn, Pb and Cu from the land surrounding of a former Zn-Pb ore treatment plant. Specifically, we tested whether the earthworm Eisenia fetida could act as a catalyzor to enhance phytoremediation efficiency. After 42 days of exposure, our results showed that certain earthworm life-cycle traits are affected by metal contamination and by the addition of plants. Specifically, the concentrations of metals in earthworm tissues decreased in the presence of plants. Our findings demonstrate that earthworm activities modify the availability of metals in soils, enhancing metal uptake by plants. This innovative system offers new investigation possibilities by considering earthworm-plant-soil interaction. In conclusion, this work confirmed that earthworms are important catalyzor optimizing the phytoremediation processes of polluted soils. [less ▲]

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See detailPhotométrie de haute précision dans l'infrarouge d'exoplanètes en transit
Lanotte, Audrey ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The exploration of new lands has always been and is still an appealing quest of the Mankind. Today, these new worlds we are talking about are several light years away from us, and are called exoplanets ... [more ▼]

The exploration of new lands has always been and is still an appealing quest of the Mankind. Today, these new worlds we are talking about are several light years away from us, and are called exoplanets. Recently discovered, it is possible to study their structures, as well as their atmospheric compositions and properties, without the need to resolve their light from their host star. This is indeed possible when a planet regularly pass in front (transit) or behind (occultation) its host star from our point of view. The study of exoplanets and of their atmosphere is of prime importance. It could inform us on present conditions during their formation and evolution, and thus help us to characterise planets in our own Solar system. The characterisation of the orbital and atmospheric properties of transiting exoplanets is among the main goal of this thesis. We use observations in the infrared band, wherein exoplanet spectra present many atmospheric molecular transition features. However several infrared instrument systematics, particularly those on-board the Spitzer telescope (3.6–24 μm), have already led to divergent conclusions on the nature of planetary atmospheres it targeted, depending on the way these systematics were treated. Hence this thesis focuses on the high-precision infrared data reduction and analysis of transiting exoplanets. Our goal is to obtain accurate and non-ambiguous measurements for the characterisation of exoplanets through the recombination of their emission and transmission spectra. Meanwhile, we attempt to better understand the behaviour of infrared detectors in preparation for future missions in this wavelength range, such as the James Webb Space Telescope. This work is organised around the characterisation of the GJ 436 planetary system based on the data reduction and reanalysis of Spitzer observations and of CoRoT-2 with the help of ground-based and Spitzer observations. We use and optimise the partial deconvolution photometry program DECPHOT, fully appropriate to separate the stellar flux contributions from each other and from that of the sky, which is particularly important in the infrared. Besides, we improve aperture photometry. Then we use the Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm developed by the Liège team to analyse the light curves produced by these two measurement techniques, in addition to radial velocity measurements that were also available for these systems. We introduce new features, including a mo- delisation of one of the Spitzer systematics, and a phase curve model adapted to eccentric planetary orbit. Our GJ 436b analysis rules out the presence of the two planetary companion candidates proposed recently in the literature. Contrary to former studies that were in disagreement, we measure an occultation depth at 3.6 μm that is independent of the light curve reduction, thanks to our modelisation of the intrapixel effect. We point out a weak stellar activity of its host star and suggest a metal rich atmosphere. Our CoRoT-2 b study leads to a very high emission measurement at 2.09 μm, which highlights an atmosphere in chemical and/or local thermodynamical disequilibrium. It may indicate the emission of H+3 , which results from high extreme UV stellar radiation or planetary aurora emission. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh resolution present and future climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard modelled by the regional climate model MAR
Lang, Charlotte ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This worked aimed to simulate the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard at high spatial resolution with the regional climate model MAR. First, simulations of the present (1979 - 2013) climate and ... [more ▼]

This worked aimed to simulate the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard at high spatial resolution with the regional climate model MAR. First, simulations of the present (1979 - 2013) climate and surface mass balance were performed at a spatial resolution of 10 km. MAR was evaluated over Svalbard by comparing its outputs to measurements of temperature and precipitation measurement and outputs of other modelling products fo the surface mass balance. The results of the MAR simulations were then analysed over 1979 - 2013 and shoed a stability of the (negative) SMB opposed to the recent melt records observed in Greenland. This stability was attributed to a recent change in summer atmospheric circulation damping the Arctic warming over Svalbard. A future projection over 1980 - 2100 was then performed with MAR forced by MIROC5 and the RCP8.5 scenario and showed that the future SMB decrease is projected to be mainly driven by the albedo decrease (related to the expansion of the ablation area) through the increase of the net shortwave radiation absorbed by the surface.Finally, an online downscaling technique has been implemented in MAR to allow the surface modeule SISVAT, computing the surface mass balance and its components, to run at a resolution twice as high as the atmospheric module. This method, based on near-surface temperature and humidity corrections on a subgrid, allows SMB outputs at a resolution twice as high with only 25% more computation time. [less ▲]

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See detailCoherence and many-body effects in the transport of Bose–Einstein condensates
Dujardin, Julien ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

This thesis presents investigations on the interplay of coherence and many-body effects in the quasi one-dimensional transport of Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) through scattering potentials. Such ... [more ▼]

This thesis presents investigations on the interplay of coherence and many-body effects in the quasi one-dimensional transport of Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) through scattering potentials. Such configurations can be realized with guided atom lasers that provide a coherent atomic beam. An exact theoretical description of the dynamics is out of reach due to the presence atom-atom interactions. Different levels of approximations are nevertheless possible with their strengths and weaknesses. The mean-field approximation, where the dynamics of the BEC is governed by the Gross-Pitaevskii equation, is most commonly used in the field of ultracold atoms. In this thesis the truncated Wigner method is used to go beyond the standard Gross-Pitaevskii description. This method is adapted in order to study the scattering of Bose-Einstein condensates in one-dimensional waveguides where atom-atom interactions and external potentials are nonvanishing only in a finite region of space. In this case, the truncated Wigner method is combined with the smooth exterior complex scaling method and incorporates quantum noise that originate from the vacuum fluctuations in the waveguide. Inelastic scattering is shown to play a major role in the resonant transport of BEC through a symmetric double potential barrier effectively forming an atomic quantum dot. Indeed, fully resonant transmission is prohibited and incoherent atoms as well as collective oscillations are detected in the transmitted beam. It is also shown that inelastic scattering destroys Anderson localization in the case of transport through disordered potentials. The classical (incoherent) ohmic transmission is recovered for finite atom-atom interactions. The validity of the truncated Wigner method is then assessed using the semiclassical van Vleck-Gutzwiller propagator in the Fock space of the many-body system. It is shown that the truncated Wigner method corresponds to the so-called diagonal approximation, and it is possible to identify the leading correction to the truncated Wigner results, which is provided by the so-called coherent backscattering (CBS) contribution. Coherent basckattering in Fock space is a genuine quantum many-body effect that lies beyond the reach of any mean-field approach. For the case of closed Bose-Hubbard models, the relevance of CBS is confirmed by numerically comparing the (classical) truncated Wigner evolution probabilities to the exact quantum probabilities in Bose-Hubbard models: While a CBS-induced enhancement of the return probability to the initial state is clearly seen in the exact quantum simulations of the bosonic many-body system, this enhancement is absent in the classical calculations. The magnitude and dependence of the CBS contribution on gauge fields, which break time-reversal invariance, is numerically confirmed. For the case of disordered open systems, it can be shown that this contribution as well as next-to leading order contributions vanish thereby confirming the validity of the truncated Wigner method. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de la mise en place du cytosquelette dans les cellules de l'organe de l'audition au cours du développement chez le rat
Johnen, Nicolas ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

