Daily Business Report-Nov. 30, 2015
The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) is being held today through Dec. 11 .
UC San Diego Delegation Attending
International Climate Negotiations
University of California, San Diego scientists and students are attending international climate negotiations in Paris beginning today to inform the talks with climate science findings and to spur the momentum toward effective international climate action that UC San Diego scientists have been instrumental in creating.
The contingent of 16 researchers, students, and staff is part of the UC Revelle Program for Climate Science and Policy, a non-governmental organization that represents the University of California system at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conferences held annually.
The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) is being held today through Dec. 11 and negotiators are hopeful that the accord will yield a binding agreement among countries to meet targets for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases.
“Our role in these climate conferences is to bring science into the conversation as much as possible so that the strategies that may become national policies have the best chance to be effective in mitigating the changes in nature that human activities have precipitated,” said Margaret Leinen, the director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the head of the UC Revelle delegation.
At COP21, the UC San Diego contingent will co-host with the government of Chile a side event on Dec. 5 focusing on the state of climate change impacts on the oceans, which range from the deoxygenation of large regions of ocean depths to the gradual lowering of its pH as oceans take up a portion of the carbon dioxide that activities such as fossil fuel burning add to the atmosphere. Representatives from Chile will focus on recent efforts in protecting marine regions and mitigation measures that could serve as a model for other countries.
The side event is one of hundreds of UNFCCC-sanctioned events that take place at the COP21 venue, Le Bourget. Side events are intended to be platforms for NGOs to brief negotiators on myriad aspects of the climate change issue.
Kimpton’s Hotel Solamar
To Undergo Renovation
Kimpton’s Hotel Solamar will undergo a renovation of its 235-room Downtown hotel that will include a revamp of all guestrooms, event space and lobby. Estimated completion is spring 2016.
Conceptualized by Paletteur, the finished product will showcase a high-end Mediterranean style, blending San Diego’s historic, Spanish-influences with vibrant, modern touches. Guestrooms and suites will be fully upgraded with new furniture and carpeting, and will feature bright colors and patterns, dramatic elements and eclectic touches. The hotel’s ballroom and meeting rooms will also see a complete upgrade.
The lobby will also undergo a significant change, with brighter colors and lighting, new artwork and reception area, and contemporary touches throughout the space.
“Our guests continuously choose us for our premier location, comfortable setting and authentic guest experience,” said Shannon Foster, general manager at Hotel Solamar. “We can’t wait to complete this renovation and truly offer it all — a vibrant, stunning hotel in the ideal Downtown location, a world-class restaurant and pool deck, and of course our unmatched guest service.”
Hotel construction will be completed under the direction of Hotel Solamar’s new general manager, Shannon Foster. Foster joined the team in June 2015 from Kimpton’s Hotel La Jolla, where she oversaw the hotel’s transition to a Kimpton Hotel.
Smart & Final to Take Over 10
Haggen Stores in San Diego County
Times of San Diego
Smart & Final Stores will take over 10 former Haggen stores in San Diego as part of a major expansion in California.
The San Diego stories are part of a $68 million purchase of 32 Haggen stores approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Pacific Northwest-based Haggen opened stores in Southern California in the spring and filed for bankruptcy protection in September.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to build upon our footprint in the important California market,” said David Hirz, CEO of Smart & Final.
The stores purchased in the San Diego area are:
• Carlsbad — 955 Carlsbad Village Drive
• Santee — 9870 Magnolia Ave.
• El Cajon — 13439 Camino Canada, 2800 Fletcher Parkway
• San Diego — 10740 Westview Parkway, 2235 University Ave., 10633 Tierra Santa Blvd.
• La Mesa –3681 Avocado Ave.
• Coronado — 150 B Ave.
• Chula Vista — 360 East H St.
The company plans to open 100 stores and hire 5,000 new employees nationwide over the next four years.
Smart & Final plans to convert the 32 stores to its Extra! store format, which includes expanded frozen, deli and meat selections; warehouse club sizes as well as smaller, more convenient sizes; specialty products such as oven-roasted chicken and dry bulk goods by the pound; fresh seafood; fresh produce; and an expanded natural and organic product line.
Human Longevity Announces
Acquisition of Cypher Genomics
Human Longevity Inc., the genomics-based technology company, has acquired San Diego-based Cypher Genomics Inc., a genome informatics company offering human genomic interpretation software products.
The San Diego company has 14 employees who will join HLI including Cypher CEO and Co-founder Ashley Van Zeeland, who is now the head of HLI’s Pediatric Business. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
“Cypher Genomics has created important automated and scalable genome interpretation technology informed by additional expertise in genetics and biology that we believe will be invaluable to HLI’s business. The Cypher team, led by Dr. Van Zeeland, is a very impressive group of scientists who will be crucial in augmenting HLI’s already unparalleled and comprehensive genomic database business,” said J. Craig Venter, co-founder and CEO of HLI in a statement.
Cypher has developed and marketed Mantis, proprietary software and Coral, a biomarker discovery service. Industry collaborators for these products include: Celgene, Illumina and Sequenom. Cypher also has a number of key academic collaborations including: Scripps Translational Science Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and Clinic for Special Children. Cypher, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, was also recently selected as one of the finalists in the Genomics England bidding process to aid in genome interpretation as part of their 100,000 Genomes Project.
“At Cypher we saw an unmet need for automated interpretation of human genome sequencing data. We developed Mantis and Coral to provide rapid, automated, genome interpretation at scale enabling disease gene identification, population-based studies, diagnostic development and biomarker identification, said Van Zeeland. “We look forward to joining the HLI team and to helping advance HLI’s mission of applying the power of human genomics and informatics to improve health care.”
Scientists Create Serotonin-Signaling
Neurons from Human Skin Cells
Scientists at the Salk Institute have taken human skin cells and turned them into neurons that signal to one another using serotonin, a brain chemical that is crucial to our mental well-being.
Although serotonin neurons comprise only a small fraction of the brain’s cells, these neurons are tied to debilitating disorders such as major depression, schizophrenia and autism. Depression is commonly treated using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which heighten serotonin signaling in the small gaps between neighboring neurons.
Described in Molecular Psychiatry the method gives researchers a new lens with which to study serotonin’s mechanisms and how they may go awry in mental illness.
“We can finally start asking questions about cells from people affected by depression and other disorders,” says Salk Professor Rusty Gage, the study’s senior investigator.
Possible New Padres Logo Leaked
Times of San Diego
When the San Diego Padres unveiled their logo for the 2016 All-Star Game, the team’s front office announced that possible changes to the team’s logo were in store.
A leak of the possible logo change came from a Twitter user (@SDHatGuy)
who claims to work at a hat store.
His tweets showing the possible new logo have been removed from Twitter and the team declined to comment in a story by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The addition of the gold into the hat is in line with the gold color used in the 2016 All-Star Game logo.
The Padres will officially unveil their uniform changes on Dec. 7, according to sportslogos.net.