La Jolla News Nuggets: La Jolla Cove, space pilot, bitcoin, reservoir project, more

A sunny day at La Jolla Cove, with a ring of cormorants along the edge.
(Ted Shafer)

La Jolla Cove makes Tripadvisor list of top 25 U.S. beaches

La Jolla Cove is one of just four California beaches this year to make Tripadvisor’s rankings of the nation’s top 25 beaches.

“Must see in San Diego. Always enjoy coming to La Jolla Cove,” said one visitor review on Tripadvisor. “A really nice place for a stroll, and always nice to see the seals and sea lions.”

La Jolla Cove is ranked 14th. Coronado, the only other San Diego County beach on the list, placed 20th. The other two California beaches in the rankings are Moonstone Beach in Cambria and Santa Monica State Beach.

Heading the list is St. Pete Beach, Fla.

This is the first time in five years that La Jolla Cove has been named. The list is based on the quality and volume of reviews and ratings from Tripadvisor travelers for beaches over a 12-month period. The ranking also takes into account the volume of “saves” for beaches on Tripadvisor, an indication of users’ yearning last year to eventually travel again once the COVID-19 pandemic eases, the online platform said. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

UCSD grad Megan McArthur will pilot SpaceX Dragon to space station

Megan McArthur will pilot SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station.
Megan McArthur, who has a doctorate from UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will pilot SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station.

NASA has confirmed that UC San Diego graduate Megan McArthur will pilot the SpaceX Dragon crew vehicle this spring to the International Space Station, where another UCSD graduate, Kate Rubins, is currently conducting scientific research.

The space agency says the vehicle, which also carries cargo, will launch no sooner than April 20 with a crew of four.

McArthur, 49, will be making her second trip into space. She was a crew member on the shuttle Atlantis in 2009, when it conducted the final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.

McArthur earned a doctorate in oceanography at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2002. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bird Rock house can be bought with cryptocurrency

A house in Bird Rock is for sale for about $5 million — or possibly 105 bitcoin, as of March 2 exchange rates.

The four-bedroom home at 6052 La Jolla Blvd., featuring a wine cellar, a rooftop ocean-view deck, an outdoor fire pit and a hot tub, seems to be attracting a lot of younger potential buyers who might be into cryptocurrency, according to Compass Real Estate.

So the homeowner is willing to accept that form of payment.

Comments on La Jolla reservoir project to be accepted until April 1

The city of San Diego has prepared a draft environmental impact report to evaluate the potential environmental effects of the proposed La Jolla View Reservoir replacement project.

The project would replace the 720,000-gallon La Jolla View Reservoir, an above-ground water storage tank, and the 990,000-gallon, partially above ground Exchange Place Reservoir with one new 3.1-million-gallon underground reservoir in La Jolla Heights Natural Park above the La Jolla Country Club area. The existing reservoirs and the Exchange Place Pump Station would be demolished and their sites would be returned to historical contours with native vegetation.

Email comments to and include the project name in the subject line. Comments must be received by Thursday, April 1, for consideration in the final EIR. For more information and to view a copy of the draft EIR, visit

Members of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, Development Permit Review Committee and Parks & Beaches board found the draft EIR to be insufficient in addressing impacts.

La Jolla’s council field rep holds virtual office hours

Did you know that City Council field representatives have office hours? Steve Hadley, La Jolla’s rep for City Councilman Joe LaCava, holds virtual office hours from 1 to 2 p.m. Mondays. The link can be found on LaCava’s website,

According to the city website, Hadley has worked with 19 different communities in council Districts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 since 2000. He also has served as a council chief of staff, deputy director of open government, director of community outreach in the mayor’s office, committee consultant for the council’s charter review and rules committees and, most recently, community outreach director.

Hadley also can be reached at

SD Parks Foundation names La Jollan as first executive director

Bird Rock resident Katherine Johnston is the San Diego Parks Foundation's first executive director.

The San Diego Parks Foundation board of directors announced Feb. 25 that Bird Rock resident Katherine Johnston has been hired as the nonprofit’s first executive director.

The foundation was created in 2018 — with La Jollans on the founding board — to bolster the city of San Diego’s efforts to build a world-class park system that is accessible, sustainable and equitable, according to the organization.

“Great cities have great parks, and the San Diego Parks Foundation provides the philanthropic support needed to improve parks in every neighborhood,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Katherine Johnston has been a fierce longtime champion for San Diego parks.”

