La Jolla News Nuggets: Art at Westfield UTC; ‘Fallen Star’ temporarily closed; UCSD admission offers; more

Sculptures on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego have been installed at the Westfield UTC shopping center.
(Erica Joan Productions)

MCASD brings art to Westfield UTC

The Westfield UTC shopping center this summer is continuing its partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego by bringing new art and art programming to the mall at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive.

Three new sculptures have been introduced, including works from artists Rainier Fetting, Bryan Hunt and Jim Love. The sculptures are in the center’s Artwalk adjacent to the front entrance of Palm Plaza.

Westfield UTC also is continuing its operation of MCASD’s onsite Family ArtLab, which includes a short tour of Fetting’s “Arm Und Ei” sculpture, and a hands-on project in which young artists can craft their own daruma doll egg character, designed to help achieve goals. Guests are encouraged to set a goal and then return to the center to complete their daruma doll once the goal has been reached.

UCSD’s ‘Fallen Star’ artwork temporarily closed to the public

"Fallen Star" is a 2012 artwork by Do Ho Suh that sits atop Jacobs Hall at UC San Diego.
“Fallen Star” is a 2012 artwork by Do Ho Suh that sits atop Jacobs Hall at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego as part of the university’s Stuart Collection.
(Philipp Scholz Rittermann)

Due to “unforeseen circumstances,” public visiting hours for the UC San Diego art installation “Fallen Star” are temporarily unavailable, according to the university. A reopening date has not been announced.

“At this time, we are not able to accommodate the large influx of visitors and we are working on a solution to allow for a safe, enjoyable experience,” said Erika Johnson, UCSD’s assistant director of communications. “We look forward to reopening the sculpture in the near future.”

The piece, which has been described as a statement on displacement and the longing for home, is a cottage that appears to have been dropped and hangs over the edge of Jacobs Hall. It has been part of the Stuart Collection at UCSD since 2012.

UC San Diego cuts freshmen admission offers by over 9,400

UC San Diego students walk near Geisel Library in September.
UC San Diego students walk near Geisel Library in September.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

UC San Diego offered admission to 9,456 fewer prospective freshmen for this fall than it did a year ago to cope with the
unprecedented enrollment demand that is roiling the entire University of California system.

UC campuses received a record 210,840 applications from prospective students for this fall, and the state has pledged to add about 6,200 California students to the UC this year, reflecting demand from state residents.

The reduction in admission offers this year doesn’t just involve out-of-state and foreign students. UC San Diego, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Irvine and Davis also are admitting fewer Californians.

It is part of a larger effort by the UC to allow for some growth without letting things get out of control. In just the past five years, the system has added 30,000 students, pushing enrollment to a record 294,662. The boom has been especially big at UCSD, which added 6,900 students during that period. About 3,100 students ended up on waiting lists for housing last year.

The number of California residents who were offered admission to UC San Diego for the fall dropped by 1,633 from a year ago, while the number of offers to students from other parts of the country fell by 4,852. Offers to foreign students declined by 2,971.

Overall, UCSD offered admission to 31,160 of the 131,226 students who applied, or just under 24 percent. The admission rate was 34 percent a year ago.

The UC system made admission offers to a record 85,268 prospective freshmen, about 1,000 more than a year ago. UC’s enrollment could rise a lot if there’s a significant jump in the “yield rate,” or the percentage of students who actually enroll in the fall.

UC San Diego enrolled a record 42,875 students last fall, and Chancellor Pradeep Khosla estimates the campus will have about 44,000 students this fall. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

UCSD named fifth-best public university in academic ranking

UC San Diego has been ranked fifth among the nation’s best public universities for its faculty, alumni, academic performance and research in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities released Aug. 15 by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

The ranking also named UCSD 16th among all colleges in the nation and 21st in the world.

The global rankings are based on six objective indicators: the number of alumni and faculty winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; the number of highly cited researchers; the number of articles published in the journals Nature and Science; the number of articles in science and social sciences citation indexes; and per capita academic performance.

Along with this ranking, UCSD placed sixth among the nation’s public colleges for students seeking an outstanding education at an affordable price, according to The Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges for 2022. Also, UCSD placed eighth among public universities in the 2022-23 edition of the Global 2000 List by the Center for World University Rankings.

‘Art of Science’ exhibit to show at UCSD and Natural History Museum

Work by Adi Khen, a graduate student associated with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Work by Adi Khen, a graduate student associated with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was created using pressings of seaweed species common in San Diego.
(Courtesy of UC San Diego)

The UC San Diego Library announced that a new partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum has resulted in an art exhibit that will be featured at the Balboa Park museum and UCSD through Monday, Oct. 24.

The exhibit features the winning images from the library’s 2022 “Art of Science” contest, a program aimed at featuring the beauty that can emerge during scientific research at UCSD and beyond. The “Art of Science” exhibit will feature eight images from the 2022 contest in the museum’s first-floor gallery. A duplicate exhibit will be on display at the same time at UC San Diego’s WongAvery Library.

To view the 2022 “Art of Science” digital exhibit, visit

COVID monitoring program expanded to include monkeypox

An ongoing UC San Diego program that monitors wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and has predicted surges in area COVID cases has been expanded to detect the presence of the monkeypox virus.

Researchers began experimenting in May with the possibility that their test might work with both virus types and began monitoring wastewater from the Point Loma treatment plant, which serves 2.2 million San Diegans, for the presence of monkeypox in early June.

The first positive indicator occurred July 10, and levels have increased dramatically since then, rising and falling slightly but trending upward. It remains to be seen whether monitoring monkeypox virus load levels in wastewater can predict infection or case rates.

“Rising levels of monkeypox in wastewater clearly correlate with the increasing spread of this virus,” said Dr. Christopher Longhurst, chief medical officer at UC San Diego Health. “Detection and monitoring will help alert us to situations before they become crises, providing time for health systems and public agencies to respond, prepare and act.”

Scripps chemists develop ‘Holy Grail’ method of molecular design

Chemists from Scripps Research in La Jolla and UCLA have developed new methods for the precise, flexible modification of a broad class of chemical compounds that are commonly used to build drug molecules, enabling chemists to synthesize innumerable chemical products — including potential blockbuster drugs — that previously were out of reach.

The landmark achievement, reported Aug. 9 in Nature, reflects a new approach that generally offers much easier and more flexible molecular design.

The ambitious goal, or “Holy Grail,” of many synthetic chemists has been to develop flexible and universal molecular editing methods that modify as many carbon atoms as possible at any site by breaking carbon-hydrogen bonds in the starting molecules. Specifically, synthetic chemists have wanted to, in a streamlined and easy way, modify the atom of their choice — typically carbon — on the backbone of a given organic molecule and modify more than one of the carbon atoms on the molecule, and in any order.

This ability would make construction of new molecules as straightforward as creating a sentence by changing individual words at will.

La Jolla researchers identify new target for treatment of premature aging disease

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have discovered a stretch of DNA that hops around the human genome and plays a role in premature aging disorders.

In people with early aging, or progeria, RNA encoded by this mobile DNA builds up inside cells. The scientists found that blocking the RNA reverses the disease in mice.

The findings, published Aug. 10 in Science Translational Medicine, focus on a piece of RNA known as LINE-1.

“These findings provide new insight into progeroid syndromes and how to treat them, while also highlighting the importance of LINE-1 RNA in normal aging,” said co-corresponding author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and director of the Altos Labs San Diego Institute of Science.

Progeroid syndromes cause accelerated aging in children and adolescents. Patients develop not only striking physical appearances but also symptoms and diseases typically associated with older age, such as heart disease, cataracts, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Currently there are no effective treatments for progeroid syndromes.

Bishop’s water polo players help Team USA claim gold

The USA Youth Women’s National Team — including recent Bishop’s School graduate Maggie Johnson and current Bishop’s student Julia Bonaguidi — won the gold medal in water polo at the FINA Youth World Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, with a 10-8 win over Greece this month. For Team USA, it marks the first youth world crown since 2014.

Johnson and Bonaguidi helped The Bishop’s School girls water polo team claim its fourth straight Open Division title in the CIF San Diego Section championships in February.

Bench plaques available at Kellogg Park

The Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans is looking for donors for plaques to be affixed to benches installed in front of The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla (often referred to as “The Map”) at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores.

Three benches are available for one or two plaques each, according to foundation President Mary Coakley Munk.

She said the cost for each bench is $30,000, which can be shared by two people for $15,000 each.

The funds will be used to develop educational programs and events focused on bringing students and other community members to The Map.

For more information, contact Coakley Munk at or (619) 840-0250.

La Jolla Music Society sets single-day ticket sales record

The La Jolla Music Society said it set a new single-day ticket sales record Aug. 8, when single tickets for its 2022-23 winter season went on sale.

The Music Society, which owns and operates the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla and is in the midst of its annual SummerFest, earned $70,377 in ticket revenue on Aug. 8. The second-highest sales day was $47,082 on Sept. 9.

San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books returns Aug. 20

The San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books returns to an in-person format from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, on the University of San Diego campus.

La Jolla Light staff writer Elisabeth Frausto will moderate one of the panels, “Turning the Page with Historical Fiction,” at 2:30 p.m. in Camino Hall, Room 153.

The event is free. For registration and schedule information, visit

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff