La Jolla News Nuggets: Research ship, moon mission, restaurants, ‘Bachelorette,’ more

Research vessel Roger Revelle has had a refit involving upgrades from top to bottom, bow to stern.
(Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

RV Roger Revelle sent back to sea after extensive refit

Research vessel Roger Revelle, one of the largest ships in the U.S. Academic Research Fleet, is back to sea after a $60 million refit involving upgrades from top to bottom, bow to stern. The refit will extend the service life by 15 to 20 years with improvements to systems crucial to the vessel’s operations, scientific capabilities, habitability and environmental footprint, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The ship is owned by the Office of Naval Research and has been operated by Scripps Oceanography since 1996. The vessel is considered important to U.S. oceanographic research due to its range, payload, duration and ability to safely conduct scientific operations in remote areas around the globe.

The ship’s namesake was an oceanographer, explorer and administrator, one-time director of Scripps Oceanography and credited as the primary force in the founding of UC San Diego.

NASA picks 2 UCSD grads to train for missions to the moon

NASA has included two UC San Diego graduates in a group of 18 astronauts who will train to fly to the moon and land on its surface by 2024.

The space agency last week formally named Kate Rubins and Jessica Meir members of Project Artemis, the first effort to place Americans on lunar soil since Project Apollo ended in 1972.

The announcement came as Rubins, 42, was conducting research aboard the International Space Station and Meir, 43, was training for a return trip to the orbiting outpost.

Rubins, who earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at UCSD in 1999, is on her second mission aboard the space station. In 2016, she spent 115 days there and became the first person to sequence DNA in space.

Meir (pronounced Meer) traveled to the space station in September 2019 and became part of the first all-female team of astronauts to walk in space. She earned a doctorate in marine biology at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Local restaurants adapt to regional closures

In response to regional coronavirus restrictions in which restaurants were ordered to close in-person dining, La Jolla establishments are adapting their services to stay afloat.

Karina’s Cantina, which opened in November at 1055 Torrey Pines Road, swiftly implemented in-car dining on its parking spots. Restaurant servers take customers’ orders from inside their cars and serve them as if they were seated at a table. Customers also can pay from their cars.

The in-car dining began Dec. 9, two days after the closures began.

Megan Heine, who owns Beaumont’s at 5662 La Jolla Blvd., said her restaurant has converted its outdoor tables into a drive-through.

“Times are changing, and happy to see how [Beaumont’s] continues to accommodate the neighbors so creatively,” resident Tamra Earlywine said.

La Jollan is sent home from ‘The Bachelorette’

It looks like every rose really does have its thorn.

La Jolla resident Spencer Robertson was eliminated from this season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” During the Dec. 8 “rose ceremony,” in which suitors who would remain received a rose, Robertson and two other contestants were not called and were sent home.

Stay tuned to the La Jolla Light for an interview with Robertson about his time on the show.

Cormorant hotel opening delayed until spring

A rendering depicts the in-development Cormorant Boutique Hotel.

The opening of the Cormorant Boutique Hotel has been pushed back to spring, according to an announcement at the Dec. 9 La Jolla Village Merchants Association meeting.

The hotel at 1110 Prospect St. on the site of the former La Jolla Inn has been under construction for the better part of two years and management said it had hoped for a fall opening. Two major delays have been in the permitting for lifts for wheelchair access and a last-minute change to the air conditioning system.

The cause of the additional delay was not announced.

LJI’s Saphire gets Scientist of the Year honor

La Jolla Institute for Immunology professor Erica Ollmann Saphire has been named Scientist of the Year by the San Diego chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation. The award recognizes Saphire’s breakthroughs in structural virology and her leadership this year of the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC).

“This is the first time LJI has been recognized,” Saphire said. “Emerging recognition of the institute as a whole this year has been important to me. Our depth and focus on human immunity provide a rich opportunity for human health.”

Saphire’s work has shed light on illnesses such as HIV, Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Under Saphire’s leadership, CoVIC has brought together more than 50 research labs from four continents to compare and choose antibody therapies against COVID-19.

“The most lasting part of this effort will be the body of information gained, which is broader, deeper and more multidisciplinary than we could have gotten any other way,” Saphire said.

Salk neuroscientists receive $4.4 million from NIH

Neuroscientists Edward Callaway, Sreekanth Chalasani and Nancy Padilla Coreano of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla have been named recipients in the 2020 round of grants from the National Institutes of Health to gain new insights into brain function.

The grants, totaling $4.4 million, are awarded through the BRAIN Initiative as part of an effort to develop more effective therapies for neurological disorders.

“The Salk Institute is incredibly grateful to again participate in the BRAIN Initiative,” Salk President Rusty Gage said in a statement. “The work of our scientists will contribute greatly to the goals of the initiative and add to the foundation of our understanding of the human brain.”

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff