The University of California Regents met at Covel Commons on the UCLA campus Wednesday morning to start their two-day meeting, which will cover topics from UC Merced to health care services on UC campuses.

The Wednesday session was scheduled to cover actions related to the planning of UC Merced, a discussion of the graduate education commission report, and a report on Gov. Gray Davis’ 2002-2003 budget proposal.

An afternoon session was scheduled for a closed-doors discussion of personnel, property and investment matters.

The session on Jan. 17 is scheduled to cover a report on the university’s educational outreach and K-12 improvement programs, action on a proposed tuition waiver program for California high school graduates subject to nonresident tuition, discussion of the university’s multicampus research units and an update on health care services at several UC campuses.

Researchers make flesh-eating bacteria breakthrough

Three unusual patient cases of severe streptococcal infection have provided clues that allowed researchers at UCSD’s school of medicine to prove that a potent toxin plays an important role in producing necrotizing fasciitis, often referred to as “”flesh-eating disease.””

Working closely with investigators at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, UCSD was able to identify the genetic basis for streptolysin production by the A. Streptococcus bacteria.

A group of nine linked genes was involved in SLS production, and a mutation in any one of the genes rendered the bacteria unable to make the toxin.

The patients were unusual because of the form of strep that caused their flesh-eating infections. The cases of “”flesh-eating disease”” were not caused by the bacteria usually associated with mild forms of strep throat, but a species of bacteria that rarely produces serious disease and typically lives harmoniously on the skin or the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. The toxin produced, called streptolysin, is one of the most potent toxins known and is able to kill a wide variety of human cells in laboratory testing.

According to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation, symptoms can appear to be flu-like at first but most often occur following a minor trauma, surgery, abrasion or even a bruise in otherwise healthy, active individuals.

California unveils ‘Homeland Defense Bonds’

In an effort to cover the rising price tag for defending Californians against terrorism, Assemblyman Dario Frommer, a Democrat from Glendale, Calif., joined Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in announcing legislation that would allow the state to issue “”Homeland Defense Bonds.””

The revenue generated from these bonds would help to fund local law enforcement, fire departments and capital improvements for emergency rooms and county health departments. The bonds would be sold by the state treasurer.

Bonds sold to Californians during World War II helped to generate nearly $3 billion, according to Frommer. The hope is that the sale of these bonds could help to cover the estimated $420 million price tag that preparing for terrorism would cost California in 2002.

State and local governments have already spent $142 million on increased security measures throughout the state since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Addition made to Mandeville Special Collection Library

Jim Machacek’s double-biographical artist book, “”Jim Machacek: The Michelangelo Project,”” will be on display at the Mandeville Special Collections Library beginning Jan. 17.

The exhibition is free of charge and will run through Feb. 25.

There will be a reception for the artist on Jan. 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Seuss room of Geisel Library. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

For more information contact the Mandeville Special Collections Library at (858) 534-2533.