Daily Business Report-April 3, 2015
Inside the DII-D. (Photo courtesy of General Atomics)
General Atomics to Unveil 1,000-Ton
General Atomics has announced plans to unveil a 1,000-ton superconducting electromagnet to be used in a 35-nation fusion energy study.
According to General Atomics, the Poway-built device that’s powerful enough to lift an aircraft carrier out of the water will be showcased at an April 10 news conference in Poway.
The electromagnet will be used in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor experiments in France, in which scientists will try to create a burning plasma that demonstrates the feasibility of fusion energy.
Clean fusion energy has been a holy grail for researchers looking for alternatives to standard nuclear energy and carbon-based fuels. Scientists say fusion energy does not create long-term waste products or meltdown risks.
On its website, the ITER project is described as a “large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source, and to collect the data necessary for the design and subsequent operation of the first electricity-producing fusion power plant.”
The U.S., China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and nations in the European Union are involved in the ITER project. Preparation on a site in southern France began seven years ago, and operations are scheduled to begin in 2019, according to an ITER timeline.
The unveiling by General Atomics will come on the heels of news last month that scientists at the San Diego-based company and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory discovered how magnets can control damaging heat bursts in a fusion reactor.
The research built on prior studies showing that tiny magnetic fields can suppress the heat bursts — and now they know how the process works.
— City News Service
Research: Cigarette Smoke Makes
Superbugs More Aggressive
In lab and mouse experiments, cigarette smoke helps drug-resistant bacteria fight off the immune system, according to research at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant superbug, can cause life-threatening skin, bloodstream and surgical site infections or pneumonia. The researchers now report that cigarette smoke may make matters worse. The study, published March 30 by Infection and Immunity, shows that MRSA bacteria exposed to cigarette smoke become even more resistant to killing by the immune system.
“We already know that smoking cigarettes harms human respiratory and immune cells, and now we’ve shown that, on the flipside, smoke can also stress out invasive bacteria and make them more aggressive,” said senior author Laura E. Crotty Alexander, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
The data suggest that cigarette smoke strengthens MRSA bacteria by altering their cell walls in such a way that they are better able to repel antimicrobial peptides and other charged particles.
“Cigarette smokers are known to be more susceptible to infectious diseases. Now we have evidence that cigarette smoke-induced resistance in MRSA may be an additional contributing factor,” Crotty Alexander said.
New UC San Diego Findings Could
Lead to Treatment for Diabetes
Researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine said they’ve discovered why it’s so hard to use stem cells to make liver and pancreatic cells, and their findings could lead to new treatments for diseases like type 1 diabetes.
It turns out that the chromosomes in laboratory stem cells open slowly over time, in the same sequence that occurs during embryonic development. It isn’t until certain chromosomal regions have reached the open state that they are able to respond to added growth factors and become liver or pancreatic cells, the researchers said.
“Our ability to generate liver and pancreatic cells from stem cells has fallen behind the advances we’ve made for other cell types,” said Dr. Maike Sander, a professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine, and director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UC San Diego. “So we haven’t yet been able to do things like test new drugs on stem cell-derived liver and pancreatic cells. What we have learned is that if we want to make specific cells from stem cells, we need ways to predict how those cells and their chromosomes will respond to the growth factors.”
Researchers have focused on stem cells for treating disease because they can be altered into hundreds of types of cells.
— City News Service
World Technology Law Conference
Scheduled for San Diego April 29-May 1
The International Technology Law Association (TechLaw) will hold its 2015 World Technology Law Conference and annual meeting in
San Diego on April 29-May 1. ITechLaw is the worldwide organization for legal professionals practicing in the global technology sector, with members from six continents.
A highlight of the event will be the Keynote address delivered by Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, and the first woman to hold the post. Her address, “Getting More Women into Tech Careers and Why It Matters,” will describe how, over the past decade, women’s participation in the tech industry has declined rather than advanced.
Klawe, who is also a member of Microsoft’s Board of Directors, will discuss the reasons why women tend not to major in computer technology fields, and she will reveal how Harvey Mudd College dramatically increased the number of woman computer science majors over a three year period: from 10 percent to 40 percent.
A hallmark of the ITechLaw conference is its one-of-a-kind program of sessions led by prominent speakers from around the world. Topics cover the newest technology law developments, including cutting-edge issues in privacy, social media and cyber-currencies. In addition to the educational offerings, the conference offers significant networking opportunities and social events. Attendees from every region will include leading attorneys in private practice, in-house counsel, business executives, government officials and academics. Both ITechLaw members and non-members are invited to register for the event.
Qualcomm Ventures Doubles Investment
Prize Funding in QPrize 2015 Competition
Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Inc., has launched the company’s annual QPrize 2015 international seed investment competition. The competition aims to identify and provide seed funding into early-stage companies with unique and promising wireless technologies.
Entrepreneurs in countries or regions that include Australia, China, Europe, India, Israel, Korea, Latin America and North America are eligible to apply and participate in the QPrize competition. One finalist from each region will be awarded up to $250,000 in convertible note financing from Qualcomm as seed funding and will be invited to contend in the QPrize Grand Finals competition against other regional finalists on Sept. 9. The Grand Finals winner will receive an additional $250,000 of convertible note financing to aid in converting their business plan into reality.
“This year, we have more than doubled the prize funding available to our winners and added Australia as a new QPrize region,” said Nagraj Kashyap, senior vice president of Qualcomm Ventures. “Since inception, our QPrize winners have collectively raised more than $238 million in total venture funding. We are consistently impressed with the caliber of entrepreneurs who apply and truly inspired with their overall success.”
The deadline to submit business plans is July 10. Upon receipt of entries, Qualcomm Ventures will select up to eight finalists from each of the eight regions.
San Diego to Host Security Training Conference
To address the growing demand for cyber security professionals in the Greater San Diego area, SANS Institute, a leader in information security training, will host its largest West Coast security training event in San Diego May 3-12.
SANS Security West will offer more than 20 hands-on, immersion-style security courses for both budding and seasoned security professionals. In addition, attendees will learn about the latest threats and new security approaches to protect against these threats during a special keynote address, followed by multiple panel discussions on emerging security trends.
“To be successful in cyber security you have to stay ahead of attackers. SANS Security West will provide insight into the latest threats and teach attendees what they can do to mitigate these threats,” said John Pescatore, director of emerging t
“San Diego is one of the nation’s leading security hubs with a number of major corporations and numerous start-ups focused on solutions,” said Darin Andersen, chairman and founder of CyberTECH, which is based in San Diego.
For women considering a career in cyber security, or for those already in the field hoping to advance their careers, SANS Security West will feature a Women in Technology Networking event. The event provides an opportunity for women to network with some of today’s most successful women in IT.
Sunrise Management Promotes Melissa Deen
San Diego-based Sunrise Management has promoted Melissa Deen to the position of vice president of marketing. Deen, who has worked in the company’s marketing department for nearly five years — most recently as director of marketing — now takes charge of all corporate marketing strategies and initiatives for Sunrise, which has 355 employees and a portfolio of 13,000 multifamily units throughout the Southwest.
Deen was previously the vice president of sales and marketing for San Diego-based Ami Samuel Interiors, where she was responsible for all corporate marketing and business development for a variety of new home communities. She also worked in the sales and marketing department of Catalina Design Group.
Westcore Properties Announces
Promotions and New Hires
Westcore Properties has promoted Matthew Bateman to chief operating officer and Michael Helms to vice president of finance. The company also hired two new staff members — Slade James and Adriana Haefner.
Bateman previously was managing director of operations. As COO, he manages the firm’s leasing, asset management and property management teams. . Prior to Westcore Properties, Bateman served as a commercial broker with Grubb & Ellis in West Los Angeles.
Helms previously was director of financial planning and analysis. His new role will include developing the company’s business and financial strategy, as well as managing Westcore Properties’ acquisitions and dispositions activities. Prior to Westcore, Helms was an adviser in global finance for DJO Global.
Slade James was hired as technology manager. He manages the development and maintenance of all IT-related business operations systems. James previously was head of IT at NexxCom Wireless.
Adriana Haefner was hired as human resources manager. With nine years of experience in all areas of human resources, Haefner’s role focuses on policy development, performance management and benefits administration. Haefner previously worked as human resources manager for Target Corp. and El Super Grocery Stores.
Theresa Anderson Joins Taxpayers Organization
Theresa Anderson has been named executive director of policy and operations for the San Diego Taxpayers Organization. Anderson has 10 years of business development, government relations and policy experience in the local, state and federal levels of government. She previously was director of public policy for Connect and was senior external relations officer for University of the Pacific, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.
Andrews also formerly served as director of membership and manager of government affairs for the California Pharmacists Association.
San Diego Private Bank Names
Thomas Wornham President/CEO
Coronado-based San Diego Private Bank announced that Thomas V. Wornham, former chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority, will become president and chief executive officer effective May 1, replacing Maria P. Kunac, who will continue as a board member and consultant to the bank.
Wornham, who spent three decades at Wells Fargo, has been active in local government and spent decades commuting to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. conducting government relations for both the private and public sector.
Wornham has chaired many community service organizations including San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Century Club of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego Championship Golf, and has been a member of UCSD Rady School of Business Advisory Board and a trustee on The Bishop’s School Board in La Jolla.
Ms. Kunac was the founding president and board member of Embarcadero Bank, organized in 2006 and the forerunner to San Diego Private Bank.
San Diego Private Bank had $424 million in total assets at Dec. 31, 2014.