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La Jolla News Nuggets: Food drive, senior grant, Joe LaCava, more

The Heart to Hands Food Drive raised 4,618 pounds of food this year.
(Courtesy)

Heart to Hands Food Drive collects 4,618 pounds of food

The eighth annual Heart to Hands Food Drive collected 4,618 pounds of food Nov. 8 to Dec. 14, a 1,200-pound increase from 2019.

Two hundred pounds of the food collected went to the UC San Diego Triton Food Pantry, along with a $200 contribution from an unidentified donor.

Feeding San Diego received 1,140 pounds of donated food and the San Diego Food Bank received 2,758 pounds.

The Heart to Hands Food Drive collected pet food for the first time, donating 520 pounds to the San Diego Humane Society.

Over its eight-year history, the drive has raised 16,543 pounds of food for San Diegans.

Local senior foundation grants $3,000 to La Jolla Community Center

The San Diego Seniors Community Foundation announced grants totaling $31,585 to a dozen local senior centers, including $3,000 to the La Jolla Community Center for its Holiday Cheer and Meal program, which will deliver hot meals, handwritten cards and bouquets of flowers to 100 isolated senior citizens.

The second round of grant funding, through the foundation’s No Senior Alone initiative, is tailored to support centers and nonprofit agencies creating holiday-themed events for older people who are apart from loved ones this holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LaCava named vice chairman of two City Council committees

La Jolla resident and District 1 San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava has been named vice chairman of the council’s Audit Committee and Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In these roles, he said, “I pledge to do my part to advance an agenda of solutions, transparency and equity.”

City Councilman Joe LaCava
(Courtesy)

The Audit Committee oversees the city’s auditing, internal controls and any other financial or business practices as well as directing and reviewing the work of the city auditor.

The Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s areas of responsibility include the capital improvement program, regional transportation improvement program, neighborhood input on infrastructure needs and priorities, public facilities financing plans, water infrastructure, city facilities and transit services.

DPR approves Tyrian Street companion unit

In a “historically short meeting,” the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee approved a permit needed for the Tyrian residence project during its Dec. 15 meeting online. It was the only project up for review.

Applicant representative Claude-Anthony Marengo sought a coastal development permit for a proposed 760-square-foot companion unit with deck over an existing detached garage on a site with an existing single-story duplex at 6657-6663 Tyrian St.

He said the new development would be in the “gray and white cottage style” to matches houses in the vicinity, with landscaping.

A motion to approve the project passed unanimously.

Bristol Myers Squibb endows chair at Scripps Research

Scripps Research has named professor Jin-Quan Yu, a chemist whose research has paved the way to powerful new techniques used in fields ranging from drug discovery to materials science, to be the inaugural holder of the Bristol Myers Squibb endowed chair in chemistry.

“The new $3 million chair endowed by Bristol Myers Squibb can help to support the next generation of biomedical breakthroughs by providing sustained, unrestricted funding to support research programs,” said Peter Schultz, president and chief executive of Scripps Research. “Jin-Quan’s creative insights and unconventional approach to organic synthesis have already transformed chemical processes used for developing new medicines and many other products that can impact people’s lives around the globe.”

Yu said of the endowment: “I’m honored that Scripps Research has named me to be the Bristol Myers Squibb endowed chair in chemistry. This support ensures my team has the flexibility and resources to continue to pursue the most interesting and high-impact ideas.”

Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith retires from La Jolla institute

Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, a biochemist who helped revolutionize scientists’ ability to design drugs, grow vaccines, screen for disease and enrich crops, has retired as a senior researcher at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla.

Smith, 89, said he is in declining health and is moving back to Maryland, where his career took off in the 1960s when he discovered “molecular scissors” that can be used to study and alter DNA.

Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith has retired from the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla.
(Courtesy)

As a member of the faculty at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he played a key role in discovering a new class of restriction enzymes, which are variously called molecular scissors and chemical knives. They can be used cut genes into pieces, which enables scientists to do things such as determine the order of genes on chromosomes and to alter genes.

The enzymes have helped reveal the nature of disease and hastened the rise of recombinant DNA technology, which has been used to create human insulin, a vaccine for hepatitis B and diagnostic tests for HIV. It’s also influencing the development of some tests and vaccines for COVID-19.

The collective work of Smith and fellow scientists Werner Arber and Daniel Nathans led to them being jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Smith partnered with Venter in the early 1990s, and they sequenced and published the genome of H. influenzae, a type of bacteria that can cause bloodstream infections, meningitis and pneumonia. They also collaborated on the Human Genome Project and worked to create synthetic cells, an area of biology that has the potential to help produce drugs and various types of fuels. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Garden club holds ‘Drive Up and Drop Off’ for Monarch School, Salvation Army

Despite not being able to have meetings since February, the La Jolla Garden Club has remained active with Zoom meetings and continued its holiday traditions of donating to The Salvation Army and Monarch School.

A “Drive Up and Drop Off” event was held Dec. 1 on the sidewalk near the La Jolla Woman’s Club. Mask-wearing members brought 1,300 items to later be assembled into bags of food for The Salvation Army, as well as almost 180 personal care kits for children supported by the Monarch School in San Diego, which serves students affected by homelessness.

Scripps hospitals named to 2020 California Opioid Care Honor Roll

Cal Hospital Compare, a nonprofit organization that provides Californians with hospital performance ratings, has named all of Scripps Health’s hospitals to its 2020 Opioid Care Honor Roll. Scripps is the only health care organization in San Diego County to be recognized on the inaugural statewide list.

Each of Scripps’ hospitals — Scripps Memorial La Jolla, Scripps Memorial Encinitas, Scripps Green in La Jolla and Scripps Mercy in San Diego and Chula Vista — are ranked in the superior performance tier, the honor roll’s top category.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff