La Jolla News Nuggets: LJI President, Artistic Committee, “Hometown Heroes”, $ 3 Million Honors, UCSD Studies, more


La Jolla Institute for immunology celebrates the new president

The La Jolla Institute of Immunology hosted a celebration in honor of Erica Ollmann Saphire as the new president and CEO of the institute.

The September 9 reception was held outside on the lawn of the Arroyo Terrace at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Saphire has dedicated his career to dealing with health threats such as the Ebola virus and COVID-19.

“This is a time of incredible urgency, incredible opportunity and accelerating discovery right now,” Saphire said in his speech. “Now is the time to understand and harness immunology and the immune system.”

Saphire is the fifth president of LJI. She succeeds Mitchell Kronenberg, who led the organization for 18 years.

New artistic committee formed for the Enhance La Jolla project

A committee of volunteers has been assembled to select works of art for the village streetscape project of Improving La Jolla, the initial phase of which is designed to improve community gathering spaces in the village. The plans include a new plaza on Prospect Street between Girard and Herschel avenues featuring public art, increased pedestrian access, better traffic and modern security measures.

The members of the artistic committee are Derrick Cartwright, associate professor and director of academic galleries at the University of San Diego; Lynda Forsha, Executive Director of Murals of La Jolla; Kathryn Kanjo, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and member of the board of directors of Enhance La Jolla; architect Jennifer Luce; Patsy Marino, president of the artistic selection committee of Murals of La Jolla; and architect Mark Steele.

For more information on the project, visit

La Jolla City Council in search of “hometown hero”

La Jolla City Council is seeking nominations for “Hometown Heroes” until Thursday, September 30.

“We are looking for people who have gone above and beyond in our community and who have really helped us through these difficult times with COVID,” City Council Vice President Jerri Hunt said at the group’s virtual meeting on September 9. .

“Throughout this process, there have been people who have done amazing things,” she said. “The town hall of La Jolla wants to recognize these people. “

“There is no act too big or too small to name,” she added.

Eight Hometown Heroes will be selected from nominations by a group of community leaders, Hunt said.

The recipients will be recognized during a lunch at the Walnut Lounge at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club on Wednesday, November 10. They will also be celebrated during the Christmas Parade and La Jolla Holiday Festival on Sunday, December 5.

To name a hometown hero, visit

Hood Family Foundation gives $ 3 million to UCSD for public health efforts

The John and Sally Hood Family Foundation has donated $ 3 million to establish the Hood Family Dean’s Chair in Public Health at UC San Diego. The donation is intended to support excellence in public health research, education and practice at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UCSD in La Jolla.

Cheryl AM Anderson, internationally renowned epidemiologist and founding dean of the Herbert Wertheim School, has been appointed the first holder of the chair. An endowed chair is one of the highest honors an academic institution can bestow on a faculty member, recognizing excellence in research and practice.

Anderson’s research primarily focuses on the links between nutrition and chronic disease, as well as the use of clinical trials and interventions to prevent risk factors for diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease. chronic, diet-related cancers and obesity.

In addition to the new chair, the Hoods recently funded a UCSD Health COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic.

Groundbreaking $ 3 million prize awarded to La Jolla scientist battling heart and brain disorders

Scripps Research biochemist Jeff Kelley has received a breakthrough award of $ 3 million.

(Courtesy of Scripps Research)

Biochemist Jeff Kelley of Scripps Research in La Jolla received a $ 3 million Breakthrough Prize, the largest financial award in science.

Kelly is one of nine people who received a Breakthrough Prize on September 9 for doing everything from creating better ways to sequence DNA to developing more accurate tests for the fundamental laws of nature.

The $ 3 million awards were introduced 10 years ago to honor relatively recent advances in physics, science and mathematics.

Kelly, 62, won the award for her research into protein, the “building blocks of life.” He mainly focused on transthyretin, which, like other proteins, folds into origami-like shapes during development. Sometimes the protein doesn’t take the right shape or stick to its folds. It produces clumps that can destroy cells and tissues, killing people.

Agglutination is best known to create the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but these plaques have been implicated in around 40 diseases of the nervous system and heart.

Kelly has developed a molecule that stabilizes transthyretin. He then helped turn the molecule into tafamidis, a drug that slows the progression of the disease, Scripps Research said. His research has also shown that agglutination plays a bigger role in neurodegeneration than scientists once thought. – The Union-Tribune of San Diego

UCSD researchers create technology to sterilize mosquitoes to reduce disease

Researchers at UC San Diego said they have used advances in genetic engineering to create a system to restrain populations of mosquitoes that infect millions of people each year with debilitating diseases.

New precision-guided sterile insect technique, or pgSIT, alters genes linked to male fertility and female flight in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for the large-scale spread of disease, including dengue , chikungunya and Zika.

Details of the new pgSIT are described in the September 10 edition of the journal Nature Communication.

The technique uses CRISPR gene editing technology – not radiation or chemicals – to sterilize male mosquitoes and render female mosquitoes, which spread the disease, unable to fly. The system is self-limiting and is not expected to persist or spread in the environment, two safety features that the researchers say should allow acceptance of the technology.

The pgSIT system could be implemented by deploying eggs from sterile males and flightless females to places where mosquito-borne diseases spread. – City information service

UCSD study finds no serious side effects of COVID-19 vaccine in infants or nursing mothers

A recent study by researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine determined that breastfeeding mothers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine reported the same local or systemic symptoms as previously reported in patients. women who are not breastfeeding, with no serious effect. effects in breastfed infants.

In December, two mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, received emergency use clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, the first trials excluded breastfeeding women, which raised questions about their safety in this specific population.

According to the results of the study, published in the online edition of Breastfeeding medicine, more than 85 percent of the 180 breastfeeding women who received a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine reported temporary localized symptoms such as pain, redness, swelling or itching at the injection site, and systemic side effects, including including chills, muscle / body aches, fever and vomiting, with higher frequency after the second dose.

Some women reported a reduction in milk production after the first dose of either vaccine, but the researchers said the reduction was in a small subset of women and had fully returned in 72 hours after vaccination. They added that they couldn’t be sure that the reduction in supply was a side effect of the vaccine or some other unknown factor.

Irritability and poor sleep have been reported in some breastfed children, but no serious side effects have been reported.

“Our results should encourage breastfeeding women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to continue breastfeeding their infants. They don’t have to choose one over the other. Both are essential, ”said Christina Chambers, professor of pediatrics at UCSD.

The researchers noted that a limitation of the study was that post-vaccination symptoms were self-reported, and suggested that further studies would be needed to see if the results can be generalized to a larger population.

Scripps research professor receives Welch Prize in chemistry

Chi-Huey Wong of Scripps Research received the 2021 Robert A. Welch Prize from the Welch Foundation in Chemistry.

Chi-Huey Wong of Scripps Research received the 2021 Robert A. Welch Prize from the Welch Foundation in Chemistry.

(Courtesy of Scripps Research)

Chi-Huey Wong, Scripps Family Chair Professor in the Chemistry Department at Scripps Research in La Jolla, received the 2021 Welch Foundation Robert A. Welch Prize in Chemistry.

Much of Wong’s work over the past 30 years has focused on the importance of carbohydrates in the immunization and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Recently, the tools and methods he developed helped create a vaccine that targets specific carbohydrates on the surface of cancer cells.

The Welch Foundation, based in Houston, is one of the nation’s largest sources of private funding for basic chemical research. Wong will receive $ 500,000 and a gold medallion.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines will host a wine tasting

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla will host “Beyond the Cellar: A Fall Wine Collectors Tasting” at 5 pm on Saturday, November 13th.

The event will feature wines and experts from 18 Napa Valley wineries. Each wine will be poured by the winemaker, owner or representative, offering an exclusive guided tasting.

Winegrowers and cellar owners will present some of their rare and high-end vintages that are not easily accessible to the public. Customers will have the option to purchase wine at wineries at retail price.

Wine tastings will be accompanied by cheeses, cold meats, chocolates, appetizers, entertainment by a string trio and a welcome with caviar and champagne.

Tickets are currently only guaranteed with a Beyond the Cellar room package starting at $ 795 per night.
The remaining unreserved tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. on Friday, October 1 for $ 200 per person at the cellar.

– Compiled by the staff of La Jolla Light ??

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