Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Search results for: Veronique Gregorec

12 Service Delivery Process in the Luxury Hotel Industry in Dubai: A Hoteliers’ Perspective

Authors: Veronique Gregorec, Prakash Vel, Collins A. Brobbey

Abstract:

Service delivery process in the face of ever changing customer expectations could not have been more important in glamorous Dubai luxury hotel service sector. Based on in-depth discussions with Dubai luxury hotel service pioneers, customer expectations, service processes, customer complaining behavior, and service recovery strategies in the luxury hotel industry are evaluated from the perspectives of service providers. Findings are in agreement with the statement that in the service industry the customer is not always right, and that hotel service providers have acknowledged the need to take extra measures towards individualized and personal service experience delivery. Ultimately, hoteliers set highest standards at all stages of the service delivery process in order to achieve positive and high customer ratings in all customer evaluation areas.

Keywords: luxury hotels, Dubai hotels, Dubai hospitality industry, guest service process

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11 Outdoor Visible Light Communication Channel Modeling under Fog and Smoke Conditions

Authors: Véronique Georlette, Sebastien Bette, Sylvain Brohez, Nicolas Point, Veronique Moeyaert

Abstract:

Visible light communication (VLC) is a communication technology that is part of the optical wireless communication (OWC) family. It uses the visible and infrared spectrums to send data. For now, this technology has widely been studied for indoor use-cases, but it is sufficiently mature nowadays to consider the outdoor environment potentials. The main outdoor challenges are the meteorological conditions and the presence of smoke due to fire or pollutants in urban areas. This paper proposes a methodology to assess the robustness of an outdoor VLC system given the outdoor conditions. This methodology is put into practice in two realistic scenarios, a VLC bus stop, and a VLC streetlight. The methodology consists of computing the power margin available in the system, given all the characteristics of the VLC system and its surroundings. This is done thanks to an outdoor VLC communication channel simulator developed in Python. This simulator is able to quantify the effects of fog and smoke thanks to models taken from environmental and fire engineering scientific literature as well as the optical power reaching the receiver. These two phenomena impact the communication by increasing the total attenuation of the medium. The main conclusion drawn in this paper is that the levels of attenuation due to fog and smoke are in the same order of magnitude. The attenuation of fog being the highest under the visibility of 1 km. This gives a promising prospect for the deployment of outdoor VLC uses-cases in the near future.

Keywords: channel modeling, fog modeling, meteorological conditions, optical wireless communication, smoke modeling, visible light communication

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10 Design of a Pneumonia Ontology for Diagnosis Decision Support System

Authors: Sabrina Azzi, Michal Iglewski, Véronique Nabelsi

Abstract:

Diagnosis error problem is frequent and one of the most important safety problems today. One of the main objectives of our work is to propose an ontological representation that takes into account the diagnostic criteria in order to improve the diagnostic. We choose pneumonia disease since it is one of the frequent diseases affected by diagnosis errors and have harmful effects on patients. To achieve our aim, we use a semi-automated method to integrate diverse knowledge sources that include publically available pneumonia disease guidelines from international repositories, biomedical ontologies and electronic health records. We follow the principles of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry. The resulting ontology covers symptoms and signs, all the types of pneumonia, antecedents, pathogens, and diagnostic testing. The first evaluation results show that most of the terms are covered by the ontology. This work is still in progress and represents a first and major step toward a development of a diagnosis decision support system for pneumonia.

Keywords: Clinical decision support system, Diagnostic errors, Ontology, Pneumonia

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9 Accumulation of Trace Metals in Leaf Vegetables Cultivated in High Traffic Areas in Ghent, Belgium

Authors: Veronique Troch, Wouter Van der Borght, Véronique De Bleeker, Bram Marynissen, Nathan Van der Eecken, Gijs Du Laing

Abstract:

Among the challenges associated with increased urban food production are health risks from food contamination, due to the higher pollution loads in urban areas, compared to rural sites. Therefore, the risks posed by industrial or traffic pollution of locally grown food, was defined as one of five high-priority issues of urban agriculture requiring further investigation. The impact of air pollution on urban horticulture is the subject of this study. More particular, this study focuses on the atmospheric deposition of trace metals on leaf vegetables cultivated in the city of Ghent, Belgium. Ghent is a particularly interesting study site as it actively promotes urban agriculture. Plants accumulate heavy metals by absorption from contaminated soils and through deposition on parts exposed to polluted air. Accumulation of trace metals in vegetation grown near roads has been shown to be significantly higher than those grown in rural areas due to traffic-related contaminants in the air. Studies of vegetables demonstrated, that the uptake and accumulation of trace metals differed among crop type, species, and among plant parts. Studies on vegetables and fruit trees in Berlin, Germany, revealed significant differences in trace metal concentrations depending on local traffic, crop species, planting style and parameters related to barriers between sampling site and neighboring roads. This study aims to supplement this scarce research on heavy metal accumulation in urban horticulture. Samples from leaf vegetables were collected from different sites, including allotment gardens, in Ghent. Trace metal contents on these leaf vegetables were analyzed by ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry). In addition, precipitation on each sampling site was collected by NILU-type bulk collectors and similarly analyzed for trace metals. On one sampling site, different parameters which might influence trace metal content in leaf vegetables were analyzed in detail. These parameters are distance of planting site to the nearest road, barriers between planting site and nearest road, and type of leaf vegetable. For comparison, a rural site, located farther from city traffic and industrial pollution, was included in this study. Preliminary results show that there is a high correlation between trace metal content in the atmospheric deposition and trace metal content in leaf vegetables. Moreover, a significant higher Pb, Cu and Fe concentration was found on spinach collected from Ghent, compared to spinach collected from a rural site. The distance of planting site to the nearest road significantly affected the accumulation of Pb, Cu, Mo and Fe on spinach. Concentrations of those elements on spinach increased with decreasing distance between planting site and the nearest road. Preliminary results did not show a significant effect of barriers between planting site and the nearest road on accumulation of trace metals on leaf vegetables. The overall goal of this study is to complete and refine existing guidelines for urban gardening to exclude potential health risks from food contamination. Accordingly, this information can help city governments and civil society in the professionalization and sustainable development of urban agriculture.

Keywords: atmospheric deposition, leaf vegetables, trace metals, traffic pollution, urban agriculture

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8 Oral Microflora and the Risk of Dental Caries in Portuguese Children

Authors: Sara Sousa, Veronique Gomes, Nélio Veiga, Maria José Correia

Abstract:

Objectives: To assess the presence or absence of Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus salivarius in the oral biofilm of children in an elementary school of Viseu, Portugal, and verify the relationship between Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus salivarius and the absence of dental caries. Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed with a final sample of 40 children aged 6-11 years old. Oral examination was accomplished with the identification of their oral health status and oral biofilm collection. Analysis of biological samples by molecular techniques of DNA isolation and identification of three Streptococci bacteria by Polimerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was made. Results: We identified Streptococcus salivarius and Streptococcus gordoni only in the lower interincisal region. These species were also present mainly in the first permanent non-decayed molars. On the contrary, Streptococcus mutans was found mostly in decayed first permanent molars. Conclusion: This preliminary study establishes a possible association between the absence of dental caries and the presence of Streptococcus gordonii and Streptococcus salivarius. Since these two species are described as alkali producers, it is suggested that their presence somehow confers protection against caries. These results support new dental caries prevention strategies based on oral biofilm modulation by enrichment with alkalinogenic species.

Keywords: dental caries, oral biofilm, Streptococcus gordonii, Streptococcus salivarius

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7 Luminescence and Local Environment: Identification of Thermal History

Authors: Veronique Jubera, Guillaume Salek, Manuel Gaudon, Alain Garcia, Alain Demourgues

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Luminescence of transition metal and rare earth elements cover ultraviolet to far infrared wavelengths. Applications of phosphors are numerous. One can cite lighting, sensing, laser, energy, medical or military applications. But regarding each domain, specific criteria are required and they can be achieved with a strong control of the chemical composition. Emission of doped materials can be tailored with modifications of the local environment of the cations. For instance, the increase of the crystal field effect shifts the divalent manganese radiative transitions from the green to the red color. External factor as heat-treatment can induce changes of the doping element location or modify the unit cell crystalline symmetry. By controlling carefully the synthesis route, it is possible to initiate emission shift and to establish the thermal history of a compound. We propose to demonstrate through the luminescence of divalent manganese and trivalent rare earth doped oxide, that it is possible to follow the thermal history of a material. After optimization of the synthesis route, structural and optical properties are discussed. Finally, thermal calibration graphs are successfully established on these doped compounds. This makes these materials promising probe for thermal sensing.

Keywords: emission, thermal sensing, transition metal, rare eath element

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6 Experimental Quantification and Modeling of Dissolved Gas during Hydrate Crystallization: CO₂ Hydrate Case

Authors: Amokrane Boufares, Elise Provost, Veronique Osswald, Pascal Clain, Anthony Delahaye, Laurence Fournaison, Didier Dalmazzone

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Gas hydrates have long been considered as problematic for flow assurance in natural gas and oil transportation. On the other hand, they are now seen as future promising materials for various applications (i.e. desalination of seawater, natural gas and hydrogen storage, gas sequestration, gas combustion separation and cold storage and transport). Nonetheless, a better understanding of the crystallization mechanism of gas hydrate and of their formation kinetics is still needed for a better comprehension and control of the process. To that purpose, measuring the real-time evolution of the dissolved gas concentration in the aqueous phase during hydrate formation is required. In this work, CO₂ hydrates were formed in a stirred reactor equipped with an Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) probe coupled to a Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectroscopy analyzer. A method was first developed to continuously measure in-situ the CO₂ concentration in the liquid phase during solubilization, supersaturation, hydrate crystallization and dissociation steps. Thereafter, the measured concentration data were compared with those of equilibrium concentrations. It was observed that the equilibrium is instantly reached in the liquid phase due to the fast consumption of dissolved gas by the hydrate crystallization. Consequently, it was shown that hydrate crystallization kinetics is limited by the gas transfer at the gas-liquid interface. Finally, we noticed that the liquid-hydrate equilibrium during the hydrate crystallization is governed by the temperature of the experiment under the tested conditions.

Keywords: gas hydrate, dissolved gas, crystallization, infrared spectroscopy

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5 Identification of Rare Mutations in Genes Involved in Monogenic Forms of Obesity and Diabetes in Obese Guadeloupean Children through Next-Generation Sequencing

Authors: Lydia Foucan, Laurent Larifla, Emmanuelle Durand, Christine Rambhojan, Veronique Dhennin, Jean-Marc Lacorte, Philippe Froguel, Amelie Bonnefond

Abstract:

In the population of Guadeloupe Island (472,124 inhabitants and 80% of subjects of African descent), overweight and obesity were estimated at 23% and 9% respectively among children. High prevalence of diabetes has been reported (~10%) in the adult population. Nevertheless, no study has investigated the contribution of gene mutations to childhood obesity in this population. We aimed to investigate rare genetic mutations in genes involved in monogenic obesity or diabetes in obese Afro-Caribbean children from Guadeloupe Island using next-generation sequencing. The present investigation included unrelated obese children, from a previous study on overweight conducted in Guadeloupe Island in 2013. We sequenced coding regions of 59 genes involved in monogenic obesity or diabetes. A total of 25 obese schoolchildren (with Z-score of body mass index [BMI]: 2.0 to 2.8) were screened for rare mutations (non-synonymous, splice-site, or insertion/deletion) in 59 genes. Mean age of the study population was 12.4 ± 1.1 years. Seventeen children (68%) had insulin-resistance (HOMA-IR > 3.16). A family history of obesity (mother or father) was observed in eight children and three of the accompanying parent presented with type 2 diabetes. None of the children had gonadotrophic abnormality or mental retardation. We detected five rare heterozygous mutations, in four genes involved in monogenic obesity, in five different obese children: MC4R p.Ile301Thr and SIM1 p.Val326Thrfs*43 mutations which were pathogenic; SIM1 p.Ser343Pro and SH2B1 p.Pro90His mutations which were likely pathogenic; and NTRK2 p.Leu140Phe that was of uncertain significance. In parallel, we identified seven carriers of mutation in ABCC8 or KCNJ11 (involved in monogenic diabetes), which were of uncertain significance (KCNJ11 p.Val13Met, KCNJ11 p.Val151Met, ABCC8 p.Lys1521Asn and ABCC8 p.Ala625Val). Rare pathogenic or likely pathogenic mutations, linked to severe obesity were detected in more than 15% of this Afro-Caribbean population at high risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: childhood obesity, MC4R, monogenic obesity, SIM1

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4 Habitat Suitability, Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Two Sympatric Fruit Bat Species Reveal the Need of an Urgent Conservation Action

Authors: Mohamed Thani Ibouroi, Ali Cheha, Claudine Montgelard, Veronique Arnal, Dawiyat Massoudi, Guillelme Astruc, Said Ali Ousseni Dhurham, Aurelien Besnard

Abstract:

The Livingstone's flying fox (Pteropus livingstonii) and the Comorian fruit bat (P.seychellensis comorensis) are two endemic fruit bat species among the mostly threatened animals of the Comoros archipelagos. Despite their role as important ecosystem service providers like all flying fox species as pollinators and seed dispersers, little is known about their ecologies, population genetics and structures making difficult the development of evidence-based conservation strategies. In this study, we assess spatial distribution and ecological niche of both species using Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) based on the recent Ensemble of Small Models (ESMs) approach using presence-only data. Population structure and genetic diversity of the two species were assessed using both mitochondrial and microsatellite markers based on non-invasive genetic samples. Our ESMs highlight a clear niche partitioning of the two sympatric species. Livingstone’s flying fox has a very limited distribution, restricted on steep slope of natural forests at high elevation. On the contrary, the Comorian fruit bat has a relatively large geographic range spread over low elevations in farmlands and villages. Our genetic analysis shows a low genetic diversity for both fruit bats species. They also show that the Livingstone’s flying fox population of the two islands were genetically isolated while no evidence of genetic differentiation was detected for the Comorian fruit bats between islands. Our results support the idea that natural habitat loss, especially the natural forest loss and fragmentation are the important factors impacting the distribution of the Livingstone’s flying fox by limiting its foraging area and reducing its potential roosting sites. On the contrary, the Comorian fruit bats seem to be favored by human activities probably because its diets are less specialized. By this study, we concluded that the Livingstone’s flying fox species and its habitat are of high priority in term of conservation at the Comoros archipelagos scale.

Keywords: Comoros islands, ecological niche, habitat loss, population genetics, fruit bats, conservation biology

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3 Sintering of YNbO3:Eu3+ Compound: Correlation between Luminescence and Spark Plasma Sintering Effect

Authors: Veronique Jubera, Ka-Young Kim, U-Chan Chung, Amelie Veillere, Jean-Marc Heintz

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Emitting materials and all solid state lasers are widely used in the field of optical applications and materials science as a source of excitement, instrumental measurements, medical applications, metal shaping etc. Recently promising optical efficiencies were recorded on ceramics which result from a cheaper and faster ways to obtain crystallized materials. The choice and optimization of the sintering process is the key point to fabricate transparent ceramics. It includes a high control on the preparation of the powder with the choice of an adequate synthesis, a pre-heat-treatment, the reproducibility of the sintering cycle, the polishing and post-annealing of the ceramic. The densification is the main factor needed to reach a satisfying transparency, and many technologies are now available. The symmetry of the unit cell plays a crucial role in the diffusion rate of the material. Therefore, the cubic symmetry compounds having an isotropic refractive index is preferred. The cubic Y3NbO7 matrix is an interesting host which can accept a high concentration of rare earth doping element and it has been demonstrated that SPS is an efficient way to sinter this material. The optimization of diffusion losses requires a microstructure of fine ceramics, generally less than one hundred nanometers. In this case, grain growth is not an obstacle to transparency. The ceramics properties are then isotropic thereby to free-shaping step by orienting the ceramics as this is the case for the compounds of lower symmetry. After optimization of the synthesis route, several SPS parameters as heating rate, holding, dwell time and pressure were adjusted in order to increase the densification of the Eu3+ doped Y3NbO7 pellets. The luminescence data coupled with X-Ray diffraction analysis and electronic diffraction microscopy highlight the existence of several distorted environments of the doping element in the studied defective fluorite-type host lattice. Indeed, the fast and high crystallization rate obtained to put in evidence a lack of miscibility in the phase diagram, being the final composition of the pellet driven by the ratio between niobium and yttrium elements. By following the luminescence properties, we demonstrate a direct impact on the SPS process on this material.

Keywords: emission, niobate of rare earth, Spark plasma sintering, lack of miscibility

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2 The Impact of Anxiety on the Access to Phonological Representations in Beginning Readers and Writers

Authors: Regis Pochon, Nicolas Stefaniak, Veronique Baltazart, Pamela Gobin

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Anxiety is known to have an impact on working memory. In reasoning or memory tasks, individuals with anxiety tend to show longer response times and poorer performance. Furthermore, there is a memory bias for negative information in anxiety. Given the crucial role of working memory in lexical learning, anxious students may encounter more difficulties in learning to read and spell. Anxiety could even affect an earlier learning, that is the activation of phonological representations, which are decisive for the learning of reading and writing. The aim of this study is to compare the access to phonological representations of beginning readers and writers according to their level of anxiety, using an auditory lexical decision task. Eighty students of 6- to 9-years-old completed the French version of the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and were then divided into four anxiety groups according to their total score (Low, Median-Low, Median-High and High). Two set of eighty-one stimuli (words and non-words) have been auditory presented to these students by means of a laptop computer. Stimuli words were selected according to their emotional valence (positive, negative, neutral). Students had to decide as quickly and accurately as possible whether the presented stimulus was a real word or not (lexical decision). Response times and accuracy were recorded automatically on each trial. It was anticipated a) longer response times for the Median-High and High anxiety groups in comparison with the two others groups, b) faster response times for negative-valence words in comparison with positive and neutral-valence words only for the Median-High and High anxiety groups, c) lower response accuracy for Median-High and High anxiety groups in comparison with the two others groups, d) better response accuracy for negative-valence words in comparison with positive and neutral-valence words only for the Median-High and High anxiety groups. Concerning the response times, our results showed no difference between the four groups. Furthermore, inside each group, the average response times was very close regardless the emotional valence. Otherwise, group differences appear when considering the error rates. Median-High and High anxiety groups made significantly more errors in lexical decision than Median-Low and Low groups. Better response accuracy, however, is not found for negative-valence words in comparison with positive and neutral-valence words in the Median-High and High anxiety groups. Thus, these results showed a lower response accuracy for above-median anxiety groups than below-median groups but without specificity for the negative-valence words. This study suggests that anxiety can negatively impact the lexical processing in young students. Although the lexical processing speed seems preserved, the accuracy of this processing may be altered in students with moderate or high level of anxiety. This finding has important implication for the prevention of reading and spelling difficulties. Indeed, during these learnings, if anxiety affects the access to phonological representations, anxious students could be disturbed when they have to match phonological representations with new orthographic representations, because of less efficient lexical representations. This study should be continued in order to precise the impact of anxiety on basic school learning.

Keywords: anxiety, emotional valence, childhood, lexical access

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1 Familial Exome Sequencing to Decipher the Complex Genetic Basis of Holoprosencephaly

Authors: Artem Kim, Clara Savary, Christele Dubourg, Wilfrid Carre, Houda Hamdi-Roze, Valerie Dupé, Sylvie Odent, Marie De Tayrac, Veronique David

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Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a rare congenital brain malformation resulting from the incomplete separation of the two cerebral hemispheres. It is characterized by a wide phenotypic spectrum and a high degree of locus heterogeneity. Genetic defects in 16 genes have already been implicated in HPE, but account for only 30% of cases, suggesting that a large part of genetic factors remains to be discovered. HPE has been recently redefined as a complex multigenic disorder, requiring the joint effect of multiple mutational events in genes belonging to one or several developmental pathways. The onset of HPE may result from accumulation of the effects of multiple rare variants in functionally-related genes, each conferring a moderate increase in the risk of HPE onset. In order to decipher the genetic basis of HPE, unconventional patterns of inheritance involving multiple genetic factors need to be considered. The primary objective of this study was to uncover possible disease causing combinations of multiple rare variants underlying HPE by performing trio-based Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) of familial cases where no molecular diagnosis could be established. 39 families were selected with no fully-penetrant causal mutation in known HPE gene, no chromosomic aberrations/copy number variants and without any implication of environmental factors. As the main challenge was to identify disease-related variants among a large number of nonpathogenic polymorphisms detected by WES classical scheme, a novel variant prioritization approach was established. It combined WES filtering with complementary gene-level approaches: transcriptome-driven (RNA-Seq data) and clinically-driven (public clinical data) strategies. Briefly, a filtering approach was performed to select variants compatible with disease segregation, population frequency and pathogenicity prediction to identify an exhaustive list of rare deleterious variants. The exome search space was then reduced by restricting the analysis to candidate genes identified by either transcriptome-driven strategy (genes sharing highly similar expression patterns with known HPE genes during cerebral development) or clinically-driven strategy (genes associated to phenotypes of interest overlapping with HPE). Deeper analyses of candidate variants were then performed on a family-by-family basis. These included the exploration of clinical information, expression studies, variant characteristics, recurrence of mutated genes and available biological knowledge. A novel bioinformatics pipeline was designed. Applied to the 39 families, this final integrated workflow identified an average of 11 candidate variants per family. Most of candidate variants were inherited from asymptomatic parents suggesting a multigenic inheritance pattern requiring the association of multiple mutational events. The manual analysis highlighted 5 new strong HPE candidate genes showing recurrences in distinct families. Functional validations of these genes are foreseen.

Keywords: complex genetic disorder, holoprosencephaly, multiple rare variants, whole exome sequencing

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