News Briefs


85th anniversary All-Viking celebration

The La Jolla High School Alumni Association will celebrate the school’s 85th anniversary on Saturday, April 28, by inviting alumni who have graduated from the school since its inception to “return, remember and reconnect” with their alma mater.

A highlight of the celebration will be a noon presentation to distinguished alumni who’ve been nominated by clasmates for their contributions to the community, nation and world.

Well-known La Jolla High grads include athletes like Craig Stadler and Gene Littler, movie stars like Raquel Welch, and a host of alumni who have become ambassadors, medical researchers, movie directors, surfing legends, writers and publishers. Many alumni have also been active in improving their communities through volunteerism and philanthropy.

The All-Viking Celebration will also feature a breakfast of former and current school faculty and staff, student musical performances, an all-class basketball free-throw contest, class tables where classmates can connect and refreshment stands that will raise money for the current Associated Student Body.

About 22,324 La Jolla High alumni are believed to be living, with 9,131 of those with addresses in the San Diego region.

The La Jolla High Alumni Web site is

  1. The alumni office can also be reached at (858) 551-9871.

UCSD wins best practice awards

UCSD will receive three awards at the annual University of California Transportation Conference being held in downtown San Diego at the Westgate Hotel March 26-29. The awards recognize the “Best Practice” efforts of UCSD’s Department of Transportation and Parking Services.

UCSD will receive Best Practice Awards in the categories of Parking Operational Program for installing high-speed security gates; Transportation Operational Program for upgrading and enhancing the Americans with Disabilities Act Transport Service, and Transportation Innovation/Use of Technology for creating an automatic vehicle location system that tracks the fleet and improves passenger safety.

The conference provides an opportunity for leaders statewide in the university transportation and parking services arena to discuss challenges, solutions and innovations in sustainable transportation. The University of California has made a system-wide commitment to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and reliance on imported fossil fuels. UCSD supports and adheres to the UC Policy on Green Building Design, Clean Energy Standard, and Sustainable Transportation Practices.

“We encourage commuters to use alternate forms of transportation,” said Brian d’Autremont, TPS director. “Approximately 43 percent of UCSD commuters use some form of alternative transportation, including bikes, buses, trains and vanpools.”

Last year UCSD implemented the “Sustainable Fleet Management Plan” by purchasing 225 electric or “zero emission vehicles” and 32 hybrid vehicles for its fleet. The university also converted to a blend of ultra-low sulfur bio-diesel for the diesel fleet, which eliminated more than 70 metric tons of CO2 emissions and reduced sulfur emissions by 97 percent.

In addition, last fall UCSD reduced the number of Single Occupancy Vehicles on campus by 800 cars, which reduced annual carbon dioxide emissions by 12,000 pounds per vehicle, for a total reduction of 9.6 million pounds of CO2.

San Diego stem cell consortium tops

The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SDCRM) leads California in grants and funding following the approval of Comprehensive Research Grants by the state’s stem cell agency.

Since late last year, the consortium of UCSD, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Scripps Research Institute has received 29 grants totaling $37,336,063 to conduct life-saving work in human embryonic stem cell research.

SDCRM, established in March 2006 as a nonprofit entity, marshals the intellectual resources of four world leaders in life sciences research, bringing scientists from each institution together to conduct joint research and training programs in stem cell research. In the most recent funding round, the SDCRM institutes received six grants totaling $16,479,588.

“Our collaborative research at the Consortium will provide the foundation for discoveries offering promise to those suffering from diseases that are currently incurable,” said Dr. Edward Holmes, president/CEO of SDCRM and former vice chancellor of Health Sciences at UCSD. “The state of California has recognized the extraordinary potential of the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine by continuing to provide robust support for our efforts.”

The latest funding for SDCRM researchers includes two grants received by Burnham Institute. Neurosciences Professor Stuart Lipton will receive $3,035,996 to use human embryonic stem cells to develop a supply of nerve cells for brain repair. Professor Mark Mercola will receive $3,036,002 to develop drug-like molecules that stimulate generation of heart muscle cells from human embryonic stem cells.

UCSD scientists received three grants. Larry Goldstein, director of UCSD’s Stem Cell Program, will receive $2,512,644 over four years for his work on using human embryonic stem cells to generate human neuronal models of hereditary Alzheimer’s disease to help find causes and treatments for the devastating neurological illness. Martin Marsala, UCSD professor of anesthesiology at UCSD’s School of Medicine, will receive $2,445,716 for using human embryonic stem cells to help treat certain spinal injuries, which may eventually allow improved motor function. UCSD biological sciences researcher Yang Xu will receive $2,570,000 for work to promote stable self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells in order to improve scientists’ capability to general disease-specific human stem cell lines.

Funding is from Proposition 71, the Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, which California voters approved in 2004 to provide $3 billion in stem cell research. Grants are approved by the 29-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.