An increasing number of people are affected by auditory deficiency. Several genes associated with deafness encode for cytoskeleton proteins that are expressed in cells of the inner ear. However, our ... [more ▼]

An increasing number of people are affected by auditory deficiency. Several genes associated with deafness encode for cytoskeleton proteins that are expressed in cells of the inner ear. However, our knowledge of cytoskeleton dynamics inside the inner ear is still incomplete. Up to now, most studies have principally focused on cytoskeleton organization at adult stages and not on its arrangement during development. In this work, we studied the development of the dynamic cytoskeleton structure in various cells of the rat organ of Corti, from its appearance at the 18th embryonic day (E18), to its functional state at the 25th post-natal day (P25). We used an indirect immunofluorescence method, which involves specific antibodies directed against different proteins from the three main types of cellular filaments: intermediate filaments (cytokeratines, vimentine), microtubules (βI–V-tubulin) and microfilaments (βcytoplasmic- and γcytoplasmic-actin). The labelling was performed on cryosections and then visualized through a laser scanning confocal microscope. A complementary ultrastructural analysis using transmission electronic microscopy was performed on select developmental timepoints. Our results clearly show that the cytoskeleton of the supporting cells plays a greater role in the development of the organ of Corti than that of the sensory hair cells. We observed an increase in the cytoskeletal organization of the supporting cells up to P6. We have shown that the cytoskeleton of supporting cells is highly developed during the deep disruptions of the auditory organ morphology appearing between P8 and P12. During this short period, we observed a partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which is marked by the temporary appearance of vimentine and a partial loss of cellular adhesion on the lateral face. At the same time, we also found a correlation between the onset of βV-tubulin expression and the formation of non-centrosomal microtubules arrays. Finally, the morphologically mature organ of Corti is characterized by a decrease of the cytoskeleton in some key regions of the cells. These observations underline the essential importance of the cytoskeleton in the maturation of the organ of Corti. [less ▲]

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See detailEnergetic study of solar-like oscillations in red giants
Grosjean, Mathieu ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Observations of solar-like oscillations by CoRoT and Kepler space-borne telescopes, have opened new opportunities for the energetic modelling of these oscillations. In particular, oscillations propagating ... [more ▼]

Observations of solar-like oscillations by CoRoT and Kepler space-borne telescopes, have opened new opportunities for the energetic modelling of these oscillations. In particular, oscillations propagating in both the convective envelope and the radiative core of evolved low-mass stars, called mixed-modes, have been detected, allowing us to investigate various physical processes acting on oscillations in these two regions. Theoretical predictions for the linewidths and the amplitudes of solar-like oscillations, as obtained and discussed in this thesis, strongly depend on the treatment of the interaction between convection and oscillations. Observed properties of solar-like oscillations thus gives us the opportunity to test and constrain this treatment. The comparisons between observed and theoretical linewidths of main-sequence stars allow us to constrain the parameters of the time-dependent treatment of convection and to produce more accurate results. The remaining discrepancies will give us new clues for the improvement of the treatment of the interaction between convection and oscillations. The modelling of the energetic aspects of solar-like oscillations in red giants allows us to derive a detectability limit for mixed-modes. These results are in overall good agreement with typical red-giant observed power spectra. A detailed comparison between an observed subgiant and the corresponding theoretical predic- tions confirms that the main aspects of the observed energetic properties of solar-like oscillations are well reproduced by the theoretical modelling. Discrepancies between observed and theoret- ical linewidths of quadrupole mixed-modes lead us to invoke the existence of a new damping mechanism in the core of this star. [less ▲]

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See detailStructural optimization of flexible components within a multibody dynamics approach
Tromme, Emmanuel ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Structural optimization techniques rely on mathematical foundations in order to reach an optimized design in a rational manner. Nowadays, these techniques are commonly used for industrial applications ... [more ▼]

Structural optimization techniques rely on mathematical foundations in order to reach an optimized design in a rational manner. Nowadays, these techniques are commonly used for industrial applications with impressive results but are mostly limited to (quasi-) static or frequency domain loadings. The objective of this thesis is to extend structural optimization techniques to account for dynamic load cases encountered in multibody applications. The thesis relies on a nonlinear finite element formalism for the multibody system simulation, which needs to be coupled with structural optimization techniques to perform the optimization of flexible components in an integrated way. To tackle this challenging optimization problem, two methods, namely the fully and the weakly coupled methods, are investigated. The fully coupled method incorporates the time response coming directly from the MBS in the optimization. The formulation of the time-dependent constraints are carefully investigated as it turns out that it drastically affects the convergence of the optimization process. Also, since gradient-based algorithms are employed, a semi-analytical method for sensitivity analysis is proposed. The weakly coupled method mimics the dynamic loading by a series of equivalent static loads (ESL) whereupon all the standard techniques of static response optimization can be employed. The ESL evaluation strongly depends on the formalism adopted to describe the MBS dynamics. In this thesis, the ESL evaluation is proposed for two nonlinear finite element formalisms: a classical formalism and a Lie group formalism. An original combination of a level set description of the component geometry with a particular mapping is adopted to parameterize the optimization problem. The approach combines the advantages of both shape and topology optimizations, leading to a generalized shape optimization problem. The adopted system-based optimization framework supersedes the classical component-based approach as the interactions between the component and the system can be consistently accounted for. [less ▲]

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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 detailAccurate Non-Iterative Modelling and Inference of Longitudinal Neuroimaging Data
Guillaume, Bryan ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Despite the growing importance of longitudinal data in neuroimaging, the standard analysis methods make restrictive or unrealistic assumptions. For example, the widely used SPM software package assumes ... [more ▼]

Despite the growing importance of longitudinal data in neuroimaging, the standard analysis methods make restrictive or unrealistic assumptions. For example, the widely used SPM software package assumes spatially homogeneous longitudinal correlations while the FSL software package assumes Compound Symmetry, the state of all equal variances and equal correlations. While some new methods have been recently pro- posed to more accurately account for such data, these methods can be difficult to specify and are based on iterative algorithms that are generally slow and failure- prone. In this thesis, we propose and investigate the use of the Sandwich Estimator method which first estimates the parameters of interest with a (non-iterative) Ordinary Least Square model and, second, estimates variances/covariances with the “so-called” Sandwich Estimator (SwE) which accounts for the within-subject covariance structure existing in longitudinal data. We introduce the SwE method in its classic form, and review existing and propose new adjustments to improve its behaviour, specifically in small samples. We compare the SwE method to other popular methods, isolating the combination of SwE adjustments that provides valid and powerful inferences. While this result provides p-values at each voxel, it does not provide spatial inferences, e.g. voxel- or cluster-wise family-wise error-corrected p-values. For this, we investigate the use of the non-parametric inference approach called Wild Bootstrap. We again identify the set of procedures and adjustments that provide valid inferences. Finally, in the third and fourth projects, we investigate two ideas to improve the statistical power of the SwE method, by using a shrinkage estimator or a covariance spatial smoothing, respectively. For all the projects, in order to assess the methods, we use intensive Monte Carlo simulations in settings important for longitudinal neuroimaging studies and, for the first two projects, we also illustrate the methods by analysing a highly unbalanced longitudinal dataset obtained from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. [less ▲]

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See detailHull Optimization of Medium-Speed Monohull Passenger Ferries
Hetharia, Wolter Roberth ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

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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 detailHormones, Simulated Microgravity and Hypergravity affect Bone and other Physiological Systems in Zebrafish Larvae
Aceto, Jessica ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are increasingly used for physiological, genetic and developmental studies. Understanding the consequences of altered gravity on bone development and on general physiology in an ... [more ▼]

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are increasingly used for physiological, genetic and developmental studies. Understanding the consequences of altered gravity on bone development and on general physiology in an entire organism remains to date incomplete. We used altered drug treatment and gravity experiments to evaluate their effects specifically on bone formation and more generally on whole genome gene expression. We started treatments at 5 days post-fertilization (dpf) and analyze early modifications in gene expression after 1 day using microarrays and the consequences on bone formation after 5 days using specific staining. We performed chemical treatments (Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D3), exposure to three different microgravity simulation devices (Clinostat, Random Positioning Machine and Rotating Wall Vessel) and finally exposure to hypergravity and "relative microgravity" in the Large Diameter Centrifuge. By combining morphometric tools with an objective scoring system for the state of development for each element in the head skeleton, and specific gene expression analysis, we confirmed and characterized in detail the decrease or increase of bone formation caused by a 5 day treatment (from 5dpf to 10dpf) with, respectively parathyroid hormone (PTH) or vitamin D3 (VitD3). Microarray transcriptome analysis after 24 hours treatment reveals a general effect on physiology upon VitD3 treatment, while PTH causes more specifically developmental effects. The microgravity simulators used were the 2D clinostat, random positioning machine and rotating wall vessel. Only clinorotation caused a significant decrease of bone formation when applied between 5 to 10dpf. This effect was not due to stress, as assessed by measuring cortisol levels in treated larvae. The two other devices caused no effect, or a slight acceleration of ossification. Gene expression results after one day in simulated microgravity indicate that musculo-skeletal, cardiavascular, and nuclear receptor systems are affected, however often in opposite directions in clinorotation compared to the two other devices. Based on the effects on bone formation and on the biological functions found to be affected, we conclude that clinorotation is the most appropriate method to simulate microgravity on ground when using free-swimming organisms such as zebrafish larvae. Hypergravity (3g from 5dpf to 9 dpf) exposure results in a significantly larger head and a significant increase in bone formation for a subset of the cranial bones. Gene expression analysis after 24hrs at 3g revealed differential expression of genes involved in the development and function of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Finally, we propose a novel type of experimental approach, the "Reduced Gravity Paradigm", by keeping the developing larvae at 3g hypergravity for the first 5 days before returning them to 1g for one additional day. 5 days exposure to 3g during these early stages also caused increased bone formation, while gene expression analysis revealed a central network of regulatory genes (hes5, sox10, lgals3bp, egr1, edn1, fos, fosb, klf2, gadd45ba and socs3a) whose expression was consistently affected by the transition from hyper- to normal gravity. [less ▲]

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See detailChondrogenic Differentiation in the growth Plate: a Computational Modelling Approach
Kerkhofs, Johan ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The specialization of cartilage cells, or chondrogenic differentiation, is an intricate and meticulously regulated process that plays a vital role in both bone formation and cartilage regeneration. This ... [more ▼]

The specialization of cartilage cells, or chondrogenic differentiation, is an intricate and meticulously regulated process that plays a vital role in both bone formation and cartilage regeneration. This PhD work centers on the development of computational models to study the molecular regulation of this process. First, we investigate how individual genes and their defects contribute to the overall change in functionality of the growth plate, where chondrogenic differentiation fuels bone growth. As each gene is influenced by a myriad of feedback mechanisms that keep its expression in a desirable range, predicting what will happen if one of these genes defaults is challenging. Therefore, we constructed a qualitative model, focusing on the process of bone formation, that simulates how the intricate interplay between the genes results in a functional growth plate morphology. This model allows the effect of gene knockouts or overexpression to be evaluated from a network perspective, and hence relates this genetic deficiency to the impairment of the gross bone formation on a tissue level. This knowledge can be of great assistance in the design and control of \textit{in vitro} bone tissue engineering processes. A framework with increased temporal and quantitative resolution is then used to study chondrocyte hypertrophy in an expanded network. Chondrocyte hypertrophy, a process in which cartilage cells enlarge and change their secretion profile to attract bone forming cells and blood vessels, is orchestrated on a molecular level by a switch between two ‘genetic programs’. In this switch, one set of transcription factors that represents chondrocyte proliferation competes with, and is ultimately replaced by, another set that represents hypertrophy. Since hypertrophy plays a vital role not only in the development the skeleton, but is also thought to be involved in several bone-related diseases, it has been studied extensively. We combine information of how individual factors that prevent or contribute to the hypertrophic switch interact in a computational model to develop a more global view of the regulatory network underlying hypertrophy. Through simulations of this regulatory network model we can perform an in silico screening for factors that greatly impact, positively or negatively, the decision to undergo hypertrophy. The results of this screening are checked for consistency using an ensemble approach. Specifically, a genetic algorithm is used to generate an ensemble of models, differing only in parameter values, whose qualitative dynamics match those observed in the growth plate. The range of behaviour exhibited by individual factors throughout this ensemble is mostly consistent. Additionally, a subset of the network topology is compared to that obtained by inference from growth plate expression profiles. Understanding how individual factors contribute to the hypertrophic switch in the context of the regulatory network has important repercussions in both cartilage and bone tissue engineering. Our approach further suggests several putative targets for intervention in disease processes where hypertrophy plays a role. In summary, this PhD offers and explores a series of tools that form a first step to a rigorous and systems-level understanding of chondrogenic differentiation. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamical modelling from resting-state brain imaging
Liegeois, Raphaël ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The statistical dependencies among neuroimaging time courses observed in different brain regions are collectively named functional connectivity (FC). This quantity is widely used in order to characterize ... [more ▼]

