La Jolla News Nuggets: UCSD deed restrictions, coronavirus research, sharks, more

A proposal to remove city deed restrictions on some UCSD land has drawn opposition from the La Jolla Shores Association.
A proposal to remove city deed restrictions on some UC San Diego land has drawn opposition from the La Jolla Shores Association.

La Jolla Shores Association sends letter to city opposing removal of UCSD deed restrictions

The La Jolla Shores Association voted Oct. 14 to send a letter to city officials opposing the possible removal of deed restrictions on UC San Diego land.

The San Diego City Council Land Use & Housing Committee moved Sept. 17 to recommend that the council consider removing city deed restrictions on nearly 510 acres of UCSD land that limit the university’s use of the land to educational purposes only.

“I think it’s something that we all need to be concerned about,” said LJSA President Janie Emerson. “It’s huge.”

Emerson said the association supports “the university itself. … We support the students, we support the quality of education. We do not support having an entire city built on top of us that uses all of our infrastructure, overcrowds all of our areas [and] overextends our services like police, lifeguards.”

La Jolla researcher awarded $1.4 million to study coronavirus in Latino Americans

Daniela Weiskopf, a research assistant professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, has received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute to help study whether Latino Americans, who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus, may have immune system differences that affect how they respond to the virus.

Weiskopf will work with project co-leaders at the University of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust to study the immune response to the coronavirus in volunteers from Puerto Rico, where at least 75 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.

The five-year project is part of NCI’s Serological Sciences Network, or SeroNet, a coordinated effort to study immunology and COVID-19 in the United States.

“We know the Latino population is overrepresented in terms of COVID-19 cases,” Weiskopf said in a statement. “We need to get the whole picture.”

Other factors that have been cited in the virus’s impact on Latinos are lower access to health insurance and health care, as well as a higher likelihood of exposure through essential jobs.

Record number of sharks tagged off Southern California

A Shark Lab team from Cal State Long Beach tags a juvenile white shark with a transponder near Carpinteria.
A Shark Lab team from Cal State Long Beach tags a juvenile white shark with a transponder for research purposes near Carpinteria.
(Patrick Rex / Shark Lab)

Marine researchers say they have found more sharks in the ocean off Southern California this year than ever before.

The Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach tagged 38 sharks, more than triple the number tagged last year, KCAL-TV reported Oct. 16.

The shark clusters were larger and remained in coastal waters longer than in past years, according to Chris Lowe, Shark Lab director.

“This year there were just more sharks around,” Lowe said. “And the question is why.”

“Normally in our fall, when our water temperature gets to the low 60s, that seems to be a cue that drives them to migrate south to Baja,” he said. “And so far, here we are mid-October and the sharks are still sticking around. Maybe 2020 is going to be a year-round shark season.”

Early this month, shark sightings prompted lifeguards to warn visitors to Torrey Pines State Beach and the beach near Scripps Pier in La Jolla.

UCSD joins with UnitedHealth for new mental health grant

UC San Diego and UnitedHealth Group have announced a new four-year, $4 million grant collaboration to expand the mental health workforce in California.

The collaboration aims to diversify the pipeline of child and adolescent psychiatrists and encourage medical students to pursue careers in the field through the introduction of learning opportunities, individualized mentorship, scholarships and financial education support for participating residents.

“Grants such as that from UnitedHealth Group help us achieve a shared goal of preparing tomorrow’s health care leaders to serve our increasingly diverse and interconnected communities,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

New programs enabled by the grant and led by the UCSD School of Medicine are already up and running, including a new summer immersion program for first- and second-year medical students to introduce them to the field of child and adolescent psychiatry. ◆