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Daily Business Report — March 8, 2013

Foundation Awards $1.6 Million to
Young UC San Diego Investigator

Suckjoon Jun

One of the newest faculty members at UC San Diego — Suckjoon Jun, an assistant professor of physics and molecular biology — has won a $1.6 million award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This is the first award given to a UC San Diego recipient from the foundation, which was established by the co-founder of Microsoft to support high-risk, high-reward ideas in science. Jun’s effort is one of five awards announced by the foundation last week to projects “that aim to unlock key questions in the areas of cellular decision making and modeling dynamic biological systems.”

“I am hoping to develop tools and methods that will ultimately help us answer some of the most fundamental questions in biology,” said Jun. “I am deeply grateful to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for believing in young scientists pursuing big, but risky, questions.”

Jun, whose research project involves “cell-size control and its evolution at the single-cell level,” developed a tiny device a few years ago to isolate and physically manipulate individual genetic materials. “It turned out that we can use the same device, now known as the ‘mother machine,’ also to follow the life history of thousands of individual bacterial cells for hundreds of generations,” he said. “We looked at the growth patterns of the cells very, very carefully, and realized that there is something really special about the way the cells control their size.”

Jun is part of a new generation of scientists on campus fluent in both physics and biology and engaged in developing mathematical models that can quantify and predict the complex behavior of living organisms.

Two-Time Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis
Named Keynote Speaker for YWCA Luncheon

Viola Davis

Actress Viola Davis has been named the keynote speaker for the 15th annual In the Company of Women luncheon to be held April 25 under the sponsorship of the YWCA of San Diego County. It will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The event will include the Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) awards, recognizing outstanding professional women in San Diego. The fundraiser will benefit programs and services for survivors of domestic violence and homelessness, including Becky’s House, Passages, and Cortez Hill Family Center. Davis is a two-time Academy Award nominee. She portrayed Aibileen Clark in the critically acclaimed film, “The Help,” for which she earned a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critic’s Choice Award. The event will begin with a reception from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by the luncheon from noon to 1:40 p.m. Tickets bought before March 15 are $120 per seat and $1,200 per table of 10; tickets bought after March 15 are $150 per seat and $1,500 per table of 10. For more information, visit www.ywcasandiego.org.

Release of Local and State Employment Figures Delayed

The state Employment Development Department has rescheduled the release of February state and local employment figures from March 22 to March 29 because of revisions that need to be made by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

San Diego’s Althea Technologies Inc.
Acquired by Ajinomoto Co. of Japan

Ajinomoto Co. Inc. of Japan has agreed to acquire San Diego’s Althea Technologies Inc., a provider of biopharmaceutical development and and manufacturing services, for $175 million. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Ajinomoto will acquire all of the capital stock in Althea Technologies. “We are thrilled that the company we founded 15 years ago will have the opportunity to accelerate its growth under the leadership of a highly successful global company, such as Ajinomoto,” said Magda Marquet and François Ferré, founders of Althea Technologies. The transaction is expected to close in early April 2013 at which point Althea will become a subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co. Ajinomoto has been a leader in amino acids for years and has been promoting its process development business for biopharmaceuticals.

Mission Federal Credit Union to Launch
Online Financial Education Program

Mission Federal Credit Union will launch a “Foolproof Financial Education” program on March 12, a free online program for teens and older adults to sharpen their personal financial management skills. The program will be launched at Oceanside High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will receive a presentation and demonstration on the program. . “The online modules are designed to make learning about important financial concepts both interesting and practical in an easy format that appeals to high-schoolers, young adults, parents, and grandparents,” said Tricia Link, vice president of external affairs for Mission Federal. The modules are available online at www.missionfed.com/foolproof.

CBRE Names Managing Director of San Diego Region

Paul Komadina

Paul Komadina has been appointed managing director of the San Diego region for CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, effective April 1. Komadina will spearhead key initiatives on local and regional levels. Before his selection, Komadina was a co-leader of the CBRE San Diego Private Capital Group where he focused in the sales of office and industrial assets throughout San Diego County. He was a student athlete and a graduate of the University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

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The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO.

Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.

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