The statistical dependencies among neuroimaging time courses observed in different brain regions are collectively named functional connectivity (FC). This quantity is widely used in order to characterize normal brain functioning or neurodegenerative diseases. It is classically measured in a static way, by averaging the dependencies over the whole imaging acquisition. However, there is increasing evidence that considering the temporal fluctuations of FC leads to a finer description of FC properties and corresponding brain function. This observation is the starting point of the work developed throughout this thesis. First, we study the role of cerebral anatomy in the FC fluctuations. We observe that it guides transitions of FC between different patterns supporting consciousness-related processes such as mind wandering. Following this new characterisation of the fluctuating nature of FC, we develop statistical tools capturing static and dynamic properties of FC. We first introduce three markers of FC, collectively named spatiotemporal connectivity (STC), and computed from the power spectral density of the neuroimaging time series. STC captures spatial properties of FC, as classically computed, but also dynamical properties. We show on real data that STC provides a finer characterisation of FC, as well as higher robustness against inherent flaws of the imaging modality considered in our study. Then, in order to identify dynamical patterns of FC at the whole-brain level, we recast the concept of component analysis in the context of dynamical models. The corresponding development is based on a particular representation of statistical interactions: dynamical graphical models. We first propose an algorithm providing a decomposition of these models in a sparse contribution, reflecting parsimony of the direct interactions between cerebral regions, and a low-rank contribution, modelling the presence of hidden variables spreading a common behaviour in many of these regions. Then, we propose to interpret the identified hidden variables as dynamical neuronal networks, as for component analysis, but with an additional spectral characterisation of the corresponding components. In conclusion, this thesis presents descriptive contributions from the analyses of several datasets, and methodological contributions inspired from the properties of these datasets. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of feedback in maintaining robustness and modulation across scales: Insights from cellular and network neurophysiology
Dethier, Julie ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The brain is a complex system made of many components acting at very dif- ferent resolution levels, from the microsecond and nanometer scales with ion channels to hours and brain-wide scale with proteins ... [more ▼]

The brain is a complex system made of many components acting at very dif- ferent resolution levels, from the microsecond and nanometer scales with ion channels to hours and brain-wide scale with proteins. The brain dynamics and functions emerge from the interactions between these resolution levels. Math- ematical modeling is a powerful ally to uncover some of the brain organizing principles and mechanisms. From this perspective, the question of which cel- lular details must be retained at the network level is largely open. Motifs simplify systems by approximating the wiring diagram and by taking advantage of the timescale separation between processes. Yet, motifs study each resolution level separately and neglect couplings between levels. This approach falls short of system-level questions and multiresolution intrinsic properties. The present dissertation aims at narrowing the gap by looking at the inter- play between resolution levels. We propose to extract essential elements, in the form of feedback loops, to be maintained from one resolution to the next in the hope of a better understanding of brain functions and diseases. The focus is on the spatiotemporal upscaling from the neuron to the network level and, in particular, on the maintenance of modulation and robustness properties across scales. This approach is used in a two-neuron network and is extended to a prospective multiresolution excitability framework. The main contributions of this dissertation are the following. We identify the key role of a cellular feedback loop for network oscillation robustness and modulation. Rhythms are crucial in the brain functioning but much awaits to be understood regarding their control, regulation, and function. In a mutually-inhibitory network, we isolate an essential cellular property—a positive feedback loop in the slow timescale—to be retained at the network level to ensure modulation and robustness of network oscillations. We highlight the peculiar role that a cellular feedback loop can play for the regulation of network switches. We identify that a cellular positive feedback loop brings localization properties, both temporally and spatially, to network oscillations. The emerging picture suggests a basal ganglia network model valid both in healthy movement-related oscillations and in parkinsonian conditions. Multiresolution excitability emerges due to localization properties of ex- citable systems: different excitability resolution windows can be superposed and interact, generating multiresolution systems. In each window, the system is characterized via its transfer properties and input-output behavior. Signal processing properties appear in these multiresolution systems and endow mul- tiresolution objects with gating and multiplex signaling capabilities. In conclusion, the present dissertation provides novel insights on the impor- tance of the interplay between cellular and network levels. This multiresolution motif perspective is thought to be general and not specific to neuroscience. Fi- nally, exploiting the concept in multiresolution technologies is suggested. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude et caractérisation de mousses aqueuses sous contrainte
Bronfort, Ariane ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

De nombreuses questions subsistent quant à la nature d’une interface entre une mousse et une solution. Ce travail concerne l’influence des conditions aux limites au niveau d’une telle interface sur le ... [more ▼]

De nombreuses questions subsistent quant à la nature d’une interface entre une mousse et une solution. Ce travail concerne l’influence des conditions aux limites au niveau d’une telle interface sur le volume de mousse lorsqu’elle est perturbée par une contrainte extérieure. Le lien entre mousse et interface a été étudié dans deux situations différentes : une contrainte normale et une contrainte tangentielle. L’instabilité de Faraday permet de soumettre l’interface à une contrainte normale périodique. L’influence de la géométrie du système a été investiguée pour une surface libre. La modification de la longueur d’onde a été expliquée en terme d’augmentation de l’énergie interfaciale. La perte d’énergie a également été modélisée à l’aide de trois sources : la viscosité de la solution, la présence de molécules de surfactants à la surface et la condition de non-glissement aux parois. L’interaction entre une mousse et l’instabilité de Faraday est ensuite étudiée. La dissipation visqueuse est augmentée par la présence de bulles et a pu être modélisée à l’aide de considérations énergétiques. Il a également été montré qu’un faible nombre de couches de bulles est suffisant pour amortir efficacement toute perturbation de l’interface. La contrainte tangentielle est appliquée à l’interface grâce à un dispositif inspiré des milieux granulaires permettant la rotation d’une cellule de Hele-Shaw autour de son centre. Dans un tel dispositif, les caractéristiques de la mousse et de l’interface varient. Deux modèles prédictifs permettent d’expliquer l’évolution temporelle de la fraction de liquide moyenne. Des outils statistiques ont permis de définir une relation entre les déformations des bulles et les caractéristiques macroscopiques de la mousse. Grâce à la modélisation de l’écoulement, un lien a été établi entre le gradient de pression interne de la mousse et la déformation de l’interface. Finalement, nos résultats sont comparés à ceux obtenus pour des ensembles granulaires dans un dispositif expérimental similaire. [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 detailAnalyse du déterminisme génétique de l’inhibition de la synthèse du gossypol dans la graine chez la descendance de l’hybride [(Gossypium hirsutum L. x G. raimondii Ulb.)² x G. sturtianum Willis]
Diouf, Fatimata Bintou Hassédine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Several analyses were performed in advanced generations of HRS [(Gossypium hirsutum x G. raimondii) ² x G. sturtianum] hybrid. These were obtained by backcrossing and selfing HRS plants expressing the ... [more ▼]

Several analyses were performed in advanced generations of HRS [(Gossypium hirsutum x G. raimondii) ² x G. sturtianum] hybrid. These were obtained by backcrossing and selfing HRS plants expressing the glanded-plant and glandless-seed trait of G. sturtianum. The purpose is to understand why it is not possible to fix this target character in the HRS progeny. Thus, HRS BC2S5, BC2S6, BC2S7, BC3S4, ♂BC4S3, ♂BC4S4, ♀BC4S3 and ♀BC4S4 plant populations were studied. Agro-morphological observations carried out on the studied plant material showed in all analyzed progenies significant fertility problems as manifested by high rates of embryo abortion, poor germination of seeds and premature mortality of many seedlings. Moreover, major phenotypic differences were observed between the HRS plants and upland cotton. Genomic in situ hybridization analysis (GISH) demonstrated that the magnitude of these problems is related to the importance of the presence of genetic material of the Australian species in HRS hybrids. The analysis of the plant material with the 10 SSRs markers, mapped on c2-c14, c3-c17, and c6-c25 linkage groups of G. hirsutum, points out very important segregation distortions (SD). Genotypic profiles were almost always heterozygous. These SD are caused by gametic and/or zygotic selections that occur respectively before and/or after fertilization. GISH showed the presence of one (1) to four (4) whole G. sturtianum chromosomes and one to two large fragments of G. sturtianum chromosomes. This structural heterozygosity is implicated in the SD observed. However, the massive presence of alien genetic material hardly affected the chromosome pairing and pollen fertility of the analyzed hybrid plants. This is contradictory to the observed SD and suggests a certain genetic balance in the analysed hybrids. It thus indicates no, or very weak interaction between the chromosomes of G. sturtianum and those of G. hirsutum into the genome of HRS derivatives. The expression of the desired character is very complex, but it is certain that: (i) the factors responsible for the desired trait are better transmitted through the ovule than the pollen, (ii) the alleles involved in the expression of the target trait operate both according to the additive and epistatic models, (iii) the increase of the G. hirsutum genetics background in the most advanced generations of the HRS hybrid is accompanied by a decrease of the expression of the desired trait, (iv) seeds viability problems affect both seeds with or without gossypol glands, whether they are well formed or malformed, showing the independence between at least a part of the imbalance factors and those related to the expression of researched character. Several G. sturtianum genes appear to be involved in the control of the target trait. However, the strong SD that characterizes the analyzed plants questions the reliability of this result obtained through single-marker analysis. A resumption of the breeding program using agro-morphological characterization tools, SSR and GISH, in the early generations of backcrossing, should help to better guide the selection program towards obtaining stable plants that express the character. [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 (MS) curve for each section has been developed, highlighting the strong link between the MS signatures and the syn-sedimentary parameters, such as carbonate productivity/sedimentation rate, water agitation and siliciclastic input. The comparison between MS and elemental geochemistry datasets has demonstrated the inherent-parallel link existing between the siliciclastic input proxies and the variation in MS signature in each of the sections. Magnetic hysteresis measurements have shown that ferromagnetic minerals such as magnetite control the MS signal. By comparing our data sets with published data we could confirm that our MS signal is remagnetized. However links between siliciclastic input proxies and MS, and between MS and environmental parameters have proven a relatively good preservation of the primary depositionally-induced MS signal. Finally, by integrating complete data and establishing a correlation chart including the four long-term MS curves, it is apparent that on a regional scale long-term MS 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 MS 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 MS 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 detailComposite dark matter and direct-search experiments
Wallemacq, Quentin ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

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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 detailAb-initio study of thermoelectricity of layered tellurium compounds
Ibarra Hernández, Wilfredo ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

In this thesis, we explore the electronic, dynamic and thermoelectric properties of different tellurium-based compounds. We perform ab-initio calculations within the Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package ... [more ▼]

In this thesis, we explore the electronic, dynamic and thermoelectric properties of different tellurium-based compounds. We perform ab-initio calculations within the Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package (VASP) that works in the framework of Density Functional Theory (DFT). For the thermoelectric properties, we use the Boltztrap code that solves the Boltzmann Transport Equations (BTE) for electrons within the Constant Relaxation Time Approximation (CRTA). This computational package allows us to obtain accurate values of the Seebeck coefficient as a function of temperature and carrier concentration (this last with the help of the rigid band approximation). While for the calculation of the lattice contribution to the thermal conductivity, we use the ShengBTE code that solves the BTE for phonons iteratively. The first tellurium-based compound that we study is the best room temperature thermoelectric material, Bi2Te3. We obtain results comparable with experimental data for the Seebeck coefficient at room temperature and pressure. Afterwards, we proceed to explore the evolution of the electronic properties and the thermoelectric performance under pressures up to 5 GPa. We reproduce the overall trend of the Seebeck coefficient as a function of pressure for two different values of doping, however, our results do not reproduce the small improvement found in experiments close to 1 GPa. Nevertheless, we support the experimental evidence of an Electronic Topological Transition (ETT) around 2 GPa and we explain this particular behavior. We also perform calculations on the tellurium-based phase-change materials (GeTe)x(Sb2Te3)1 (with x = 1, 2, 3). We show results for different stacking configurations since for some compositions, the stacking arrangement of the atoms in the primitive cell is still unsettled. We find that the change of the atomic arrangement leads to the systems to go from semiconductors to metals. We find that the semiconductor arrangements systematically overestimate the experimental values for the Seebeck coefficient, whereas the metallic stacking sequences are in very good agreement with the experimental data for the Seebeck coefficient and for the lattice contribution to the thermal conductivity. We show that (GeTe)x(Sb2Te3)1 materials could reach values of ZT=0.5 around 600 K with a proper optimization of S with respect to the carrier concentration. We also report that in the case of x=3, the most accepted stacking configuration is dynamically unstable, therefore we proposed another sequence. Finally, we discuss the discrepancies between our work and recent theoretical reports that claim the existence of a Dirac-cone like band structure for (GeTe)2(Sb2Te3)1. We explain the conditions necessary to obtain such electronic topology. [less ▲]

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See detailImportance des résidus lysine 70 et tryptophane 154 sur la structure, la stabilité, la carbonatation et l'activité de la béta-lactamase OXA-10 de Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Baurin, Stéphane ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

SUMMARY : This thesis was conducted to highlight the biochemical and structures impact of conserved residues of the beta-lactamase OXA-10 isolated from P. aeruginosa. The beta-lactamase OXA-10 production ... [more ▼]

SUMMARY : This thesis was conducted to highlight the biochemical and structures impact of conserved residues of the beta-lactamase OXA-10 isolated from P. aeruginosa. The beta-lactamase OXA-10 production is one of the main responsible to the beta-lactam antibiotics resistance of Pseudomonas strains. This work is subdivided in five chapters. The first is focused on the organization of class D beta-lactamase in sub classes. We have created by identity analysis, 21 sub classes that reflect an easy discrimination between proteins variability and mutants. This methodology is able to organize the enzymes as function of a parental enzyme but also based on the substrate profiles. The second chapter regroups the studies that target the importance of the residue tryptophan 154 carried by the Omega loop. The substitution of the residue tryptophan 154 by an alanine, a glycine or an phenylalanine leads to a large decrease of i) the catalytic activity, ii) of the affinity toward to CO2 and iii) on the enzyme stability. The structural data show an absence of lysine 70 modification and a large modification of the hydrogen network throughout the mutants structures. The various complexes resolved by R-x diffraction of the W154A mutant indicate that the deacylation rate is the most impacted. The third chapter makes an analogy between the available structural informations of others proteins characterized by a carboxylation modification. Others serine enzymes known to be not modified were also integrated in the analysis. The data reveal that the presence of a tryptophan residue seems to be necessary. We notice the presence of a large hydrophobic area with various shape near of the modified lysines. The calculation of the theoretical pKa values of the lysines seems to indicate a large decrease of the values that lead to an unprotonated form at physiological pH. The fourth chapter describes, the role of the lysine 70. The substitution of the lysine by a cysteine or a glutamate leads to a large decrease of the catalytic activity and an absence of carboxylation. At the opposite, the protein stability is not impacted, and an increase of stability is observed for the K70C mutant. The structural data show that the overall fold and structures localization are conserved. The complex obtained with the nitrocefin proves that the mutant is always able to react with the beta-lactams compounds and show that the deacylation step is rate limiting. Finally, the last chapter regroups the effect of pH on the structure, the dimerization, the stability and the catalytic activity. The data show that in the tested conditions the OXA-10 beta-lactamase is in a dimeric form at physiological pH. The addition of CO2, leads the formation of a more compact enzyme form. At high pH (10), the monomer is observed, while a fast equilibrium between the monomer and the dimer is observed between the pH 7.5 and 10. The enzyme is characterized with similar stability as function of pH. The addition of CO2 leads an increase of the stabilities. In tested conditions, the OXA-10 beta-lactamase is characterized by two optimum pH in presence or not of CO2. The CO2 addition leads to a large increase of the catalytic constant. The biophysics' studies reveal that in absence of CO2, subtle modifications are observed as function of pH, but that the addition of CO2 leads theirs disappearance. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst-Principles Study on the Lattice Dynamics and Thermoelectric Properties of Materials
Miao, Naihua ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Thermoelectricity has been regarded as one of the most promising strategies for clean, low-cost and environmental friendly sustainable energy for several decades. Perovskite oxides, like SrRuO3, are ... [more ▼]

Thermoelectricity has been regarded as one of the most promising strategies for clean, low-cost and environmental friendly sustainable energy for several decades. Perovskite oxides, like SrRuO3, are considered as a potential thermoelectric material for low-cost and large-scale thermoelectric applications due to their good thermal and chemical stability in a wide temperature range, great flexibility for structural and compositional manipulating, and environmental friendliness. This thesis is devoted to a theoretical study of the lattice dynamics and thermoelectric properties of materials, like SrRuO3 perovskite and MgAgSb-based materials. Firstly, to obtain insight into the lattice dynamics of the SrRuO3, the phonon-related properties are presented and contributes to rationalize better why many ABO3 perovskites, including metallic compounds, exhibit an orthorhombic ground state. Then the thermoelectric properties of SrRuO3 are investigated by combining first-principles calculations and Boltzmann transport theory, revealing the relationship between the exchange-correlation functionals and the thermoelectric quantities. Furthermore, based on the first-principles calculations, effective model potentials for SrRuO3 are constructed providing access to the finite-temperature properties and phase-transitions. Additionally, the electronic structure and thermoelectric properties of a class of new emerging MgAgSb-based materials, which are promising for room-temperature thermoelectric applications, are also studied and the optimization strategies are proposed for the improvement of thermoelectric performance. [less ▲]

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See detailApproche contingente du design du système d’information comptable dans les PMI tunisiennes : une étude fondée sur les équations structurelles
Ghorbel, Jihene ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Malgré les recherches sur le système d’information comptable dans les PME, les résultats trouvés sont mitigés et contradictoires. Ainsi, nous essayons à travers ce travail de contribuer au débat relatif ... [more ▼]

Malgré les recherches sur le système d’information comptable dans les PME, les résultats trouvés sont mitigés et contradictoires. Ainsi, nous essayons à travers ce travail de contribuer au débat relatif au design du système d’information comptable dans les PMI des pays en voie de développement comme la Tunisie. En effet, le système d'information comptable, considéré comme un facteur de compétitivité des entreprises, fournit aux gestionnaires l'information comptable pertinente pour les aider dans leur prise de décision. Nous nous intéressons à une série de facteurs structurels et comportementaux susceptibles de mieux cerner le design du système d’information comptable. Une étude empirique menée par l'adoption de la technique du questionnaire auprès de 221 entreprises tunisiennes opérant exclusivement dans le secteur industriel montre que le design du système d'information comptable est influencé par plusieurs facteurs contextuels, en utilisant les méthodes des équations structurelles. [less ▲]

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See detailFrom mucosal resistance of larvae to behavioral fever of fingerlings: a journey in the innate immune defenses of common carp against cyprinid herpesvirus 3
Ronsmans, Maygane ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) is a highly pathogenic virus responsible for a lethal disease in both common and koi carp (Cyprinus carpio). The common carp is one of the most important freshwater species ... [more ▼]

Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) is a highly pathogenic virus responsible for a lethal disease in both common and koi carp (Cyprinus carpio). The common carp is one of the most important freshwater species cultivated for human consumption. Its colourful subspecies koi is grown for personal pleasure and exhibitions. Both common and koi carp are economically important and since its description in the late 1990s, the CyHV-3 has caused severe financial losses in these two carp industries worldwide. Because of its economic importance and its numerous original biological properties, CyHV 3 became rapidly an attractive subject for both applied and fundamental research. The objectives of this thesis were to investigate the role of two unrelated innate immune mechanisms of carp in anti-CyHV-3 immunity. The first objective was to determine the role of epidermal mucus as an innate immune barrier against CyHV-3 entry during the early developmental stages of carp. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the sensitivity and the permissivity of carp to CyHV-3 during the early stages of its development. This hypothesis was tested using a recombinant CyHV-3 strain expressing luciferase as a constitutive reporter gene and in vivo bioluminescence imaging system. We demonstrated that carp are sensitive and permissive to CyHV 3 infection since hatching, but that their sensitivity remains relatively low in the two early developmental stages. Similarly to adults, we confirmed that the skin is the main portal of entry for the virus at early stages, and our results stress out the role of epidermal mucus as an innate immune defense of carp against pathogens even and especially at the early stages of development. The results of this study have been published in Veterinary research. The second objective of this thesis consisted to investigate whether carp express behavioral fever when infected by CyHV-3; and if so, what could be the effect of this innate immune reaction on the development of CyHV 3 disease. When infected by pathogens, both endotherms and ectotherms can express a salutary reaction by increasing their body temperature. While in endotherms this reaction is called fever and depends on intrinsic thermogenesis, ectotherms like teleosts can only upregulate their body temperature by moving to warmer places, hence the term behavioral fever. When studying the pathogenesis of CyHV-3, we observed that carp infected at 24°C (the thermal preference of healthy carp) tended to concentrate around the tank heater when it was running. This observation led us to postulate that infected subjects could express behavioral fever in natural environments where temperature gradients exist. Using multi-chamber tanks encompassing a gradient from 24°C to 32°C, we observed that carp infected by CyHV-3 express a salutary behavioral fever that completely suppresses virus induced mortalities. The relatively late onset of behavioral fever with respect to clinical signs, viral replication and cytokine upregulation led us to postulate that this phenomenon could be delayed by the virus to retain its host at a permissive temperature thereby favoring its replication and spreading. As some herpesviruses have been shown to express soluble decoy cytokine receptors, we hypothesized that CyHV-3 could express such receptor(s) able to neutralize putative pyrogenic cytokines produced by the fish. We found that CyHV-3 ORF12 encodes a soluble decoy receptor for carp Tnfα and that this viral protein makes the virus capable of delaying the migration of infected fish to warmer environments. Remarkably, the study of the molecular mechanism through which the virus alters its host’s behavior led to the discovery of the first pyrogenic cytokine in ectotherms (Tnfα). This study is the first to report the ability of a vertebrate virus to alter the behavior of its host through the expression of a single gene. This second study was submitted for publication when this thesis was printed. In conclusion, we investigated two innate immune mechanisms expressed by carp against CyHV 3 infection. The results generated in this thesis bring findings related to several scientific fields such as virology, immunology, animal behavior, evolution, ecology and even animal welfare. [less ▲]

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See detailGestion du risque associé au cycle de vie des méthodes analytiques : Applications aux molécules de faibles poids moléculaires analysées par Spectrométrie de Masse
Hubert, Cédric ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Analytical method lifecycle is composed of several steps, but always starts with a question defining the problem. Analytical method performances are consequently specified by the analyst trough the ... [more ▼]

Analytical method lifecycle is composed of several steps, but always starts with a question defining the problem. Analytical method performances are consequently specified by the analyst trough the definition of the “Analytical Target Profile (ATP)”, as proposed by the regulatory bodies. Subsequent steps (namely the development and validation steps) then take place, followed by routine use of the analytical procedure. In the specific context of the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory authorities have recently imposed the assessment and management of risk throughout the entire product lifecycle. This includes the analytical procedure and consequently its own lifecycle. Working in this context, our concerns were initially focused on the validation step of the method lifecycle. Indeed, the objective of analytical method validation is to demonstrate that this method is suited for quantifying the target analytes with an established and suitable level of accuracy, as defined by the “ATP”. This is sometimes called the “fit-for-future-purpose” concept. In the course of this study we have experimentally confirmed that a decision regarding the validity of a method based on prediction can be achieved by using the “β-expectation tolerance interval” (accuracy profile) as a decision tool. Indeed, it seemed essential to demonstrate the capability of this approach to manage a part of the analytical risk before addressing the development step. Typically this step of the analytical procedure lifecycle is addressed using a “Changing One Separate Factor a Time (COST)” approach (also known as the “Quality-by-Testing (QbT)” approach). By means of a complex case study, and considering validation of the method through the accuracy profile, we have shown that this strategy can lead to a suitable method for assessing the risk of routine use, even where the experimental domain is not examined. In order to consider an experimental domain rather than a set of specific experimental conditions during the development phase, we have evaluated a multivariate approach: the “Quality-by-Design (QbD)” strategy. This strategy allows the definition of a “Design Space (DS)” by means of design of experiments (DoE). This DS, computed considering critical method parameters, allows the analyst to focus on the main objective of an analytical method: obtaining reliable results using a robust method. A comparative study of the QbT versus QbD approach was performed. In the course of this study, the benefits of the QbD strategy in terms of managing the qualitative part of the analytical risk were highlighted. Finally, we have focused our research on the development of a global strategy allowing the unification of the development and validation phases in a single step. With this innovative approach, we are the first to propose a strategy allowing the management of global analytical risk (i.e., both qualitative and quantitative risk). Indeed, we have demonstrated that it is possible to validate an experimental domain by means of the accuracy profile. With this innovative strategy, the DS is no longer simply the place where qualitative performances are obtained, but also the space where quantitative performances of the analytical procedure are assessed and managed. In conclusion, during this thesis, we have confirmed the predictive capabilities of the accuracy profile. Moreover, we have highlighted the benefits of a QbD strategy in terms of risk management. We have also demonstrated that this methodology can be used as a learning tool, facilitating the continuous improvement of the analytical procedure. Furthermore, with the innovative strategy presented during the latter part of this work, we have demonstrated that qualitative and quantitative risk can be assessed and managed throughout the entire analytical method lifecycle. [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 detailA Feasibility Study of Direct Injection Spraying Technology for Small Scale Farms: Modeling and Design of A Process Control System
El Aissaoui, Abdellah ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

El Aissaoui Abdellah (2015). A feasibility study of direct injection spraying technology for Small Scale Farming: Modeling and design of a process control system. University of Liege-Gembloux Agro-Bio ... [more ▼]

El Aissaoui Abdellah (2015). A feasibility study of direct injection spraying technology for Small Scale Farming: Modeling and design of a process control system. University of Liege-Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech. Belgium. 175p., 11 tabl., 75 fig. The study aims to develop a process controller of direct injection spraying system (DIS) that can fit to carry out precise chemical application using variable rate application based on speed sensing in the context of small scale farming. It has the specific objectives of studying the feasibility of DIS by optimizing the hydraulic system and the process control designs as the main requirements for the best system reactivity and performance. The final design of DIS assessed to implement hydraulic system (hardware) and process controller (software) of a sprayer framework mounted on a rolling chariot propelled by walker operator. A logical approach is used of reviewing the state of art and formulating a specification book to develop a cost effective prototype to eventually adapt DIS expertise to the context of small scale farming. The demarche consists on giving low cost solution of variable rate technology to solve the technical problems related to usage and inefficiency of pesticide application mainly done by portable sprayers. The state of art gives a light on the development process of direct injection spraying technology (DIS) within the scope of precision agriculture progress. It also deals with technical options, advantages and problems related to DIS and control engineering solutions developed for improving spraying application efficiency and safety measures for human and environment. After that we have specified requirements of the researched DIS prototype by referring to existing art of DIS technologies and by diagnosing problems of chemical application in the context of small scale farming. It concerns specifically the technical requirements, setting values and performance of DIS process controller according to the working conditions of intensive cropping in small farming. The materials and methods consist on presenting the approach used for modeling the DIS prototype (splitting the problematic to the two main design aspects of hydraulic system and process control system) and evaluating it in laboratory conditions using simulated velocity data input. The data acquisition system is implemented for assessing the performance of DIS hydraulic and process controller performances. After that, the process controller is implemented in a cost effective electronic kit (box) to be mounted on a small sprayer framework propelled by worker. The hydraulic modeling of DIS served for optimizing the lag transport task as main problem of system reactivity performance and concentration process change. An algorithm is implemented in VB program to assess effect of hydraulic serial boom design (diameter and number of mounted nozzles in serial scheme) on flow dynamic to find compromise between lag transport, mixing ability (turbulence) and friction loss tasks that yield lateral and longitudinal uniformities application of standard boom layout. The modeling results showed lag transport and uniformity of respectively 2 s and 96 % for optimal conventional boom of 6 mm inner diameter having ten tip nozzles (ISO11003, 1.2 L/min~3bars). To solve systematic problem of lateral miss uniformity of serial boom layout (standard scheme), improved parallel boom layout (equidistant tubing lines of 4 mm diameter) is adopted for obtaining an even lag transport between nozzles. The test of parallel boom layout showed even lag transport approximating 1.5 s for ten mounted nozzles. The total response time of DIS is optimally improved to be within 2.5 s by installing electrical pumps close to boom and injecting chemical in suction side to the carrier pump assumed to perform online mixing without use of static mixer. The PID feedback controller is modeled in MATLABTM software. The process is considered as a first order process having a time constant of 0.2 s and a delay transport less than 2 s. Two control strategies of constant carrier flow control (CCFC) and total flow control (TFC) are modeled and implemented for test in laboratory conditions. Both strategies were tested and evaluated on the basis of different solicitations of variable speed input within the range of 0 - 2 m/s as a field working condition of walker operating a rolling sprayer chariot. Finally, on the basis of the results of modeling and experimental assessment, an affordable kit of PLC process controller and PWM modules for actuating carrier pump and metering pump is performed in compact electronic box for potential usage on small sprayer framework to be propelled by walker operator in agricultural field. The controller is based on a PLC microcontroller implemented for carrying out a constant carrier flow rate and a variable chemical injection rate proportionally to the operating speed. The prototype is tested for applying variable rate application using simulated step solicitations within the range of the operator working conditions of 0 - 2 m/s. The study showed the feasibility of implementing a cost effective process controller design for applying variable rate chemical in small farming context. The controller is adaptable for sprayer mounted on wheeled chariot to be propelled by worker assumed to walk at variable velocity. [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 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 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 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 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 detailDe quels marchés boursiers l’Afrique a-t-elle besoin pour son développement ? Au-delà des illusions, une étude précise de l’attractivité et de l’efficience des marchés boursiers africains
Teuwa Nkeuwo, Mathieu Hugues ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Les marchés boursiers africains ont connu durant ces deux dernières décennies de profondes mutations et une évolution en terme numérique. Face à ces changements et aux impératifs de rentabilité, ces ... [more ▼]

Les marchés boursiers africains ont connu durant ces deux dernières décennies de profondes mutations et une évolution en terme numérique. Face à ces changements et aux impératifs de rentabilité, ces marchés sont entrés dans une logique de concurrence. Ce faisant, ils se doivent aujourd’hui d’offrir à leurs clients des services de qualité supérieure à des coûts compétitifs. Pendant ce temps, le continent africain connaît, depuis ces dernières années, une progression de sa croissance économique et fait l’objet d’attractivité et de convoitise de la part des investisseurs étrangers. L’objectif de cette thèse est de déterminer le type de marché boursier dont l’Afrique a besoin pour stimuler sa croissance économique, dans un environnement concurrentiel marqué par une double évo- lution sous les angles de la croissance économique et de la dynamique des marchés boursiers. Pour atteindre cet objectif, ce travail analyse, d’une part, la relation entre le développement des marchés boursiers et la croissance, l’attractivité et l’ef cience des marchés boursiers africains et examine, d’autre part, le potentiel d’économies d’échelle et/ou de gamme des dépositaires centraux des titres. Des résultats de l’étude, il ressort que les marchés boursiers africains sont, dans l’ensemble, peu attractifs des points de vue de la négociation des investisseurs et de la cotation des entrepri- ses, exceptions faites des bourses de Johannesburg et d’Ile Maurice. La majorité des marchés présentent un potentiel d’économies d’échelle et connaissent néanmoins, des problèmes de gestion stratégique. La thèse révèle que, bien que le développement du marché boursier joue un rôle dans la croissance économique, les marchés boursiers, captés par les indicateurs (scores d’attractivité des entreprises et des investisseurs) stimulent davantage la croissance que lorsqu’ils sont captés par des indicateurs traditionnels (la capitalisation boursière au PIB et le turnover). On peut con- clure qu’il ne suf t pas pour un pays africain de posséder un marché boursier pour béné cier d’un quelconque effet de levier de ce marché sur sa croissance économique, mais qu’il faudrait que ce marché soit performant, compétitif et attractif pour les entreprises et les investisseurs. Dans ce con- texte, la création des marchés boursiers en Afrique ne devrait plus reposer sur des considérations de mode, mais devrait répondre à des besoins et à des perspectives de concurrence prometteuse de développement et de croissance économique. [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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