Johnston said she hopes “we can build a park system that ensures every San Diegan has access to a high-quality park with meaningful recreation opportunities. Our role is particularly important for neighborhood parks that have been underserved or overlooked in the past.”

UCSD Library announces addition of 19th-century Black Americana collection

The UC San Diego Library announced the addition of its first African Americana collection — the Turner Collection —
to its Special Collections and Archives.

The collection, donated by Steve Turner, a 1982 UCSD alumnus and an avid collector, is composed of more than 300 items, including rare photographs, pamphlets, photocards, posters and pinback buttons, many from the 19th century and all of which shed new light on the Black experience, particularly in the American West.

Turner’s focus was on a less-well-known migration of Black Americans to the West that preceded the great migration from the South between 1916 and 1970. His collection brings to light the story of pioneer immigrants who moved west after the Civil War and before World War II.

“They range from ordinary citizens to civic leaders and include everything in between,” Turner wrote. “As these items migrate from my collection, I hope that a new generation of scholars will work to flesh out new understandings of both places and peoples.”

Library staff is working to digitize many of the materials in the Turner Collection to make them readily available to the community via the library’s digital collections website. — City News Service

La Jolla hospital first in region to use new lung biopsy technology

Doctors at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla are the first west of the Mississippi to use software incorporating artificial intelligence in lung cancer diagnoses.

The technology, available under the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center partnership, is intended to improve how physicians diagnose lung cancer with more accurate collection of biopsy samples from difficult-to-reach lung nodules, with the goal to provide earlier diagnosis. Survival rates are higher for patients diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer.

The new approach, called augmented fluoroscopy, centers on sophisticated planning software that combines imaging studies, augmented reality and artificial intelligence to collect and integrate patient data and present doctors with an enhanced view of the airways and location of the pulmonary lesion throughout a bronchoscopy, a procedure in which a thin tube called a bronchoscope is inserted through the patient’s mouth, into the throat and trachea and into the airways of the lungs. The procedure is performed to explore a variety of respiratory issues and is frequently used to confirm or rule out lung cancer. Fluoroscopy is a procedure in which a continuous X-ray beam is passed through an internal organ and transmitted to a monitor so the organ and its motion can be seen in detail.

The new LungVision augmented fluoroscopy system at Scripps Green Hospital is developed by Body Vision Medical, a medical device company specializing in lung cancer diagnostics. Scripps Green acquired the technology through philanthropic gifts.

Renowned Sanford Burnham Prebys stem cell researcher named to prestigious College of Fellows

Dr. Evan Snyder has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering has elected to its College of Fellows Dr. Evan Snyder, professor and founding director of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla.

He will be inducted to AIMBE during a ceremony March 26.

AIMBE’s College of Fellows is composed of medical and biological engineers considered to be in the top 2 percent in the country, including research directors, professors, innovators, entrepreneurs and engineering and medical school chairs.

“I am honored to join this incredible group of accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school professionals,” Snyder said in a statement. “My goal has always been to help regenerative medicine become a reality for people living with conditions that elude current therapies, but in a way that is consistent with fundamental biological principles. It is gratifying to be recognized for this approach and for this work.”

Snyder is regarded as one of the “fathers of the stem cell field” and has served two terms as chairman of the Food and Drug Administration’s Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. He first isolated human neural stem cells
in 1998, a landmark discovery. His lab continues to study the basic biology and therapeutic potential of neural stem cells for disorders including Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), brain cancer and neuropsychiatric conditions.

Snyder also is collaborating with Dr. Sandra Leibel, an assistant professor at UC San Diego, to use “mini lungs” created from stem cells to determine why some people with COVID-19 fare worse than others.

Two Salk professors named to endowed chairs

Satchin Panda and Tatyana Sharpee, professors at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, have been named to endowed chairs at the institute.

Panda, named to the Rita and Richard Atkinson Chair, is a biologist who explores the genes, molecules and cells that maintain the circadian timekeeping system, the internal program that orchestrates processes in the body, from digestion to cognitive functions, at appropriate times of day. Panda is a member of Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory.

Sharpee, named to the Edwin K. Hunter Chair, is a neurobiologist and data scientist who seeks to understand how the brain and other biological systems work to efficiently process signals from the environment and select the best actions. Sharpee is a member of Salk’s Computational Neurobiology Laboratory.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff