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La Jolla News Nuggets: Outdoor dining grant; author appearance; medical research; more

La Jolla Shores resident and artist Paula McColl painted this scene of The Shores' outdoor dining program.
La Jolla Shores resident and artist Paula McColl painted this scene of The Shores’ outdoor dining program, which has been extended through Dec. 30.
(Courtesy)

Shores outdoor dining program gets grant

The La Jolla Shores Association has been awarded $15,000 in grant money from San Diego County to help with the costs of its outdoor dining program.

LJSA was allocated the money from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, according to county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s office, and was approved Sept. 15.

The money will be used to cover costs of the La Jolla Shores outdoor dining program, which began in July in response to coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions that left restaurants and other businesses struggling.

The program has closed one block of Avenida de la Playa through Dec. 30 so restaurants can place tables on the street to allow for social distancing.

Along with extra tables and chairs, restaurants must pay for barricades to close the street to vehicle traffic, as well as a security guard to move the barricades in case of emergency.

LJSA board member Phil Wise applied for the grant on behalf of the group in August. The money “will allow us to run through the end of the year,” he said.

‘Angel Flight’ author to speak at Warwick’s

Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla will host local author R.D. Kardon for a table signing of her book “Angel Flight” from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Kardon will appear as part of Warwick’s Weekends with Locals program, which features San Diego authors in their first local signing event.

Social distancing will be required, and both author and customers must wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be provided. Customers must present the author with proof of purchase of the book before having it signed.

Warwick’s is at 7812 Girard Ave. For more information, visit warwicks.com/weekends-locals.

Osher Lifelong Learning starting all-digital quarter

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC San Diego has moved its entire program online using Zoom for the fall quarter starting Monday, Sept. 28.

The institute is offering its 1,000 members twice-daily remote, live discussions of current events and a variety of academic subjects featuring faculty from UCSD and other local universities, plus community leaders, artists, musicians and others.

Now in its 46th year at UCSD, the Osher Institute is a membership organization for adults older than 50. Monthly and quarterly memberships are available. For current online program offerings and how to become a member, visit extension.ucsd.edu/olli/join.

A virtual open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Register at extension.ucsd.edu/olli/openhouse.

UCSD researchers discover carbohydrate in lungs that coronavirus uses to infect

UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers said last week that they have discovered a carbohydrate that the COVID-19 coronavirus uses to latch onto a cellular molecule in the lungs, which has potential implications for treatment of the disease.

Since January, researchers have known that the coronavirus primarily uses a molecule known as ACE2 — which sits like a doorknob on the outer surfaces of the cells that line the lungs — to enter and infect those cells. Finding a way to lock out that interaction between virus and doorknob as a means to treat the infection has become the goal of many research studies.

The UCSD researchers recently found that the virus cannot grab onto the ACE2 doorknob without the carbohydrate heparan sulfate, which also is found on lung cell surfaces. They next set about trying to disrupt the entry mechanism. They found that enzymes that remove heparan sulfate from cell surfaces prevent the coronavirus from gaining entry into cells.

The study introduces a potential new approach to preventing and treating COVID-19, though Jeffrey Esko, a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UCSD, said researchers will need to test the inhibitors in animal models.

La Jolla Newcomers Club supports local food charities

The La Jolla Newcomers Club is focusing its charitable initiative on supporting food organizations serving San Diego County residents during the coronavirus pandemic. The club has donated to Feeding San Diego, Meals on Wheels San Diego and No Kid Hungry and has encouraged members to donate to them directly.

The club also has been collecting old or unused eyeglasses and sunglasses and will send them to Lions Club International to assist its efforts to improve people’s vision and prevent blindness.

People who have moved to the 92037 ZIP code within the past three years are eligible to join the Newcomers Club. For more information about the club and its charitable efforts, visit lajollanewcomers.org.

Salk, Prebys and UCSD to team up to study aging

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies will establish a consortium with fellow La Jolla institutions Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and UC San Diego to study cellular and tissue aging in humans.

The San Diego Nathan Shock Center will be funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging that is expected to total $5 million over the next five years. Salk professor Gerald Shadel led the grant proposal and will be director of the center.

“We are grateful to have this opportunity to establish the San Diego Nathan Shock Center, which will allow us to design novel models to study networks and pathways related to aging,” Salk President Rusty Gage said in a statement. “Our hope is to identify key drivers of aging and find new ways to increase the number of healthy years, or health span, of humans.”

Local institutions get millions in grants for Parkinson’s research

UC San Diego has received a three-year, $7.2 million grant for research into a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease.

The grant will fund research at three UCSD laboratories and two labs based in Germany. The goal is to examine an enzyme known as leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, or LRRK2, which was discovered and linked to Parkinson’s in the early 2000s. UCSD researchers say LRRK2 mutations are the main cause of inherited forms of Parkinson’s disease, but questions remain about how the enzyme functions.

Samara Reck-Peterson, the lead principal investigator for the project, said understanding the protein will be instrumental in designing a drug to treat the disease.

Meanwhile, scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have received $3.5 million as part of a team award from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s to support a three-year study into how immune cells may contribute to Parkinson’s disease.

The research at the institute will be spearheaded by LJI research assistant professor Cecilia Lindestam Arlehamn and professor Alessandro Sette in collaboration with overall study leader David Sulzer, a professor at Columbia University.

INmune Bio awarded $2.9 million to support depression study

La Jolla-based INmune Bio Inc. announced it has received a $2.9 million small-business innovation research grant from the National Institutes of Health to support a Phase 2 study of XPro1595 in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

“This award reinforces one of INmune Bio’s fundamental drug development tenets — by targeting the underlying biology, you can target a diverse group of diseases caused by inflammation,” Dr. RJ Tesi, chief executive of INmune Bio, said in a statement. “Through this Phase 2 study, we will evaluate the potential utility of XPro1595 to treat the biology of neuroinflammation which, we believe, will have a beneficial effect on patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression.”

Miracle Babies launches shuttle to unite newborns and families in need

The nonprofit Miracle Babies has launched a new transportation program called Special Delivery to provide service between home and hospital to parents who cannot drive to visit their hospitalized newborns.

The service currently is available to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Rady Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit miraclebabies.org.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff